Things to Know When Driving in Spain

24 August 2015 1 Comments Category: Just Landed

Never driven in Spain before? Running on empty and afraid the gas stations will be closed for siesta? Not sure what the speed limits are or what documentation is required to drive in Spain? Wondering how you pay a fine? Well, all you have to do is relax and follow these tips, which tell you everything you need to know when driving in Spain.

Age and Necessary Documentation to Drive in Spain

To drive in Spain you must be 18 years old or over and have a valid driver´s license (EU member state citizens only). If you are not a European citizen, you will need an International Driver´s license. Before hitting the road, contact your Embassy or Consulate just to double check you have what it takes. You could end up paying up to 250 euros if you don´t. Oh, and always carry proper ID or passport.

If you want to rent a car, the minimum age is 21 and most rental car companies require you to have had a driver´s license for at least one or two years. If you´d like more information about renting cars in Spain, we encourage you to read this post, published here at TypicalNonSpanish.


Important safety measures you should know:

  • Talking on a cell phone is prohibited. You can use a hands-free.
  • Alcohol levels in the bloodstream must not exceed 0.25 mg/l.
  • Seat belts must be worn by driver and all passengers, in front and back seats.
  • In case of an accident or if your car breaks down, a reflective jacket must be worn when getting out of the car on the road.
  • When the car is stopped on the road or shoulder, you must place a warning triangle a few meters behind the vehicle.
  • Programming a GPS while driving is considered an offense.
  • Do not park in a space reserved for handicapped, disabled or where the curb is painted yellow or red.
  • Make sure your license plate is readable. If you manipulate it, you´ll pay up to 6000 euros.
  • Whenever you approach a roundabout (glorietas or rotondas, in Spanish), the car, already in the roundabout, has the right of way. Make sure you give drivers in the right-hand lane the right of way.
  • Pedestrian crossings are marked with black and white striped lines. If there´s no traffic light at the crossing, pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Use the left lane on highways to overtake another car. Otherwise, use the right or middle lane.
  • Everyone in the car has to use their seatbelt, including the passengers in the back seat. If not you´ll be fined. Children under 12 cannot be seated in the front seat.
  • No radar detectors or headphones can be used when driving.
  • Yes, feel free to use your horn.
  • Peaje means toll roads. You can pay with cash or credit card.



What you need to know about speed limits:

On highways, the speed limit is 120 km/h. All other roads, it´s 90 or 100km/h. The speed limit within cities or towns is 50 km/h.



If you are caught with a radar inhibitor you will be fined 6000 euros as well as a speeding ticket.


Points, License Removal and How to Pay a Fine:

Points You´ll lose points on your driver´s license if you drive recklessly, without your lights on or park in a bus lane or on the curb. We suggest you read the Spanish Ministry of Interior´s website to get the ins and outs of points. Remember, you can regain up to 6 points by attending a road safety class.

Serious driving offenses can cost you up to 500 euros and the removal of up to 4 points.

Fines: You can pay your ticket or fine using your credit card by calling 060 (within Spain). Please note this service is only available in Spanish.

  • If you´d like to pay your fine in person, go to any Banco Santander branch or your nearest post office.
  • If a local authority gives you a ticket, we suggest you head directly to the nearest Town Hall.

Remember, if you pay within 20 days of receiving a ticket or a fine, you´ll get a 50% discount.


Final Tips:

If you´d like to find out about road conditions, you can access them here in real time.

If your insurance company does not cover your insurance while driving in Spain, it is advisable to buy insurance at the rental car company. Check with your insurance company before you come to Spain. If you don´t already have travel insurance, make sure you visit this website. There are plenty of special rates for expats living in Spain.


Photo Credits: Abir AmwarKurtxio


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