TRAFFIC jam season is back in Spain: the bank holiday for August 15 falls on a Tuesday, meaning many workers will take Monday as annual leave and go away for the weekend.
Public sector staff may already get Monday thrown in for free as a day off in what is known as a puente, or 'bridge' to create a four-day weekend.
As a result, an estimated 8.1 million cars will be on the road, starting last Friday night (August 11) until Tuesday night.
If every car was occupied by just one person, that would mean 17.5% of Spain would be on the road at any one time, but as this will include families, an average of two people per vehicle means 35% of the population will be travelling somewhere over the long weekend.
Gridlocks and tailbacks are likely, with motorways leading away from major cities – especially inland – and roads heading to anywhere on the coast or to popular inland countryside locations will be the busiest.
Luckily, as at Saturday night, no significant traffic jams and no fatalities have occurred on the roads over this year's August bank holiday, but Spain's General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has published a series of maps with alternative routes for anyone hoping to avoid the madness, and which centre on roads between major cities.
Valencia, Murcia, Barcelona and Madrid tend to be the cities where the worst tailbacks occur heading into or out of their metropolitan areas, and plans of journeys involving secondary roads have been published.
Extra traffic police have been on duty since 15.00 on Friday and will continue in place until midnight on Tuesday.
Random stop-checks to ensure drivers and passengers are wearing seatbelts, their cars are in safe condition, as well as breathalysing and drug testing carried out.
Speed traps will increase, but in accordance with Spanish law – which obliges authorities to make locations of cameras and human speeding checkpoints public in advance rather than hiding them and springing them up on drivers – these are documented daily on the DGT's website.