Knowledge Base 17: Tips for Driving in Spain.
Essential Tips for UK Drivers:
Navigating the Roads of Spain with Confidence
Planning a road trip to Spain from the UK? As a UK driver, it’s important to be aware of the unique rules and customs of the Spanish roads to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. In this article, we’ll provide you with some useful tips and insights to help you navigate the roads of Spain with confidence.
- Driving Side and Roundabouts: In Spain, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. This means that UK drivers need to adjust to driving on the opposite side. Take extra care when approaching roundabouts, as the traffic flows clockwise. Yield to vehicles approaching from the left and remember to signal your intentions when entering and exiting roundabouts. As much as we can be confused at first by roundabout etiquette in Spain, the Spanish find our system just as confusing.
- Speed Limits and Signs: Familiarize yourself with the speed limits in Spain. The general limits are 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (56 mph) on roads outside urban areas, 100-120 km/h (62-75 mph) on dual carriageways, and 120 km/h (75 mph) on motorways. Pay close attention to speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Toll Roads: Spain has an extensive network of toll roads (autopistas) that provide faster and more direct routes. If you choose to use toll roads, make sure to carry some cash or a credit card for payment. Keep in mind that some toll booths only accept specific payment methods, so it’s advisable to have alternatives available.
- Documentation and Insurance: Before embarking on your journey, ensure you have all the necessary documents readily available. This includes a valid UK driving license, passport, vehicle registration documents, and proof of insurance. If you’re renting a car, check with the rental company to confirm what documents are required.
- Parking: Parking regulations can vary across different cities and regions in Spain. Pay attention to parking signs and markings. In urban areas, blue zones indicate paid parking, while white zones generally offer free parking. Some cities implement restricted traffic zones (Zonas de Bajas Emisiones) where only authorized vehicles can enter. It’s best to use public parking lots or garages to avoid parking violations.
- Alcohol and Drug Limits: Spain has strict laws regarding alcohol and drug consumption while driving. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 grams per liter. However, it’s advisable to avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Additionally, certain medications can impair your ability to drive, so check the labels or consult your doctor if you’re unsure.
- Child Safety Seats: If you’re traveling with children, ensure that they are properly secured in appropriate child safety seats. Children under 12 years old and under 135 cm (4ft 5in) in height must be seated in the back and use the correct child restraint system according to their age and size.
- Emergency Numbers and Breakdown Assistance: Save the following numbers on your phone: 112 for emergencies, 062 for traffic police, and the contact details of your breakdown assistance provider. In case of an accident or breakdown, stay calm, move to a safe location if possible, and contact the relevant authorities for assistance.
Driving in Spain will be a fantastic experience,especially f you are coming from the potholes and congestion of northern Europe allowing you to explore the country at your own pace. By familiarizing yourself with the driving rules and regulations, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable journey. Remember to drive on the right, adhere to speed limits, and stay alert. With these tips in mind, embrace the adventure and make the most of your road trip in Spain!
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