Sometimes we give for granted that driving a car is the same everywhere, but that’s not necessarily true.
When driving in another country, we must know what the general rules are, to avoid problems with the traffic police. Some differences might be obvious, such as the side of the road you must drive on (the right side in Spain!), but others might be tricky.
Below you will find some tips to help you drive without trouble in Spain. Make sure that you are aware of the specifics before you get behind the wheel!
1. DRIVING LICENSE AND DRIVING AGE IN SPAIN
Drivers in Spain must carry a valid driving license and be over 18 years old.
EU or EEA driving licenses are valid. However, if you plan to live in Spain for at least 6 months per year, you must apply for your Spanish driving license.
2. DOCUMENTS DRIVERS MUST CARRY
At any time, you must keep the following documents with you:
- Valid driving license,
- Passport or ID,
- Proof of current insurance,
- Vehicle Inspection Certificate: the equivalent to Spanish I.T.V. or British M.O.T.
- Vehicle’s log book, as a proof of ownership (the equivalent to British V5C)
3. EQUIPMENT YOU MUST CARRY ON THE CAR
For safety reasons in case of accident or breakdown, you must carry the following items:
- 2 Warning triangles. If you must stop your car on the road or the hard shoulder, you must place one behind and one in front of the car, at a distance of 50 metres.
- Reflective jackets or vests. Always mandatory if the driver or the passengers step out of the car on the road or hard shoulder.
- Inflated spare tyre.
- Tools to replace tyres.
Some items used to be mandatory, but are not so anymore:
- Set of spare light bulbs, since nowadays is not possible to manipulate the lights of many cars out of a garage.
- Extra pair of spectacles. However, you will get a fine if you are caught driving without glasses or lenses if your license specifies that you need them.
4. SPEED LIMITS FOR CARS IN SPAIN
“Policía” and “Guardia Civil” watch out for speed-drivers on Spanish roads. We advise you to follow the speed signs indications and the following general rules:
- Motorways (“autovia” and “autopista”): 120 km/hr;
- Non-urban, dual carriage roads with hard shoulder: 100 km/hr;
- Other non-urban roads: 90 km/hr;
- Urban roads: 50 km/hr.
5. OTHER SAFETY MEASURES DRIVERS MUST FOLLOW
- Mobile phones are forbidden unless the driver is using a hands-free set. Headphones are not allowed either;
- Seat belts are mandatory for the driver and all the passengers;
- Children under 12-years-old must be placed on the back seat and use an approved safety system;
- Alcoholic drinks: the limit is 0.5 gr per litre of blood. Depending on the person, this could be the equivalent of 2 beers or 2 glasses of wine.
Failing to comply with any of these rules might result in fines for traffic offences, detention of the car or even the withdrawal of your driving license by the police, so we strongly recommend you to abide by all the indications. For more information, you may also check the Spanish Traffic authority’s website: www.dgt.es
The LS Solicitors team may help you with issues such as applying for your Spanish driving license or appealing against a traffic fine. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to help you.