Europeans took to the continent’s motorways on Saturday, the first day of August, and for many the first day of their summer holiday.
French traffic monitoring service Bison Futé urged drivers to take extra care on the roads due to the intense heat as those starting their holiday cross paths with those returning in what was expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year.
“We wait, we drive slowly, we stop at the rest areas for the little ones especially, it’s important. We hydrate ourselves,” said Nassim, a holidaymaker from Saint-Etienne driving to the coast.
In Spain the main arteries out of Madrid were just as congested as those in France.
For many people it’s a staycation this year after the coronavirus pandemic put an end to holidaying safely abroad.
Just outside Bologna in Italy traffic almost came to a standstill as Italians headed to their beaches.
Journey times were estimated to be three times as long as usual.
And in neighbouring Croatia, which is heavily reliant on tourism, there were similar scenes of hellish holiday journeys.
“We are ready. We have masks and gloves, but we are not afraid. We are young and we will be careful,” said one Croatian driver headed to the coast.
And on the border between Austria and Slovenia there were reports of traffic queues of up to ten kilometres.