Driving in Spain is a unique experience, with its own set of rules and regulations to follow. In order to ensure the safety of yourself and others I would recommend that you familiarise yourself with these rules before driving, especially before any long trip to roads that you have never been on. Below is a comprehensive guide to the rules for motor vehicles in Spain.
Where must you keep documents in motor vehicle
You must keep your original driving license on you when you are driving your car in Spain as well as the original ownership documents, ITV certificate, insurance policy and insurance premium receipt.
If you do not have the current receipt of the policy in the vehicle, the Guardia Civil and local Police now use the “FIVA” Insured Vehicle Computer Database to check if your vehicle is insured.
We would recommend you take copies of all documentation to keep at home but ensure the originals are in the car whilst using it.
Road and Safety Rules for Cars in Spain
You must wear seat belts in the front of the car at all times. Seat belts must be worn in the back seats as well.
Children under 12 years of age:
Children under 12 are not permitted to sit in the front seats. They must use appropriate child restraints or seat belts, depending on their weight and height. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all passengers are wearing their seat belts or in the correct restraints.
It is also a legal requirement to carry two warning triangles in the vehicle in case you breakdown, as well as a fluorescent jacket which must be reachable from inside the vehicle.
The speed limit on Spanish roads varies depending on the type of road and weather conditions. In urban areas, the speed limit is usually 50 km/h, while on highways it can be up to 120 km/h. It is important to pay attention to road signs and adjust your speed accordingly.
In Spain, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 g/l. It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and you will face severe penalties if caught. It is worth pointing out that if you are involved in an accident and you are over the limit, your insurance policy will be void.
The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited unless they are used with hands-free devices.
It is mandatory to have your headlights turned on when day driving in Spain. This is to increase visibility on the road and make it easier for other drivers to see you.
In the event of a breakdown or accident, it is recommended that you pull over to the side of the road and call for assistance. Your insurance contact will provide you with a breakdown card for numbers to call for assistance when inside Spain and abroad. If you are involved in a road accident, it is important to remain calm and wait for the authorities to arrive.
Mandatory items to keep in vehicle
It is mandatory to keep the following equipment in your vehicle:
– Two red warning triangles officially approved by the Internal Ministry (Ministerio de Interior)
– Spare tyre and tools necessary to replace it or a run flat kit.
– A fluorescent jacket which you must be able to put on before leaving the car
Helmets are compulsory on all bikes in Spain at all times.
What licenses are recognised in Spain
All EU driving licenses are recognised. If you are European Union citizen then you may drive in Spain using your existing license.
Many highways in Spain are subject to tolls, which can be paid in cash or with a credit card.
Parking in Spain is strictly regulated, and you should always pay attention to road signs and parking restrictions. In many cities, there are designated parking areas and it is illegal to park on the pavement or in front of someone’s home.
In regards insurance if you hit an illegally parked car you will be responsible for the damages caused. Any vehicle that is stationary is subject to a fine if they are caught, but it does not mean that any damage you cause to this vehicle is not covered. So it will always be best to slow down when facd with a car that is parked illegally and make slow manoeuvrers to avoid any collision.