At least 5.7 million cars are expected to be out on Spain’s roads this weekend for the start of the summer holiday exodus, with gridlocks expected around major cities and in the direction of coastal areas.
The most-affected motorways and major trunk roads will be those in the regions of Madrid, Valencia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha – since it is sandwiched between Madrid and the provinces of Valencia, Alicante and Murcia – and Andalucía in the south.
And Monday (July 25) is a bank holiday in Madrid, Galicia, Navarra and La Rioja, meaning residents in all four regions are likely to take advantage of the extra day off work and go away for the long weekend.
Traffic cones will be installed in the opposite direction on some motorways to increase capacity where the highest numbers of cars are expected, and restrictions on vehicles carrying hazardous merchandise, such as gas tankers, will be in place.
Wide loads, such as boats or log homes carried with escorts in front or behind, and HGVs weighing more than 7.5 tonnes will be banned from the busiest roads during time slots with the heaviest volumes of traffic.
Any roadworks in progress were stopped on Friday (July 22) at 13.00hrs and will not resume until after midnight on Sunday, July 24, extending to midnight on Monday in Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, Galicia, La Rioja, Navarra and the province of Jaén in Andalucía.
The DGT, Spain’s traffic authority, recommends drivers plan their routes carefully, give themselves plenty of extra time to allow them to drive at a steady pace and in a calm frame of mind, and keep themselves posted of tailbacks and accident data either via its free mobile phone App or the Twitter sites @informacionDGT and @DGTes, and through radio bulletins.
If checked during the journey, the App and Twitter pages should be consulted by a passenger, or during a service-station stop – never at the wheel.
These sites show which are the safest roads and which have the least traffic, which should be used where possible, and the DGT urges drivers to ensure their vehicles are in good condition – especially brakes and tyres – and to use public transport where they are not and cannot be repaired in time.
Adhering to speed limits, using indicators properly and keeping an eye on the rest of the traffic, always using seatbelts and the appropriate child restraint systems plus helmets for motorcyclists, stopping for a break and getting out of the car at least every two hours or as soon as the driver starts to feel tired, eliminating any distractions, never using a mobile phone, and never to drink or take drugs before getting behind the wheel, all go without saying, but the DGT has placed special emphasis on their importance this weekend.
Pedestrians, where walking along roads in non-built up areas, should stay on the left-hand side and, if walking at night or in weather conditions that create poor visibility, to use reflective jackets.
Holiday periods which lead to a spike in traffic volume nearly always, sadly, lead to several deaths on major roads and the DGT wants to keep these to a minimum.