How to Drive in Spain

How to Drive in Spain

You can garner a ton of memorable memories on your road trip to Spain from UK. Beautiful scenery, fluid roads and mesmerising architecture are sure to leave a lasting impression on the whole family for many years to come. With Google Maps and Satnav for assistance, car rentals offering competitive prices, and all-encompassing insurance plans from different insurance companies, driving to Spain has become a hassle free, enjoyable experience. But before you take the plunge and ditch the airlines for a one in a life time UK-Spain road trip, you need to get accustomed to road rules, laws and the documents needed for the journey, so let’s begin:

Documents Required:

The UK nationals can still drive in Spain and across Europe, for now, with their valid UK driving licence, V5C document or proof of ownership and insurance along with international ID or passport.

Safety Gear:

Spain has rather lenient safety requirements compared to few other European countries, however to drive in Spain you need a few things:

  • Headlight bean deflectors
  • Two warning triangles, to be used in case of vehicle breakdown on road
  • An extra pair of glasses, if you need one
  • A GB sticker on the car, if the car’s registration plate doesn’t have a GB-Euro symbol
  • Child safety seats and booster seats as per the ages of your children
  • As per rules you don’t need a reflective jacket while driving, but you will be fined if found walking on motorway without one

Also, it is important to note that drinking limit for drivers having less than three years of experience is 0.01%, but for drivers with more experience it is set at 0.05%.

Speed Limits and Spanish Etiquettes:

The speed limits and driving etiquettes differ a bit to other EU countries, but they are definitely not at opposite ends, so you won’t find much trouble in getting accustomed to Spanish way of driving. The speed limit on motorways is set at 120 Km/h and overtakers usually flash headlights upon overtaking, so don’t get offended when you see blinking and flashing in your rear view mirror. It’s also wise to flash when you are overtaking, as it will take away the element of surprise of other drivers, alerting them of your move in advance.

The speed limit on smaller roads is low and varies from road to road, however, while overtaking you can exceed the limit by up to 20 Km, not more than that. In town and villages, it drops to 50 Km mostly and you will need to be on your toes constantly, as Spanish roads are rather congested and people love to ride bikes and scooters. Though they will swarm over you, but it’s a rarity to encounter a rude rider or driver; most of them are rather nice and courteous.

Spanish drivers are keen on using indicators while making a move, overtaking or changing lanes, so you won’t get a shock at motorways. Following this norm will ensure that you don’t shock other drivers as well.

Tolls and Road Fees:

A beautiful set of road doesn’t build itself and doesn’t take care of itself, so yes, Spain does charge tolls and road fees that are on par with France and Italy. A bit on the expensive side, as the longest strip of motorway from Malaga to Gibralter costs €9.55 that comes down to €1 for every 14.24 miles driven. But, the good news is, you won’t be charged any more if you are towing a small caravan, so that’s a big plus for caravan commuters. Also, the tolls on E-signed roads are lower than A-signed ones. Though they might not offer the shortest route possible, but if you want to explore the natural beauty of Spain, then they are not half bad.

Another perk that Spain offers to long distance cross country commuters is low gas prices, both petrol and diesel are below what you pay for in UK. Petrol is currently priced at €1.21 and diesel is at €1.08.

That’s about it folks, just get the paperwork done, hire a car or even bring your own and drive your heart out on sunny coastal Spanish roads. Chances are you will be getting back in summer next year as well.

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