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Public holiday traffic jams start: Drivers warned to plan ahead
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Aug 15, 2019
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 (DGT) says up to a third of Spanish residents will be making long journeys - defined as 50 kilometres or more - for short holidays or day trips between this afternoon (Wednesday) and the end of the weekend, given that tomorrow (Thursday, August 15) sees the country shut down.
A national holiday to mark the feast of the Assumption, the fact this mid-August day off lands on a Thursday means many workers will take - or be given - Friday as annual leave and make it a long weekend, taking advantage of this to go on a mini-break.
As is often the case over public holidays, especially in spring and summer, hundreds of thousands of residents in inland parts and big cities will be heading for coast and country, meaning major highways in these directions are likely to be packed solid with cars.
Roads leading out of regions such as Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha, and roads leading into Andalucía, Murcia, Galicia and the Comunidad Valenciana, and in both directions in Catalunya, will be exceptionally busy over the next four days and the DGT has warned anyone planning to travel to allow plenty of extra time.
As well as motorways and major secondary roads, smaller inter-urban routes could be busy, especially at night, as people travel to join in the summer fiestas in nearby towns.
Digital overhead message panels will be set up to warn of impending queues, road closures or accidents ahead, and to broadcast safety messages relating to seatbelt-wearing, speeding, use of overtaking lanes and indicators.
Extra traffic police will be out in force, additional breathalysing and drug-testing points set up, and helicopters and drones flying to seek out drivers breaking the speed limit or using their mobile phones at the wheel.
Speed traps will also increase, both manned and unmanned.
Traffic police urge drivers to keep a safe distance from cars in front, ensure children and infants are in the correct restraints or booster seats - the latter required for all youngsters under 1.35 metres (3'9") in height - and to make sure they stop for a break at least every two hours, given that a high number of serious accidents are caused by fatigue.
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