Hot weather protocol breaks all records

Thursday 22 August 2019
The hot weather in the last week of July 2019 resulted in the busiest period ever experienced by Stichting IMN. On 25 and 26 July, 898 and 843 IM reports were dealt with, respectively. These figures are more than twice as high as on other working days over the past few months. As a result, the two days in question occupy first and second place on the ranking of busiest IM days ever.

Spraying water to cool the Merwede bridge

Spraying water to cool the Merwede bridge on 26 July 2019 (photograph: Omroep Brabant / Collin Beijk)

The high levels of activity were the result of the announcement of the so-called hot weather protocol. On days with extreme weather forecasts, Rijkswaterstaat aims to have broken-down vehicles removed from the hard shoulder as quickly as possible. This work, undertaken by IM recovery operators, falls under the heading breakdown removals. Breakdown removals are undertaken throughout the year but are normally only carried out if the vehicle in question represents a risk to other traffic. Because extreme weather can be hazardous for the occupant of a broken-down vehicle, the road manager has expressed the desirability of quickly moving all broken-down vehicles to a safe location in extremely hot weather conditions.

Days with the most IM reports since 2010

rank date number primary cause
1vr 26-07-2019898heat
2do 25-07-2019843heat
3di 25-06-2019790heat
4wo 24-07-2019754heat
5vr 27-07-2018728heat
6za 07-01-2017707black ice
7di 23-07-2019704heat
8do 01-03-2018676cold
9vr 03-02-2012652black ice
10vr 19-04-2019652Easter congestion
11ma 24-06-2019588heat
12do 26-07-2018577heat

This year, the hot weather protocol was activated on 24 and 25 June and subsequently in the period 23 through to 26 July. All six days appear in the rankings of busiest IM days ever. This is not only because the weather conditions were particularly hot on these days. It is also due to the decision by Rijkswaterstaat to opt more often for breakdown removal than was the case in the past. This applies both during heatwaves and during other periods of the year. During the first five months of this year, the number of breakdown removals was 13% higher than in the same period in 2018.

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