Autopistas, an Abertis Group company, has launched a special traffic plan designed to facilitate smooth travelling on its road network over the Constitution Day long weekend. The plan includes, amongst other measures, additional staff on toll roads to meet the needs arising from the expected increase in traffic during this holiday period. Autopistas has also beefed up its service teams and added additional staff on toll roads as well as in its four Road Safety and Operations Centres. The plan goes into effect on 2 December and ends on 11 December.
Last year, toll roads operated by Autopistas recorded an ADT of 19,431 vehicles during the first week of December. This year the company expects to see a 5% increase in traffic volume over the previous year on its network, comprised of the following toll roads: AP-2 (Zaragoza-Mediterranean); AP-4 (Seville-Cádiz); AP-6 (Villalba-Adanero); AP-7 North (La Junquera-Tarragona) and AP-7 South (Tarragona-Alicante); AP-71 (León – Astorga); AP-61 (San Rafael – Segovia); AP-51 (Villacastín – Ávila); AP-68 (Zaragoza-Bilbao); C-31/C-32 (Montgat – Blanes); C-33 (Barcelona – Montmeló) and C-32 (Viladecans – Sitges – El Vendrell).
Safety before, during and after the journey
Autopistas recommends planning journeys in advance, avoiding peak hours and finding out about traffic conditions before setting off
Towards this end, Autopistas makes real-time traffic information available to drivers via its customer helpline (902 20 03 20/934 927 827), website www.autopistas.com, online chat service, Twitter/Linkedin accounts and the new Autopistas en ruta app, which has recently been updated and enhanced to provide traffic information with a single click and through voice alerts.
The company also encourages drivers to take regular breaks and plan their stops in a way that will make their journey safer. The company alerts drivers of this need by means of 524 matrix signs located along its toll roads.
Amongst other tips, Autopistas stresses the importance of not overloading vehicles. Drivers should only take necessary items and make sure they are properly stowed and secured. The company also reminds drivers of the need to adjust their speed to traffic conditions and keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles.
Driving tips in snow
If you encounter snow or packed snow on the road, Autopistas advises you to gradually reduce your speed and avoid sudden braking. If you are unable to continue your journey, never leave your vehicle in the roadway. Find a temporary stopping or service area and report the situation to the Road Safety and Operations Centres using the SOS boxes by phoning 902 200 320/934 927 827. Such reports can also be made using the “Autopistas en Ruta” app. When road service teams are working, we recommended – for your safety and that of other drivers – that you slow down, obey traffic signs and never overtake snowploughs.
The company also recommends increasing following distances to ensure safe braking. Drivers should also bear in mind that snow reduces visibility and reaction times. In adverse weather conditions it is necessary to gradually apply pressure to the brakes and use low gears to avoid skidding. It is always better to drive in the right lane and only change lanes to overtake another vehicle travelling at a slower speed.
In regards to your vehicle, Autopistas emphases the need to make winter weather preparations well before starting your journey. In this regard, you should check the car battery as well as items that are not normally used during the rest of the year, such as the heater and defroster. Adding antifreeze to the radiator and proper fluid to the wiper reservoir is another recommendation to consider.
The eCall system included in autopistas en ruta, the mobile app distributed by Autopistas. The app includes an onboard emergency call option based on the European 112 number and similar to the eCall system proposed by the European Union, which will be mandatory in European vehicles from 2018. When hard braking is detected, this service automatically connects with Autopistas’ operations centres to help with and speed up the emergency services’ response through these centres and automatically activating an emergency protocol via geolocation of the vehicle if an accident has occurred.
SOS boxes. There is one every two kilometres. Clearly identifiable by their orange colour and the international “need help" symbol, the SOS boxes are operational 24/7/365.
Breakdown service. Abertis autopistas offers a breakdown service that accepts “roadside assistance” provided by any insurer.
All these services are coordinated by the Autopistas operations centres, which maintain permanent contact with the authorities responsible for traffic management, including the Catalan Traffic Service, the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) and the Traffic Department of the Basque Government.