SPAIN'S midsummer traffic exodus has started ahead of tomorrow's bank holiday and over 7.8 million cars are expected to be on the roads between now and midnight on Sunday. The General Directorate of Traffic...
Holiday gridlock starts: Police warn drivers to allow extra time
By thinkSPAIN Team Wed, Jul 31, 2019
TOMORROW (Thursday) marks the start of another holiday exodus in Spain, and over 2.9 million cars are expected to be on the roads at any point between this evening and midnight on August 1.
Over half of these – 1.55 million – will be on the east coast, of which half a million will be on the roads in the province of Alicante and 800,000 in that of Valencia, or more than the equivalent of one car for every inhabitant of Valencia city.
Many firms in larger cities and inland areas shut for the whole of August, which is when workers take their annual leave, and even where companies continue to operate, August remains the most popular month of the year for holidays.
The vast majority of those who do not have a beach on the doorstep will not stay at home for their break, but instead will head to coasts, to cooler countryside locations, or to urbanisations with swimming pools.
A high number of Spaniards own second homes they use for holidays and, when these are nearby, move into for the whole of the summer; in some cases their holiday homes are only a couple of kilometres from where they live the rest of the year.
The result of all this is that August 1 continues to be one of the busiest traffic days of the year, and anyone planning on making a journey by road, especially long-distance, is strongly advised to allow extra time.
Motorways and major highways heading coastwards, and secondary roads leading to beach towns, are among the most gridlocked every August 1 – and also after work on July 31 – and extra police officers and resources will be employed.
Speed traps and breathalysing points are likely to be increased to ensure driver and passenger safety, and will target back roads as well as major trunk routes as a deterrent for those who think they can escape the controls by taking a short-cut.
Helicopters will be patrolling the skies to watch out for speeding, dangerous driving, mobile phone use at the wheel, and occupants not wearing seatbelts or with children not in the proper type of seats.
Over August as a whole, a total of 47 million cars are expected to be on the road – one for every inhabitant in Spain – of which 20% will be in the eastern provinces of Castellón, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and Albacete.
Once the first rush of the month is over – typically by around midnight tomorrow – the next major exodus is due on the evening of Wednesday, August 14, since the following day is a national public holiday.
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