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  • Drive on the right
  • Do not drink and drive – Spain has tough drink driving regulations
  • Seat belts must be worn, front and rear
  • Children should have an appropriate car seat and children under 12 years are not allowed to ride in the front
  • Always carry your driving license (EC pink/green versions) and your passport to confirm your identity. If you have an old style green license (or non European version) you will also need to carry an International Driving License. It is advisable to carry your rental agreement also as proof of insurance.
  • If you wear glasses, you must carry a spare pair with you whilst driving
  • Using a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal, unless it is a hands-free set. You should not have anything in your ears (for listening to music or using your phone) other than a hearing aid.
  • Traffic coming from the right has priority. However, where a minor road intersects a main road, the traffic onthe main road has right of way (even if you do not see a “Ceda El Paso” sign). Traffic already on a roundabout also has right of way.
  • Watch your speed – radar traps are commonplace and can carry on-the-spot fines. If you are not able to pay the fine on-the-spot, you may be arrested or your car impounded.
  • Some towns use special speed detectors linked to a series of traffic lights. If you are travelling too fast, the lights will change to red to modify your speed.
  • Carrying a radar detector in your car is illegal
  • Remember to use your indicator to overtake, particularly on motorways as this is strictly enforced
  • If you break down in Spain, you should put on a bright reflective vest before getting out of your car to seek help
  • Headlights should be used during the day if there is poor visibility
  • Headlights should always be used through tunnels.
  • Motorways (“Autopista” and marked “A”) can be subject to tolls (“peajes”). The toll is dependent on the distance travelled. Some toll booths accept credit cards but it is always best to ensure you have some change to hand.
  • Unlike the UK, traffic lights are usually situated above the stop line at a junction with a smaller set at window height to the right. These can take a bit of getting used to for first time visitors.
  • When turning left (across the oncoming traffic), you must often first turn right and follow a filter lane round, crossing the traffic via traffic lights or over/underpass. These types of turn are usually signposted ahead of the junction (“Cambio de Sentido”)
  • Parking regulations are strictly enforced and offenders can be heavily fined or towed. Do not park where the pavement curb is painted yellow or if there is a no parking sign. Most towns have dedicated car parks for supermarkets and shoppers – often underground. Parking is restricted in “Zona Azul” areas. Keep a look out for parking areas where you need a sticker to park (from a machine or attendant). Some areas require a special parking disk which is sold at tobacconists, tourist offices or the town hall. You will notice that some Spanish still park wherever they can find a gap (sometimes around roundabouts or two abreast!) but do not be tempted to follow suit – parking regulations have been toughened and you may find yourself towed.
  • Be aware that the automatic petrol pumps (“pay at pump”) do not always accept international credit cards.
  • Be aware that rural petrol stations rarely open 24 hours
  • Some roads in rural villages can be extremely narrow and some are not suitable for cars. Don’t be surprised if the way is blocked by a vehicle unloading or parked or if you have to reverse back up the road for an oncoming vehicle. This can be particularly problematic on “fiesta” days when the town centre is closed off for festivities and pedestrians and all cars are diverted around the back streets.


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