Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rules and Regulations When Driving in Spain

June 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Guide

Rural jam

Spain is a beautiful country, and venturing on a road trip there – or simply connecting A and B with sections of Spanish road should be an enjoyable experience. There’s lots to see on the Spanish roads and in general, they are well maintained and the locals who populate them are respectful and cautious drivers. There shouldn’t be too many problems therefore when driving there – but there are a few things to make sure you know before you set out by way of rules and regulations, which will mean you’re far less likely to interrupt a great holiday with an unfortunate delay (or get yourself in trouble).

You may decide to take your own car, but, particularly if you’re flying there, a car rental service might be more viable. Both options have a number of things you need to make sure you have on you. You’ll need firstly some documents including your driving license, which will probably be requested at the point of car rental. When on the road you’ll need to make sure you have the car documentation and insurance in your glovebox, as although it’s unlikely you could be asked to display these. There are safety measures few car rental companies will let you drive off without, such as proper child seating if you have one, and you also need to display red warning triangles.

If you’re going in your own car, similar measures apply, but you need to ensure your car can be recognised as foreign. This can be done in one of two ways: your number plate should be the standard EU regulation number plate with the ring of stars and your country code (GB) inside it, but this can be hard to get and lengthy, so it’s far easier to obtain a GB sticker for the back screen of your car. You also should have spare bulbs for your headlights in case of a disaster there, and a spare pair of corrective glasses for driving (if you need them).

In general, the rules of the road in Spain are pretty similar to ours. Seatbelts must be worn at all times (your common sense can cover that one), and also mobile phone usage is not allowed. Bluetooth headsets are also not acceptable, the only way you can legally take a call whilst driving is if your are lucky enough to have an in built system in your car. It’s also important to remember that if you’re driving with a child under 12, they cannot sit in the front seat in any circumstance.

In addition, speed rules are also important to take note of – the speed you’re required to stay in the limits of is determined by the type of road you’re on, and you can tell this from the prefix to the road number. On an “autopista” (motorway) with an A or E prefix, the maximum speed is 120 kph (73 mph), and remember that these can be toll roads (peajes). On an “autovia” (dual carriageway), speed limits vary from 80 to 140 kph. Similarly on a “carretara nacional” (main road) with an N or CN prefix, it varies from 100 to 60kph, and from 100 to 80kph for a “carretara comarcal” (country road).

A seemingly obvious but often forgotten rule is that drinking and driving do not mix. The limits are largely the same as the UK, and the Spanish really take this seriously – so don’t be tempted by another glass. Follow these rules and doubtless you’ll have fun and stay safe on your trip! Good luck.

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