Over 16.5 million road trips expected this Easter

by Lorraine Williamson
Easter road trips

As the Easter holiday approaches, the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) in Spain anticipates a significant surge in road traffic, with over 16.5 million journeys forecasted throughout the period.

This figure represents an increase of 1.5 million road trips compared to 2019 and a 1% rise from 2023 statistics during the Easter holidays.

The holiday traffic operation, aimed at ensuring safety and smooth traffic flow on the roads, commenced yesterday, March 22, at 3.00 pm and will continue until midnight on Monday, April 1. This is a public holiday in seven communities including the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, the Basque Country, La Rioja, the Valencian Community, and Navarre.

Easter road trips within the same timeframe

This Easter break presents one of the busiest periods of the year, characterised by a surge in travel within a short timeframe, with similar origins and destinations and often during the same days and hours.

Traditionally, the operation unfolds in two phases, coinciding with the peak of travel and accounting for nearly 90% of the expected movements:

  • The first phase began yesterday at 3.00 pm, and concludes at midnight on Sunday, with an estimated 4.2 million road trips.
  • The second phase, which witnesses a higher volume of vehicle movements across the entire road network, starts from Wednesday, March 27, and extends until Monday, April 1.

Traffic forecasts and measures in the first phase

Traffic forecasts prepared by the DGT anticipate potential congestion and delays, particularly during the early hours of Friday, March 22nd (from 3.00 pm to 10.00 pm, with peak hours between 6.00 pm and 9.00 pm). These issues may occur at exits from major cities and access points to coastal tourist areas, as long-distance journeys coincide with regular short-distance weekend travel.

Saturday morning, March 23, will see continued heavy traffic leaving major urban centres, especially between 9.00 am and 2.00 pm, alongside local recreational travel.

Cogesa Expats

As the first phase concludes on Sunday, March 24, the return journey for holidaymakers will lead to evening and night-time traffic, with expected but less intense congestion between 6.00 pm and 10.00 pm at city entrances.

Traffic flow

To ensure road safety and facilitate traffic flow, the DGT has deployed an array of resources, including technical equipment such as fixed and mobile speed cameras, helicopters, drones, as well as undercover vans and cameras to monitor seatbelt and mobile phone usage. Human resources, including officers from the Traffic Group of the Guardia Civil, traffic management center personnel, helicopter patrols, and maintenance crews, are also fully mobilised.

Additional traffic management measures include reversible lanes to accommodate inbound or outbound traffic based on demand, halting roadworks, and imposing restrictions on certain goods vehicles during specific times and stretches.

Ahead of travel, motorists are urged to stay informed about real-time traffic conditions and incidents through various channels including Twitter accounts (@informacionDGT and @DGTes), radio and TV bulletins, or by calling 011. Planning alternative routes to bypass congested areas is also advised.

With thorough preparation and adherence to traffic regulations, travellers can ensure a safe and hassle-free Easter journey on Spain’s roads.

Also read: Traffic fatalities during February 2024 on Spanish roads

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