A Guide To Driving In Spain

Spain is a lively, colourful country which attracts tourists from all over the world, however, if you’re not familiar with the place then driving around Spain could be a daunting thought.

If you’re looking to hire a car to get around and see the sights, here are a few things to consider:

Things to have before travelling

- Remember to have your passport with you when going to hire a car for identification. It’s also important to note that EU residents do not require an international driving permit. However, visitors from other parts of the world (including the USA) do. Not having one could result in an expensive fine.

- Don’t forget your driving licence – make sure this is up-to-date before-hand and always carry both parts with you when driving.

- Take out car hire excess insurance before going to hire a car – buying direct from the car hire company could be more expensive and may not cover you in all instances where the vehicle is damaged or stolen. UK and Europe Excess insurance from Insurance4carhire can offer the additional cover you require and can work out cheaper.

Items Your Car Is Required To Carry

Every car is required to:

- Have reflective waistcoats to be used in the event of a breakdown - you must put on the reflective waistcoat before leaving the car.

- Carry two red reflective triangles to use as a warning in case the vehicle breaks down.

- Carry spare bulbs, fuses and the tools to change them.

Things To Be Aware Of When Driving In Spain

- The Spanish drive on the right-hand side of the road

- Spanish road speed limits are 110KPH (was 120KPH up until 2011) on motorways (autopista), 90KPH on main roads and 50KPH in urban areas. Other roads will have speed limits sign-posted.

- Vehicle fuelling stations are frequent when driving around Spain and easy to find. Many of the main ones are 24hour – those that aren’t will list the nearest 24 hour service station. As in the UK – supermarket petrol stations tend to be cheaper.

- Rush hour times in the cities are:

- It is against the law to drive whilst on a mobile phone. The local law enforcement will impose fines if they spot anyone driving whilst on their phone.

- Ensure anyone travelling in the car uses a seat-belt – it is a legal requirement.

- Non-residents and tourists caught breaking driving laws in Spain may have to pay the fine on the spot.

- Do not drink and drive – maximum amount consumed to be considered legal to drive is the equivalent of a glass of wine or beer. It’s important to note that local police set-up road-blocks in the early morning and will stop and make many drivers take a compulsory breath-test.

- Be aware that some motorways are toll roads and you will be charged to drive on one. They’re called “autopista de peaje”.

- Undertaking on the right-hand side is illegal in Spain.

- You must not overtake another vehicle if there is a solid white line dividing the traffic lanes. You can only overtake if the white lines are split.

Spanish Motorists – Things To Be Aware Of

- It is normal for Spanish drivers to hoot and flash lights as a warning when they’re preparing to overtake you.

- Spanish motorists tend to “tail-gate” (follow closely behind you) so it’s important to keep an eye on your rear-view mirror.

- Some Spanish natives may not follow the rules of the road. It’s important to note that there are motorists who will drive through red lights in an attempt to beat them and are known to speed up when the light changes. Drive with care – drive defensively!

Parking In Spanish Towns & Cities

- In towns and cities like Malaga there are parking zones marked in blue, however there are ticket machines where you must pay parking fees and clearly display the parking ticket on the dashboard of your car.

- There are underground car parks around towns and cities that are usually cheaper than the blue parking zones.

- You must not park if the side-walk border is painted yellow or red.

For more information on travelling around Spain we recommend visiting the UK Foreign Office website or Trip Advisor