The Director General of the DGT traffic department, María Seguí, has announced details of this year´s summer road operation, which begins on Friday.

With the intention of ensuring the safety and fluidity in the roads, there will be an anticipated 81.5 million journeys are expected during July and August, almost 4% more than last year.

There are a number of key times when the roads are particularly busy, firstly as inland residents move away from the cities towards coastal and mountainous holiday areas, then again as they return home.

In addition, every weekend from now and through the summer will pose particular problems in terms of traffic flow and are likely to be extremely busy, especially in tourist and leisure focussed areas.

It is also worth noting that in the interests of safety there will be heightened campaigns focussing on speed and alcohol and drug use, two of the three main contributing factors to road traffic incidents.

Specifically, of the 81.5 million anticipated road journeys, 38.3 million will be made in July and 43.2 million in August. Collectively, the roads are anticipated to be 3.85% busier than last year.

Typically, most tourists choose to take their holidays over full weeks, which is why the weekends tend to be busier for long haul journeys, transferring the visitors from their home to the holiday destination and back.

Typically, the first weekend of both July and August are busy for the tourists heading from home to the coast and mountains.

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There are four major operations planned in terms of traffic management, three focussing on the movement to the coast and mountains, and one focussing on the return. The first summer operation will be between the 3rd and 5th of July, the second between the 31st of July and 2nd of August, the third from the 14th to the 16th of August. The return operation will focus on the weekend of the 28th to the 31st of August, although there will also be return operations on a smaller scale on all weekends in between.

In order to ensure the safer flow of traffic, the DGT has already set out a number of measures which include the creation of additional lanes to ease the traffic flow on certain roads. All major road works will be suspended, and there will be restrictions on the movement of dangerous goods.

On the ground, there will be 10,000 officers of the Guardia Civil traffic department, supported by 600 officers and specialised technical personnel, employees from conservation and the emergency services, all of whom will combine their efforts so that drivers can make a safe trip.

The advice for drivers on long journeys is always the same, allow extra time for your trip in peak times, take plenty of breaks, observe the speed limits and the traffic conditions and generally prepare for a busier than normal route.

For local drivers the advice reminds us that summer traffic has different characteristics to those produced in other time of the year and this must be taken into account. Many of the drivers we encounter will be new to the area and not used to driving on either the route they have chosen or during such busy times, so patience must be exercised.

As well as heavy traffic on the roads linking coastal towns and tourist areas of the coastline with beaches, both on weekdays and especially on weekends, there will be an increased presence of cyclists and pedestrians on the road, a greater movement throughout the road network of foreign registered vehicles, an increased number of sports that use the road, for which additional traffic measures will be taken, including the most important road race in the cycling calendar of Spain.

Last year, there were 220 fatalities on the roads of Spain during July and August. With the aim of ultimately reaching a zero death count, it is hoped that the number will decrease significantly this year, to that end, the Guardia Civil will be dedicating 80% of their monitoring time to conventional roads, the scene of the majority of fatal incidents.

In addition, there will be a number f specific checks put in place, the fist, which will run from the 6th to the 12th of July will focus on vehicle standards. There will also be a major speed clamp down between the 20th to the 26th of July, with 1,500 sections of road being targeted.

In addition, for the first time in a summer campaign, foreign drivers will not be able to escape the lengthening arm of the law, as sanctions can now be imposed across other European member states.

These are just some of the intensive campaigns that will run through the summer season, but with the majority of traffic officers taking to the streets for the whole period, there will be intensified attention to all traffic related matters, as the need to keep the roads safer during one of the busiest times of year takes hold once again.

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