DGT gears up for the holiday rush: Special traffic measures in place for 19.7 million Christmas journeys

by Lorraine Williamson
Christmas journeys

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has announced its special traffic plan to manage the anticipated 19.7 million journeys expected during Christmas.

The surveillance, regulation, and safety operation on the roads will kick off at 3.00 pm on Friday, December 22. It will continue until Sunday, January 7.

As is customary, the operation unfolds in three phases, aligning with the major holidays (Christmas, New Year, and Epiphany). All these dates fall on weekends this year. Under the banner of the DGT’s communication campaign for the season, the motto remains: “Better late than never.”

Commencing the special operation: December 22, 2023

The special operation, slated to begin on Friday, December 22, at 3.00 pm, is designed to accommodate the 19.7 million road journeys expected over the Christmas festivities, concluding on Sunday, January 7, 2024.

Phased approach for a smooth flow

In line with the Christmas holidays falling on weekends, the DGT has structured the operation into three phases:

  1. Christmas Phase: From Friday, December 22, to Monday, December 25, with an estimated 4.8 million journeys.
  2. New Year Phase: From Friday, December 29, to Monday, January 1.
  3. Epiphany (Reyes) Phase: From Friday, January 5, to Sunday, January 7, marking the conclusion of the Christmas special operation.

During weekends and holidays, many journeys are expected towards second homes, mountain areas for winter sports, winter and holiday tourist attractions, as well as commercial areas.

Technical and human resources at the helm

To ensure the seamless flow of traffic and prioritise road safety, the DGT has devised a comprehensive plan that encompasses regulation, organisation, and surveillance. The operation relies on a multitude of resources, including:

  • Agents from the Traffic Group of the Guardia Civil
  • Officials from Traffic Management Centres
  • Helicopter patrols
  • Personnel responsible for equipment maintenance and road measures installation

These resources are dedicated to facilitating traffic flow. They will also ensure road safety under adverse weather conditions, assisting users in case of incidents, and monitoring user behaviour. The arsenal includes the following;

  • 780 fixed radars (including 92 section radars)
  • 545 mobile speed control units
  • 13 helicopters
  • 39 drones
  • 245 cameras
  • 15 unmarked vans for monitoring mobile phone usage and seatbelt compliance

Stay informed and stay safe

For real-time updates on road incidents, the DGT will disseminate information through traffic bulletins on radio and television, its website, Twitter (@DGTes and @InformacionDGT), and the telephone helpline 011.

The complete operational plan, including traffic forecasts, unfavourable travel times, historical maps, safety advice, traffic regulation and organisation measures, can be found on the DGT website: DGT Traffic Recommendations.

“Better Late Than Never” – A timely reminder

As the winter festivities unfold, the DGT emphasises the incompatibility of consuming alcoholic beverages and driving. It urges caution during journeys, particularly on short and nocturnal routes, and advocates staying informed about potential adverse weather conditions. The traditional DGT campaign reminds us all that, regardless of the importance of the journey (even Santa’s journey), “Better late than never” holds true, especially during Christmas.

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