How to interpret incident signage on the M-30

Publicado el 27/01/2020
señalización incidencias m30

Incident signage on the M-30 is based on the guidelines established by the General Traffic Authority. Below, we explain the most common signs used in these notorious tunnels so that you know what each one means.

Incident signage in tunnels on the M-30

For various reasons, you will occasionally find yourself prohibited from driving through the tunnel altogether or confined to particular lanes. In both cases, the operators of the M30 Control Centre shall signal these restrictions by means of the following items: traffic lights, Graphic Road Signs (PGC in the Spanish acronym), Variable Message Signs (PMV) and barriers. We will explain what each one means so that you know how to interpret the signs and react accordingly.


These are very simple to interpret:

  • Lowered barriers: Entry is prohibited by means of this access.
  • Raised barriers: You may enter the tunnel, although you might encounter PGC signs ahead that indicate that a lane is closed.

Traffic lights

You will find these light devices at the entrance to the tunnels. As you know, if they are green it means that you can continue as per usual.

In the event of an incident, they will show the following:

  • Solid yellow traffic light: You may enter via this access but should proceed with caution. They are usually accompanied by written instructions on the variable message signs.
  • Solid red traffic light: Indicates that entry is strictly prohibited via this access.

You will also find traffic lights inside the tunnel. If these are flashing yellow, it indicates that an incident has occurred nearby, so you will need to be alert.

señalizacion incidencias m30 semáforos

Graphic Lane Signs (PGC in the Spanish acronym): Xs, arrows or speed

Each lane has a dedicated square lighting sign known in Spanish as a PGC. The graphics they display mean the following:

  • Red X: You cannot access this lane. If the entire tunnel is closed, all the PGCs will display this X.
  • Yellow diagonal arrow: You should move to the lane indicated as soon as possible.
  • Green vertical arrow pointing down: You can continue driving in this lane.
  • Maximum speed: the speed indicated applies only to the lane over which it is located.

With regard to alert signs at the tunnel entrance, the most common are those that indicate:

  • Slippery surface: Due to either rain or ice. Proceed through the tunnel taking great care.
  • Reduced visibility: There may be fog in the tunnel, so you should be extremely vigilant and focused.

señalización incidencias m30 paneles graficos de carril PGC

Variable Message Signs (PMV in the Spanish acronym)

These signs will usually notify you of potential hazards and give you recommendations or mandatory instructions. In incident signage on the M30, the following messages are common:

  • “Cerrado túnel / Pare vehículo” (Tunnel closed / Stop vehicle) along with Stop signs on the PMV: The tunnel is closed, you cannot enter. You may also find the text displayed in two phases: “Cerrado / Túnel” (Closed / Tunnel) and “Pare / Vehículo” (Stop / Vehicle).
  • “Túnel / Cerrado” (Tunnel / Closed) along with alert signs on the PMV, alternated with “Alternativa / [Name of other access]” and the diversion sign: The tunnel is not operational in that access, but the one named is open.
  • Maximum permissible speed sign (normally 50 km/h), “Túnel cerrado” (Tunnel closed) or “Respete señalización” (Obey signs) text and alert sign: Access traversable, although you must obey the signs.
  • Alert sign and lane diagram with arrows and Xs: There has been an accident or some other type of incident (water leaks, objects on the road, etc.) at the indicated distance ahead. You can drive along the lanes marked with an arrow, but not those marked with an X.
  • Slippery surface sign along with the words “Circule con precaución” (Drive with caution): This is usually due to the presence of rain or ice.
  • Reduced visibility sign along with the aforementioned text: There may be poor visibility in the tunnel due to fog.
  • Wind hazard sign: Indicates that there may be wind that affects the vehicle’s movement.

señalización incidencias m30 paneles de mensajes variables PMV

As you have seen, incident signage on the M30 follows the usual traffic rules, so in general you don’t need to worry. However, it is important that you are familiar with these concepts so that you know how to react when you see them.

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