It’s getting busy again on Germany’s streets. The ADAC is expecting a lot of traffic jams on motorways on the upcoming long weekend around Ascension Day. The automobile club said heavy travel traffic can be expected from Wednesday afternoon. Since school is officially free in many northern and eastern German states next Friday, many families are likely to go on a short vacation.

For Sunday, May 12th, the ADAC is predicting a wave of return trips in the afternoon. According to traffic experts, especially when the weather is nice, many people are likely to decide to go on a trip or a short vacation. The around 1,300 motorway construction sites nationwide are likely to exacerbate the situation. According to the forecasts, however, it will be relatively quiet on Friday and Saturday.

The ADAC expects particularly dense traffic and lots of traffic jams on the motorways in metropolitan areas such as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main or Stuttgart, as well as on the access roads to the coast and the Alps. In Bavaria, the ADAC is expecting traffic jams on the A3 Würzburg-Nuremberg, A6 Heilbronn-Nuremberg, A8 Stuttgart-Munich-Salzburg, A9 Munich-Nuremberg-Berlin and A93 Inntaldreieck-Kufstein motorways, among others.

The automobile club points out that Ascension Day is also a public holiday in Austria and Switzerland. Therefore, longer travel times should be planned for on the access roads to the excursion regions there – for example to the Carinthian lakes, the Salzkammergut, Lake Neusiedl or the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Valais. Delays could also occur on the Tauern, Fernpass, Brenner, Rhine Valley and Gotthard routes.

Anyone traveling by car will need a little more patience than usual in the days around Ascension Day. But there are ways to make the journey by car as stress-free – and traffic jam-free – as possible. How is that supposed to work? We have a few ideas.

Driving off when everyone else is asleepWhen it comes to traffic jams, the most important thing is getting the timing right. The streets get full, especially at the start of the holidays, because everyone goes on vacation with their suitcases packed. The risk of traffic jams is highest during the day. If you want a quieter journey, you should try to cover as much of the route as possible at night. This also means you avoid the possible rush-hour traffic and day-trippers that fill the streets during the day.

Don’t just trust one navigation app. Which navigation app we give our orientation to is a matter of taste. However, if you want to recognize a traffic jam as early as possible so that you can avoid it, it is worth having several apps on your smartphone so that you can check the route several times. Sometimes it happens that a traffic jam is not recognized by all navigation systems at the same time. The alternative routes are also very different – so it’s worth investing more time in route planning so that you don’t end up getting lost in traffic.

Also give country roads a chance Speaking of alternative routes: If there is a traffic jam on the motorway, apps often suggest a detour via the country road. These are not always recommended as they are used by many drivers. Instead, it is worth checking out possible alternative routes before departure, which can serve as an individual detour in the event of a traffic jam. There are always several ways to reach your goal. And if you have a plan B or even C, you don’t have to rely on detours that just drive you from one traffic jam to another.

Drive the way you want others to drive. Anyone who sits behind the wheel in Germany has attended driving school at some point. However, we tend to forget how best to behave in traffic in order to avoid a traffic jam in the first place. Even small things can help prevent traffic from coming to a standstill. For example, sticking to the zipper behavior and not using the left lane permanently, but only for overtaking.

However, sometimes even the best preparation and the greatest flexibility don’t help – you end up stuck in a traffic jam with the hazard lights on. This often causes a certain amount of resentment among the car’s occupants – and perhaps even reduces the anticipation of the upcoming vacation. Instead of getting upset about the inevitable holiday traffic jams, you can also sweeten your time in traffic jams – at least a little. For example like this:

It’s all about the right preparationThe traffic jam warning is now out – so there is no longer any excuse for not preparing for the traffic jam. And it’s not that difficult. It makes a big difference if you have snacks, drinks and maybe a few games in your luggage to keep your passengers occupied while you wait. It’s also worth having a charging cable in the car so that you don’t run out of power if the traffic jam lasts longer than expected.

Take your favorite music with you or turn on the radio. Music makes many things better – even a traffic jam. Songs that reliably put you in a good mood are particularly helpful here – but the radio can also make a big difference, especially if you’re alone in a traffic jam. Apart from the entertainment factor, having the radio on has another advantage: updates about traffic jams are usually communicated quickest here. So it helps to know when the wait is over – and the journey can continue. Adjusting your own expectations How much things stress us depends largely on how we evaluate them. Sure, a traffic jam is anything but fun, especially when you’re on the way to a well-deserved vacation. But all the excitement, no matter how justified it may be, probably won’t clear up the traffic jam. So it helps to be aware that the end (of traffic jams) is in sight and to look forward to what’s to come: the long-awaited vacation.

Sometimes, however, even the best companionship during traffic jams doesn’t help – boredom eventually becomes a mood killer. To prevent this from occurring in the first place, there are a number of games that are easy to play in traffic jams. These are our three favorites:

I see something you don’t seeThe classic anti-boredom in the car. One passenger picks an object and has the others in the car guess what it is. To do this, they ask him questions about his appearance; the person whose turn it is is only allowed to answer “yes” or “no”. Whoever guesses correctly is next in line.

Who sang that again? This is about music. The goal is to correctly guess the song on the radio or on the playlist – or to continue singing at will. Karaoke light, so to speak.

Taboo to go – or driveA passenger explains a term to the others without mentioning it or a related one. Whoever guesses correctly is next in line.