Friday sees the start of this year´s special operation on the roads, which runs from 15:00 on Friday until midnight on January the 7th, when 17 million journeys are expected to take place.
There will be three phases to the operation, which coincides with the three special days of the holiday, Christmas, New Year and Three Kings.
Phase 1 will begin on Friday, December the 22nd, and will end on Monday, December the 25th, during which an estimated 4,350,000 million trips will take place.
The second phase, for New Year, will start on Friday the 29th, and will and on January the 1st, 2018, when an estimated 4,000,000 journeys will take place.
The third and final phase coincides with Three Kings and begins on Friday the 5th and runs through to Monday the 7th of January, with an estimated 2,750,000 trips planned.
At the start of the campaign there will be an estimated movement from inland cities towards destinations of second homes or tourist interest, such as the coastal areas. During the period shopping centres and towns and cities will see an increase in short-haul journeys, and leisure areas will also be busier. At the end of the campaign the movement will be reversed as the tourists return home.
The principal reason for the operations is to facilitate the safe and fluid movement of vehicles, ensuring road safety, with key focuses on tourist, mountainous and large urban areas.
In order to ensure safety on the roads the Guardia Civil will be out in force on the roads, supported by colleagues from the DGT on the ground and in the air, and the local and regional police.
Surveillance will be intensified on conventional roads, especially in the sections which have been highlighted as being particularly problematic or dangerous, all of which are listed on the DGT website, dgt.es. If is more important than ever that speed limits and warnings are observed on these roads.
There will also be an increase in the number of alcohol and drugs checks on the roads, which can take place at any time, day or night. The DGT´s helicopters will also be out and about, including the eight fitted with Pegasus radar equipment.
There will be additional lanes created to improve traffic flow, with special rules in place in these areas. There will also be restrictions of goods vehicles at times, which can be checked on the DGT website, dgt.es, and all none essential road works will be put on hold.
You can also check for incidents on the road on the dgt.es website, and through the official Twitter accounts, @DGTes and @informacionDGT, as well as on Facebook, on radio and news bulletins, and on the free DGT app.
Christmas Facts and Figures
The Guardia Civil has another 156 new vans for drug and alcohol control, added to the 40 that were delivered in the summer.
In addition to the vans, the DGT has also invested 7.7 million euro in the purchase of 746 ethylmeters and 500 drug readers, and 23,400 multi-drug kits.
Around 6,000 traffic officers from the Guardia Civil will be on duty.
More than 800 officials and specialist technical personnel will be on duty in the various Traffic Management Centres.
More than 13,000 employees of the conservation and exploitation companies will be on the roads.
The roads will be monitored by 1,690 cameras, 2,466 data collection stations,2,310 variable message panels, and 12 helicopters that will carry out surveillance from their bases in Madrid, Valencia, Malaga, Seville, Zaragoza, Valladolid and A Coruña, (8 of them equipped with the Pegasus radar system).
Road safety = Prevention and Prudence
The most important thing, as always, is to always maintain safe speed and distance, allow plenty of time for your journey, never get distracted by mobile phones or other devices, and never consume alcohol or drugs before driving.
In addition, it is advised:
Preparation : Before starting a journey prepare for it and check the state of the roads and weather conditions through such means as the DGT website.
Adverse weather : Due to the time of the year we are in, rain, snow, wind, and fog may appear during the trip. In times of poor visibility remember that on conventional roads the use of headlights is mandatory, not just daytime running lights, and you must reduce speed and increase the safety distance.
Snow Chains : It is essential to carry snow chains or winter tires, especially for trips in mountainous areas. When signs indicate, these chains must be used or you must not continue. Also periodically check that the windscreen and windows are in perfect condition, for safety and economy.
Rest : During the trip, take breaks every two hours. Inattention in driving is one of the main causes of incidents.
Secondary roads : Pay special attention on short trips and secondary roads, since they tend to produce a large number of incidents due to complacency, overconfidence and a lapse in the adoption of safety measures. All precautions should be applied even on these short trips.
Restraint systems : All occupants of the vehicle must always wear a seatbelt and minors must be properly restrained with their child restraint systems, and only sat in the back (if under 135cm in height).
Alcohol and other drugs : Do not consume alcoholic beverages or any other type of drugs if you are going to drive.
Motorcyclists : Motorcycles are especially vulnerable, especially on curves and on secondary roads. All road users must remember to be alert, motorcyclists included.
Cyclists : Attention and respect for and from cyclists is also essential. It is forbidden to overtake a cyclist if this manoeuvre can endanger or hinder their progress and in any case, a minimum lateral separation of one and a half meters with the cyclist should be kept when overtaking. Cyclists too must also maintain a safe distance and comply with all traffic laws.