Driving in Spain

Driving in Spain is a great way to see the country. Whether you’re heading to the hot spots that attract tourists year on year, or seeking out the many hidden gems to be found off the beaten track – you will need to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road in order to stay safe and avoid an on-the-spot fine, or even worse, the confiscation of your driving license.

Below we set out the documents and items you must carry whenever you are behind the wheel in Spain, as well as some general driving tips to help things go smoothly and hassle free!

If you have previously driven in mainland Europe, you are probably well aware that driving requirements can differ from country to country. So, before you start your journey in or through Spain we want to provide you with as much information as possible to ensure that you are fully prepared.

There are a few important documents you need in your possession before you begin your journey, documents you will be asked to produce should you be stopped by the police or worst case scenario, be involved in some kind of road incident. They include:-

  • The photo and paper counterpart of your full UK driving license. If you don’t have your photo license, we recommend that you carry your passport (it is a legal requirement to carry your passport anyway) and International Driving Permit.
  • Evidence of your vehicle’s insurance.
  • The original vehicle registration document or hire certificate.
  • We also recommend a Green Card

Carry these documents at all times when driving.

There are a number of compulsory items you need to have on board for your safety, as well as that of any passengers you are carrying and other road users. All of which can be stored in the boot, these are:-

Additionally, here are a few other handy items we recommend you include in your travel kit:-

Take a look at our European Driving Kits for everything you might need.

Some Spanish driving laws are the same as the UK, however,a number of them differ. It is advisable you familiarise yourself with the rules of the road in Spain before you begin your journey, to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law.

  • All drivers must be aged 18 and over
  • As in the UK, it is compulsory to wear a seatbelt
  • Remember, tolls charges apply on motorways
  • Speed camera warning systems are banned in Spain, so ensure you disable this function when using satellite navigation and GPS devices.
  • Navigational devices must not be in direct view or obscure the drivers vision
  • Children below the age of 12 and under 1.35m in height must sit in a child seat
  • Don’t sound your horn in urban areas as this is illegal unless you are in an emergency situation
  • If your vehicle exceeds 12m in length, you must fit two yellow reflectors on the rear of the vehicle
  • As in the UK, mobile phones should not be used unless it is a hands free device . In addition, you cannot use headphones or earpieces or you will face a €200 fine.
  • If using snow chains or socks, which can be necessary in some locations between November to March, the maximum  speed limit is 50km/hour

Drink-driving laws are strict in Spain, we advise that you avoid it completely before driving, however the official limits are;

  • Normal drivers: 0.50g/l
  • New drivers (2 years or less): 0.30g/l
  • Professional drivers: 0/30g/l

Ensure that you do not break the drink driving laws in Spain as the penalties can be harsh.

The speed limits in Spain differ to those in the UK and the police take them very seriously, so it is essential to be 100% certain about speed limits before you begin your journey.

  • Urban areas – 50km/h
  • Open roads (no hard shoulder) – 90km/h (70km/h if towing)
  • Dual carriage ways – 100km/h (80km/h if towing)
  • Motorways – 120km/h (80 km/h if towing)
  • Alongside maximum speeds, there are also minimum speed limits – the minimum speed limit while travelling on motorways and dual carriageways is 60km/h.

The information given here is intended to prepare you for driving in Spain, however,  remember that the laws may be slightly different in neighbouring countries, so if you are driving around other locations alongside Spain, ensure that you are fully familiar and compliant to their particular regulations.

Disclaimer

Even though we update our information regularly, driving laws often change without warning, so if in doubt, please check with the relevant authorities.

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