Traffic jams in France reached a record 955 kms by midday on Saturday, earning a ‘code red’ classification in the direction of departures, according to the French traffic information centre, Bison Futé.
The bulk of the delays were due to a fatal road accident on the A7, near the northwestern city of Orange, the information centre said.
“The situation is exceptional,” Bison Futé commented in a press release. “The extent of the traffic jams is much higher than on Saturday 13 July 2019.”
Road traffic, already heavy in the morning due to holiday departures, intensified towards the south, particularly along the A7, as a result of an accident involving a single car just after 9:30 AM at Piolenc (Vaucluse) in which two persons were killed and two others injured according to Vinci Autoroutes, contacted by the French news agency AFP. The victims were from the same family.
The accident, the cause of which was not stated, led immediately to a massive slowdown in traffic that lasted the entire day since only one of the three lanes, and later two, were open, the highway management company said.
At 1:00 PM, it took five hours to drive from Lyon to Orange in Avignon, a journey that usually takes an hour and 35 minutes. In the other direction, a “curiosity” traffic jam added 20 minutes to the drive.
On the Atlantic coast, vacationers were also obliged to keep their feet on the brake on the A10, which Vinci Autoroutes also manages, taking three hours to go from Poitiers to Bordeaux instead of the usual two hours and 10 minutes. The trip from Bordeaux to Poitiers took 45 minutes longer than normal.
Travelling from Toulouse to Narbonne on the A61 took 100 minutes instead of 80.
Finally, on the A43, Bison futé registered a 24-kilometre traffic jam around midday in Isère, between Saint-Quentin-Fallavier and Cessieu.