Heat protocol activated on Dutch roads; Keep extra water, shade in the car, experts say
With temperatures rising to tropical values this weekend, the public works department Rijkswaterstaat activated its heat protocol to help motorists with car problems faster. Also, help yourself by having bottles of cold water and an umbrella for shade in the car in case you break down, the Rijkswaterstaat said.
Rijkswaterstaat activates its heat protocol when there is a good chance of temperatures hitting 30 degrees or higher. The heat protocol means the public works department takes extra measures to ensure motorists who break down along the highway don’t get stuck in the hot sun. The department will deploy extra wreckers to quickly take cars that break down to a safe location with the necessary facilities, like a gas station or a parking area.
The heat protocol will take effect from 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and will remain in place as long as necessary. During previous periods where the sun blazes down on the highways, travel association ANWB noted, “Driving in a car with a too-high internal temperature has the same risk factor as driving under the influence of alcohol.” Cars should be allowed to cool down with fresh air or air conditioning before being driven, and drivers should pack an umbrella to use as shade if their vehicle breaks down.
In the past, health authorities have asked people to pay extra attention to elderly people and those in vulnerable health when the temperatures reach 30 degrees. Ongoing heat can cause health symptoms like fatigue, headaches, dehydration, and heat stroke.
Sunny skies are expected across the country from Friday through Monday. Temperatures will vary on Friday between 22 degrees Celsius in the Wadden Island region and reaching 30 degrees in the south. Those peaks will climb to 31 degrees on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
“Warm to very warm with summery, sometimes tropical temperatures in the south. It will remain sunny and dry in most places,” said the national meteorological office, KNMI.
Overnight, the temperature could fall to 12 degrees in the northwest to 18 degrees in the southeast. A mild wind is expected from the east or southeast, which can be stronger in coastal areas. In most of the country, the breeze could be rather weak.
While the weather may be hot, the water is still very cold, the Netherlands Rescue Brigade warned earlier this week. It advised against swimming for extended periods. “Bathing your feet and a short splash is no problem, but the water is still too cold to really go for a swim,” said a spokesperson for the organization, which represents 150 local water rescue branches, including 2,750 lifeguards.