Stop navigating from one website to another, and read ALL the information you need before you leave home.
Will you be driving in Spain? If the answer is yes, then continue reading. It won’t hurt to know more about the requirements and Spanish driving laws.
Organizing a road trip is very easy. All you need is a rental car, a map and some free time. Spanish roads are safe and in good shape.
Unfortunately, road accidents were the first non-natural cause of death until a few years ago. Therefore, the government and the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico or Traffic General Direction) have severely increased driver’s obligations and traffic fines.
In Spain, we drive on the right side of the road. This means that all traffic coming from the right has right of way (except when you are on a road that has right of way). You probably knew it already but this is a reminder for the left side drivers – you know who your are.
Spain’s road system is made up of motorways and main roads:
There are 3 different types of gas in Spain:
Leaded gas was abandoned in 2006 and it’s no longer available. Sin Plomo 98 has a slightly better quality, but it is also more expensive. Unless your rental car specifies it, go for the Sin Plomo 95.
Here are a few traffic rules that you need to be aware of when driving in Spain:
You must keep the following equipment in your vehicle while driving in Spain. If it ever occurs that you need to stop on the side of the road or hard shoulder (due to an emergency, accident or breakdown) use them.
In towns, the municipal police (Policía Municipal) are responsible for traffic control. On Spain’s highways the civil guard (Guardia Civil de Tráfico) are in charge, patrolling in cars, motorcycles and helicopters.
The first and most important piece of advice is to always follow the instructions of traffic police and be prepared to stop. The authorities often set up checkpoints and stop drivers at random to ask for their identity and vehicle documents. They are most of the time looking for drugs or criminals.
Spanish law says you must wear a fluorescent jacket whenever you stop by the side of a highway. So, if the Guardia Civil stops you, take your time to put it on before you get out of the car. Otherwise you’ll get an on-the-spot fine.
Up to €300 on-the-spot fines can be imposed for wide a range of traffic offences. If you are unable to pay an on-the-spot fine (multa) your vehicle can be impounded or immobilized. Alternatively the authorities may escort you to a bank’s ATM.
If you violate a traffic law in Spain you may lose points from the point-based driving license, apart from receiving a fine. The points’ lost will be applied to your drivers’ permit if your country uses this system.
Speeding fines depend on the degree to which you exceed the speed limit and it is severely punished. You will receive a fine, could lose your license and up to six points, and even go to jail.
There is a leeway’ of up to 10% above the speed limit to allow for speedometer and radar errors. Being 30% over the limit is considered a very serious offence. If you’re caught by an unmanned radar trap, you or the rental company will be sent a photograph of your number plate. This picture is considered an irrefutable evidence of speeding.
If you’re fined, you receive a notification (boletín de denuncia) specifying the offence and the fine. Except in the case of an on-the-spot fine, you can pay at any post office, some banks or at the local traffic department. Always make sure that you receive a receipt for it.