What You Need to Know About Driving in Spain

Spain has been a top holiday destination for Brits for decades, and the country is also home to a large expat community. Whether you are visiting Spain for a day or moving there permanently, you will need to know what the rules of the road are. The good news is, that if you can drive in the UK, then you can drive in Spain on your UK driving license (until November 2019, anyway).

However, before you go out on the road in Spain, you should make sure to run through this checklist of essentials to make sure that you are properly prepared for the different system.

What are the Main Requirements?

Everything that follows comes with a very big Brexit caveat – at the time of writing, the UK is still an EU member and so UK citizens are entitled to drive in Spain using their UK driving licenses. However, beyond October 31st this year, no one knows what the arrangement will be.

But, until the UK’s political status changes, any British citizen who is 18 years old or over and holds a valid UK driving license can drive in Spain.

Like France, Spain requires that drivers keep a couple of things in their cars in the interest of safety – why the UK doesn’t have similar rules is a mystery.

Your car should always contain:

  • Passport & driver’s license
  • Insurance documents
  • Your V5C certificate
  • a warning triangle for breakdowns
  • a GB sticker or appropriate Europlates
  • a high-vis jacket
  • spare glasses for those that wear glasses

The Rules of the Road

As you would expect, drink-driving is frowned upon in Spain. The legal limit is 0.5mg/ml of blood. For reference, in the UK, the limit is 0.8. So, what would be okay in the UK would be over the limit in Spain.

Under Spanish law, drivers are not allowed to transport containers of petrol in their cars. However, if you run out of fuel on a main road, then you will receive a fine – make sure you stay topped up.

Finally, when you are approaching a roundabout in Spain, you should remember that cars that are already on the roundabout will be given priority over those that aren’t.

Motorways & Tolls

In Spain, the motorways are known as autopistasand they are usually light on traffic, especially if you compare them to the motorways in the UK. Part of the reason for this is that Spain, like other European countries, funds its roadways through the use of toll booths. Travelling a long distance on the autopistas can be surprisingly expensive.

Instead, it is advised that you use your GPS to find alternative routes if you want to spend money. The autopistas will usually be the most direct and fastest way of travelling long distances. However, you need to be prepared to rack up quite a bill.

Drivers who hold a valid UK license and are 18 years or over can drive in Spain. Putting the extra safety equipment in your car isn’t much of a hassle, and shouldn’t cost very much. Make sure that you research Spanish road signs before you leave, but if you are a competent driver in the UK, you should find Spain easy.

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