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Heavy traffic warning for bank holiday weekend
OVER six million cars are expected to be on Spain's roads during the long weekend because of the bank holidays – today (Thursday) being 'Constitution Day', and Saturday, December 8 for the Immaculate Conception.
This year, workers – other than those in retail or catering – will not get their usual two days off for December 6 and 8, since the second of these falls on a Saturday, but many will take tomorrow (Friday) as annual leave and use the four-day weekend to go away for a short break or visit family members outside their home provinces.
Extra traffic police have been on duty since 15.00 yesterday and will remain in place until midnight this coming Sunday in light of increasing volumes of vehicles.
Motorways and major highways between large cities and popular coastal or countryside areas, particularly those with a high number of holiday homes, and ski slopes in the Sierra Nevada and northern Catalunya are likely to be exceptionally busy, with delays very probable.
The reverse will be true on Sunday.
Greater vigilance, including speed traps and breathalysing and drug-testing points will be key over the long weekend, especially on secondary roads, which are statistically the scene of 80% of all fatal vehicle accidents.
Some restrictions for lorries will be in place, additional lanes on main roads may be opened, and roadworks on major trunk routes will stop until Monday.
Alternative routes will be published on the General Directorate of Traffic's website, DGT.es, for those seeking to avoid gridlocks, and extra information panels will be in operation above motorways.
The DGT has warned drivers to allow themselves plenty of extra time for all journeys, especially as the end of the weekend could bring heavy rain to some parts of the country.
Anyone planning to drive in mountain areas, particularly in the north, should make sure they are carrying winter tyres, snow chains or both.
The DGT advises driving with headlights on, even in daytime, and for everyone to ensure they have warm clothing, food and drink, and a fully-charged mobile phone – ideally with a spare battery – as well as the usual compulsory safety elements of a first aid kit, spare bulb kit, reflective jackets for all occupants of the vehicle and two red 'warning' triangles, just in case they become stuck a long way from home and the traffic is exceptionally dense.
Rest breaks every two hours are essential, since the vast majority of road-crash fatalities are caused by fatigue or distraction, the DGT says.
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