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Traffic Hotspots In Europe

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 20 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Traffic Hotspots In Europe

Planning a long journey can be one of the best moves you make before heading off on a trip. Failing to plan means you’re at the mercy of long traffic jams, congestion, accident hot spots and more, so learning the top traffic hot spots throughout Europe is essential. If you familiarise yourself with these highly congested areas, you’ll know either which cities to avoid, or which cities to avoid at peak traffic times.

Slow Traffic Spots in the UK

In the top 30 traffic hotspots throughout Europe, there are 10 based in the UK. The traffic hotspots were measured by monitoring the traffic speed in major cities and of course the cities with the slowest traffic speeds are deemed to be those considered traffic hotspots. These cities should be avoided at all costs the majority of the time, especially if you’re driving your own car through on a pleasure trip. Steering clear of these areas will help you avoid congestion and it’s much more advisable to use public transport or simply stay away during peak hour. The UK cities that are considered to be the worst traffic hotspots in Europe are:

  • London – Number 1 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 11.8
  • Manchester – Number 4 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 17.4
  • Edinburgh – Number 5 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 18.5
  • Glasgow – Number 7 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 19.0
  • Bristol – Number 8 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 19.6
  • Belfast – Number 10 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 19.9
  • Birmingham – Number 14 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 21.8
  • Leeds – Number 17 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 23.2
  • Cardiff – Number 18 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 24.2
  • Newcastle – Number 19 overall – Avg Speed in mph = 26.1

Traffic Hotspots in Europe

There are a number of cities throughout Europe that you should avoid if possible, especially in peak hour traffic. If you’re on a long touring trip, getting stuck in traffic jams for hours will not only make you more stressed and tired of driving, but it’ll also mean you’re more likely to drive erratically to ‘make up time’. Planning to avoid the major cities is certainly worthwhile and knowing where the worst traffic spots are can help with this.

Some of the worst traffic hotspots in Europe outside of the UK are in Germany.

  • Germany - Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Hamburg

Berlin is second in Europe only to London for slow moving traffic and if you’re able to take public transport into the city it’s certainly worthwhile doing so. Other countries that are deemed to be the worst in Europe for traffic are:

  • Poland - Warsaw
  • France - Paris, Lyon
  • Italy - Rome, Turin, Milan
  • Netherlands - Amsterdam, Rotterdam
  • Ireland - Dublin
  • Spain - Barcelona, Madrid
  • Austria - Vienna
  • Belgium - Brussels
  • Switzerland - Geneva
  • Czech Republic - Prague

As you can see, most are the main cities that tourists are likely to be visiting, as well as being the central business district for their area, so plan to head there at weekends, when traffic congestion will be lower.

  • Avoid traffic at peak hours - check locally to see when these are
  • Know in advance if there are local holidays
  • Ensure you're aware of alternative routes that avoid congested areas
  • Keep the car topped up with fuel incase you're stuck in a lengthy traffic jam

Up to Date Information on Traffic

There are a number of ways that you can obtain up to date information about traffic as you’re driving around Europe. You can rely on traffic updates from your sat nav if you have it, and some even let you program it to avoid all major areas of congestion. Another excellent way of checking is to tune in to local radio stations. If you don’t speak the language, try using a local map and pinpointing in advance likely areas of congestion and ways of avoiding it.

If all else fails and you’re stuck in traffic, make sure you have your mobile phone, water and some games to keep other passengers occupied. This won’t help you beat the traffic hotspots, but will help the time you’re stuck there less boring.

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