Record traffic jams slow down German autobahns | News | DW | 17.01.2019

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Record traffic jams slow down German autobahns

Speed limits or not, more traffic jams than ever kept drivers from putting the pedal to the metal on the autobahn, Germany's largest automobile club has said. Drivers contended daily with some 2,000 traffic jams in 2018.

German roads experienced a record 745,000 traffic jams in 2018, a 3 percent increase over 2017, the ADAC, Germany's largest automobile club, said Thursday.

The ADAC said the traffic jams, which occurred at a rate of about 2,000 per day, caused a back-up of 1.5 million kilometers (932,000 miles) and forced motorists to sit in their cars for an extra 459,000 hours.

The automobile club cited an increase in average distance traveled, which Germany's Federal Highway Research Institute pegged at 0.4 percent, for the increase in traffic suggestion. It also said there were 3 percent more bottlenecks caused by construction sites.

Read more: German court bans diesel vehicles on key autobahn

German stop-and-go

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany's most populous state, experienced the most traffic jams last year, accounting for 35 percent of all traffic jams across Germany. Bavaria (17 percent) and Baden-Württemberg (11 percent) finished in second and third place, respectively.

NRW also led all German states in congestion kilometers with 486,000. Meanwhile, the A3 motorway, which runs from Cologne in NRW to Passau in Bavaria, once again led long-distance motorways with 220 total congestion kilometers per autobahn kilometer. 

Read more: German train-delay scarf sells for thousands at auction

According to the ADAC, Wednesday was the most congested day of the week in Germany, overtaking Thursday with 5,900 kilometers of traffic jams — Thursday had 5,800 kilometers per day. Unsurprisingly, Saturdays (1,500 kilometers per day) and Sundays (1,400 kilometers per day) were the best days to drive in Germany last year. German law prohibits most trailer trucks from driving on Sundays to reduce weekend traffic jams.

The busiest day of 2018 was Thursday June 28 when the ADAC said summer holiday traffic mixed with work traffic. Traffic congestion stretched 13,000 kilometers as summer holidays began in Bremen, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. 

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