During the first weekend of January, some 3,000 vehicles became trapped on a snowbound motorway in Segovia, prompting the government to call on military forces to assist the Guardia Civil in freeing vehicles and their occupants.
However, according to the Director General of the DGT, Gregorio Serrano, many of the drivers who became trapped did not hear or head the warnings, and many others failed to take necessary precautions.
Serrano gave a press conference after the event and explained how more than 3,000 vehicles had been trapped on the AP-6 at the height of several municipalities of Segovia. Serrano said that ”many vehicles went without snow chains” which caused a serious of incidents which collapsed the road.
Although carrying snow chains is not mandatory, it is advisable during times of snow risk as it is mandatory to use them if signs are displayed saying so. Vehicles which do not carry snow chains must not proceed on roads where these signs are displayed.
Guardia Civil traffic officers worked tirelessly into a cold Saturday night to try to ease the problem and rescue stranded drivers, but the situation quickly became uncontrollable and so UME military forces were called in, staying on site well into Sunday afternoon.
Serrano compared the situation to “many European countries”, where such occurrences are not infrequent, but this situation was further aggravated by the end of the Christmas holiday period.
Serrano personally monitored the situation throughout the incident and assured the press conference that every possible resource was deployed which, despite the severity of the situation, could have ended so much worse, but could also have been so much easier should drivers have prepared and took notice of the warnings.