Driving In Spain
News Posted On: 16 April 2009
So you've decided your gonna have a go! Well its the only way to get around unless you like donkeys or worse still Taxi Drivers? Really if you intend to live in Spain you must take some time out and visit the areas surrounding your choosen domain. Here are a few pointers and things to consider if you intend to drive in Spain:-
To drive a foreign registered car in Spain you must carry with you, your passport, current driving licence, valid insurance and vehicle registration document. Vehicles should display a national identity plate (GB/USA etc). You should carry two red warning triangles, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and a set of spare bulbs.
The roads in Spain vary from very poor to very good. The main connecting roads are generally excellent. Roads are classified thus:
Autopista (motorway) - A or E - prefix to road number, often these are toll roads
Autovia - dual carriageway, not necessarily with a central reservation
Carretera Nacional - N or CN - prefix to road number, main roads
Carretera Comarcal - C - prefix, country roads
Carretera Local - by-road
At all times expect the unexpected. Just because there are road signs and signals to adhere to - doesn't mean they are! Drive carefully until you get used to the way in which the traffic flows. Remember at all times especially in country lanes what side of the road you are supposed to be on "the right" or was it the left?
Remeber to give way to traffic from the left, especially at roundabouts. Always wear your seatbelts and don't drink and drive - the limits are very low and the penalties very high, as are on-the-spot fines for traffic offences.
Parking - Ha!
If the pavement is painted yellow - don't park, if there is a sign saying No Parking - don't park. If you're not sure - don't park unless of course you want to get towed away which is fine if you want to shell out the standard fines of £40-£50 per offence. Just be careful where you leave your car and always lock valuables out of sight in the boot or glovebox. However, you will note that in general the Spanish park where they stop - I dare you!
Where fitted wear them as its now compulsory on all roads to wear seatbelts both front and rear.
Taxed and tested
The road tax in Spain is related to the individual vehicle and the area. As in the UK your vehicle will need to undergo an annual inspection called an ITV, to verify the condition of the vehicle. Most major towns and cities have several ITV stations to which you can take your car.
Autopista (toll) roads
Good or Bad Spain has them. They are normally of excellent standard and all have service stations every 40km or so. The tolls are expensive and are usually calculated per km. Some toll roads, for long distance travelling allow you to collect a ticket at the start and then pay the total when you exit the road. For short distances you will pay the toll as you exit the toll road. As you approach the peaje (toll booth), you will be confronted with several lanes. The telepago lane is for cars fitted with a special chip on the windscreen. Automatico is for paying by credit card or the exact change and the manual has an attendant who collects your fee. All useable lanes will have a green arrow, un-usable lanes display a red cross.
New laws and mobile phones
The use of a mobile telephone whilst driving is now banned in Spain, although you can pull over to the side of the road to take an emergency call. Those who break the law face fines of up to 300€. Motorists are required to use hands-free kits, which doesn´t include earphone connections. It must be equipment fitted to the power supply of the car.
Fines - ouch!
Yep they do hurt especially when you're not used to them Fines imposed for speeding are are calculated at 6€ per kilometre over the speed limit and are payable on the spot. Speed traps are becoming quite frequent now so watch your speed. There are fines for not carrying the right documentation also so make sure you have all your details with you and drive carefully.
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