The UK has an excellent record for tunnel safety but a fire in a tunnel can be lethal
If your journey takes you through one of Europe's longer road tunnels - the longest is 15 miles - it's important to know what to do in the unlikely event of an accident or fire.
The UK has an excellent record for tunnel safety but a fire in a tunnel can be lethal. Tunnel fires have killed around 90 people in Europe over the last 10 years.
If there is a fire, you're not just a spectator to an accident. You become a participant in a potential disaster so must know what's best for your own and others' safety.
The heat builds up very quickly. That is why fire detection and ventilation systems, and emergency exits, must be provided, why the emergency services must be summoned immediately, and why tunnel operators must be able to put emergency plans into operation seamlessly.
Driving in Europe you're more likely to find yourself using a road tunnel than you are in the UK.
You may well encounter longer tunnels than you're used to in the UK too – our longest tunnel is the Queensway tunnel under the Mersey at 3.2 km while there are many across Europe that are more than 10 km long.
The longest, the Laerdal tunnel in Norway, is 24.5km (more than 15 miles) long.
If you're planning on driving in Europe make sure you're familiar with the safety advice below – there'll be no-one there to tell you what to do if you get caught up in an incident.
Switch on headlights
Keep a good distance
Leave 5m if stopped
Pull over into a lay-by
Use the Emergency phone
Drive out of the tunnel if possible
Never make a U-turn or reverse
Don't wait to be told what to do
Motoring organisations across Europe, including the AA, have inspected and rated around 250 road tunnels, including a number in the UK, under the European Tunnel Assessment Programme, EuroTAP.
(18 November 2011)