The motoring organisation VAB has urged its members to exercise caution on the roads this holiday season, and not to be rushed by a concern for Covid-19 measures.
The months of July are always a tough time on Europe’s roads, first with holidaymakers rushing to get to their destination, and then rushing to get back.
This year, however, the pressure is even greater. People have not been able to go on holiday since 2020, if they were even able to do so then. Now, with safety measures at home all but dismantled, the desire to be let off the leash is unbearable.
One additional source of concern this year is the corona passport, according to Joni Junes of the VAB, speaking to VRT News.
The vaccination certificate issued in the EU is permanent for those who are fully vaccinated. For others, depending on their destination, the rules require tourists to show proof of an infection and recovery (which confers antibody protection) or a recent negative PCR test.
The problem is, how recent is recent? Do you have time to take the test, get the result, then pack up the car and kids and make it to Portugal within the validity of the test?
"Some people with minor car troubles now continue to drive on, because they have to be in the destination country on time due to the validity of the PCR tests,” said Junes. "It can be dangerous if you drive too long with a warning light. If a light comes on, get help as soon as possible.”
Another problem is that people on a long drive south may not feel able to take enough rest on the way.
"People no longer want to stay overnight en route and drive on for longer. Insufficient breaks and continuing to drive for a long time is extra dangerous when you undertake such a long drive."
Tourists heading for Spain know they no longer have to show a PCR test result, so they may be discouraged from overnighting in France on the way, another dangerous temptation.
Yesterday, the first major day of holiday departures, saw Europe’s main roads colour orange, for medium traffic density, with some blockages at the usual notorious bottlenecks.
"Although it was not that bad to leave today," Junes said. "Those who had to go to Austria via Germany had bad luck due to a combination of road works and accidents."