On the roads this summer: pitfalls to avoid

Published on 14/06/2024, updated on 18/06/2024

Euro football in Germany, construction sites, the Olympic Games in Paris, recharging points and environmental zones: avoid the pitfalls.

From Luxembourg, more than half of all holidaymakers take their car to get to their holiday destination. Without a minimum of preparation and anticipation, a long car journey can quickly turn into a nightmare. Here are a few tips on how to avoid the unexpected on the way to your holiday destination.

A sporting summer

With Euro 2024 football tournament taking place in Germany from Friday 14 June to Sunday 14 July, the risk of traffic jams around the cities hosting the competition is fairly high, especially on match days. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the event calendar if you’re heading for Germany.

The German authorities have planned a specific traffic management strategy and increased surveillance on the country’s main roads. In addition, the federal government has already announced increased border controls to prevent the arrival of hooligans. We can therefore expect greater disruption on the roads. Finally, to keep traffic flowing, some construction sites will be brought to a standstill. As far as possible, the authorities have promised to cancel the daily works on match days.

More information on ADAC website

In France, with the Olympic Games taking place in Paris from 26 July to 11 August, we also strongly advise you to avoid the French capital and its ring road. Finally, from 29 June to 21 July, the Tour de France will be disrupting certain access points, depending on the route of the race. Once again, it’s worth taking a look at the calendar.

Traffic conditions during the Olympic Games

More generally, ACL can advise you on the best route to take depending on the roadworks declared.

Charging points and prices

While access to a charging point is becoming increasingly easy in Europe, transparency on the price of charging and means of payment remains opaque. At least, that’s what the French competition authority recently found. In a report, the authority states that it has noted “a lack of information for consumers” about the cost of recharging before they recharge, and also “a lack of information about the price actually paid”.

“Information is sometimes non-existent, and you have to use a mobile application to understand the pricing”, said Loïc Schiocchet, coordinator of the Promotion of Mobility Solutions at ACL, during a recent 1,000-kilometre trip around France at the wheel of an electrified vehicle.

The French study also shows a wide disparity in the price of recharging at the same station between a user with a specific subscription and one without. The price can be multiplied by ten depending on the situation. This observation was also made recently by the UFC-Que Choisir association.

The French competition watchdog has issued 40 recommendations, including “requiring” operators to “charge on a per kWh basis”, or to experiment with “displaying the price of recharging upstream of the station and at the main motorway entrances”, as is the case with fuel.

“The advice we can give holidaymakers is to carry at least three different charging cards. This will maximise the compatibility of payment with the different suppliers in Europe, and also compensate for any breakdowns or technical unavailability at certain charging points,” points out Frank Maas, Head of Mobility Solutions Promotion and Historic Vehicle at ACL. The use of mobile applications can also provide motorists with information on available charging points and pricing.

ACL at your side: among the many advantages we negotiate on your behalf, the €12 Enodrive recharging card is free for members!

Vignettes and environmental zones

To drive in an environmental zone in France, you need to obtain the Crit’Air environmental sticker. This sticker is divided into six categories, identified by distinct colours and numbers (0-5). The category of the Crit’Air sticker depends on the type of vehicle, the Euro emission standard and the date of first registration. It costs €4.76 inc. VAT, and can only be ordered online from the official French government website. Driving within the perimeter of an environmental zone without a sticker carries a fine of between €68 and €375.

In Germany, motorists need an anti-pollution sticker because of the almost 50 environmental zones established since 2008, covering towns, cities and the Ruhrgebiet region. Only vehicles with the right badge can enter these zones, with the exception of motorways. German towns and cities now only accept the green sticker, with the exception of Neu-Ulm, which also recognises the yellow sticker. The French eco-sticker is only valid in Freiburg, near the border, with Crit’Air stickers 1 to 3 and green.

In many countries, motorways, express roads, bridges and tunnels are also subject to tolls. Toll systems for using motorways and expressways vary from country to country, and can be based on vignettes, as in Switzerland and Austria, or on one-off tolls, as in France, Italy and Spain. One solution is to opt for devices such as Bip&Go, a pay toll box that is required for the ‘t’ lanes of toll plazas that can be crossed without stopping. The Bip&Go badge is available from ACL for vehicles in classes 1, 2 and 5 (less than 3.5 tonnes and less than 3 metres high).

Please note that unofficial sales portals often offer stickers at exorbitant prices. ACL therefore recommends that you only buy from official websites!

The ACL will provide you with a full overview of the relevant regulations, as well as detailed information on the steps you need to take to obtain the various badges and vignettes so that you can travel with complete peace of mind.