June 8, 2023

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ANWB can't keep up with too many crashes in Europe: 'Very disappointed'

ANWB can’t keep up with too many crashes in Europe: ‘Very disappointed’

Mickey van Ganswinkel on her way to Lisbon with her two daughters. A hundred kilometers before the first stop, a camping site in the south of France, all kinds of lights began to burn on the dashboard. “The car was recovered the next morning. It should be fixed within 48 hours.”

Lack of information

Then the long wait began. If the car is not ready on time, she will have to get a replacement car. “At least, that’s the perfect picture being painted,” she told RTL Nieuws. “But that turned out differently.”

She took her daughters and all their belongings to a nearby hotel. But the next day, the repair process was not over yet. There was no alternative transfer. “What bothers me the most is the lack of information. You’re trying to call for three or four days. You want clarity. Sometimes you hear: We’ll call you back. But they don’t. Unrest. Lots of stress.”

Mickey and her daughters aren’t the only ones who found themselves in such a situation this summer. ANWB Director of Emergency Centers Victor Geskes acknowledges the problems in conversation with RTL Nieuws. “It’s crowded this summer. It’s thirty percent more crowded than it was in the summer before Corona.”

According to Jessex, the problems have multiple causes. “We can go on vacation again, and we do it collectively. Partly because of the problems at the airports, many people choose their own transportation.” He says the heat in southern Europe plays an important role in this. “The engine is having a hard time in the heat. We see it again: many reports of engine problems.”

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Staff and spare parts

It’s often possible to help people along the way, but if that doesn’t work, problems quickly pile up. Geskes summarizes: In many garages in southern Europe there is a shortage of staff, there is an acute shortage of spare parts, and rental cars (which ANWB wants to offer as alternative cars) are scarce.

“We know examples of garages where twenty cars are already waiting, while there is only one mechanic. Then the ANWB member’s car is number 21. We try to make sure they help with priority, but you can imagine that the repair will take longer than you expect.”

It produces, he says, many “angry and frustration phone calls”. “We totally understand that. Because the problem of cars, especially outside, is very, very annoying.”


Mickey van Janswinkel was one of those callers. She says, “I understand they’re busy, but why don’t they communicate? This is so frustrating. They assume you’re sitting and waiting. You never feel like they’re the problem with your situation. .

The problem eventually resolved itself. She participates in the Junior World Tennis Championships in Lisbon. This tennis tournament is not waiting for you. “I rented a taxi and headed to Barcelona. That was already 800 euros. There I rented another bus for the next weeks. We flew to Madrid with that, and from there to Lisbon.”

It recognizes a large amount. “But it’s important to me. I used to play tennis at a high level. But now I’ve been diagnosed with arthritis. Lisbon is my last tournament before I stop.”

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Extra help on the way

According to Victor Gesques, ANWB has prepared itself as much as possible for a busy summer: “Since October we have been busy hiring staff and buying replacement cars. We also have extra roadside assistance in the areas where many Dutch people come, such as the Ardeche, Dordogne and Italian Lakes.”

However, he expects problems next summer: “The shortage of calibers in particular will remain a reality for some time, especially abroad.”

Finally, Jesskis adds, “Get ready, make sure your car is in good shape before you hit the road. And yes: don’t forget to bring your spare key. We also got a call from someone who gave the key a clogged microwave, but it stopped working after someone else used it.” This microwave is for heating milk.”

and Mieke van Gansewinkel, who hopes to be able to pick up her broken car on the way back.