Spain Drive On Left Or Right?

Spain Drive On Left Or Right
Driving in Spain FAQs –

  • Can I drive my car in Spain? Yes. You must have a valid UK licence and V5 document, along with sufficient insurance and breakdown cover for your trip. You should also familiarise yourself with the laws around driving in Spain before you set off to keep yourself and other road users safe.
  • How do I drive to Spain? Getting to Spain by car from the UK is probably easier than you think. Firstly, you’ll need to take your car across the Channel to Calais on either a ferry from Dover or the Eurotunnel from Folkestone. Once you’re in Calais, drive down through France and across the border into Spain, which should take around 10 hours. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Plymouth or Portsmouth to the northern Spanish cities of Bilbao and Santander.
  • What side of the road do they drive on in Spain? Unlike in the UK, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Spain and overtake on the left – which can take some adjustment if you’re used to driving on the left.
  • Can you drive in Spain with a UK licence? Yes, you can legally drive in Spain with your UK-issued driving licence without the need to apply for an International Driving Permit.
  • Do I need extra insurance to drive in Spain? Spain and the UK are both part of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme allowing all countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists, so it’s quite possible your existing insurance will cover you. However, before setting off on your trip, you should contact your insurance provider to make sure that no additional cover is required, as you won’t be able to buy short-term cover at the border entry points.
  • Is driving in Spain dangerous? Driving in Spain is generally very easy once you get used to driving on the right side of the road. All main roads are in good condition and well signposted, and the toll motorways are very quiet. Be careful if you go off the beaten track, however, as the quality of the roads and signage can vary considerably.
  • Do I need a GB/UK sticker to drive in Spain? You will need to display a UK sticker on the rear of your car. GB stickers have been discontinued.
  • Do I need headlamp converters in Spain? Yes. Depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually. This is so you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic when driving on the right side of the road at night.
  • What is the national speed limit in Spain? The national speed limit on Spanish motorways is 120km/h (75 mph). If you’re driving on a main road outside a built-up area, the limit is 90km/h, and for built-up areas it’s 50km/h.
  • Do I need snow chains in Spain? Although Spain is known for its sunny climate, it does snow in some areas. In certain circumstances, particularly on mountain passes, the use of snow chains or winter tyres may become compulsory.
  • How much are toll roads in Spain? The amount you pay per toll will depend on the length of the road and the area you’re driving in. Visit https://www. viamichelin. com to calculate the cost of your journey.
  • How do you pay for toll roads in Spain? There are two ways to pay for tolls – electronically or manually. On most toll roads, you take a ticket when you enter the motorway and pay when you exit at a booth with a green arrow. Simply insert your ticket into the machine and it will show you how much you need to pay. You can either pay by cash or credit card. If you regularly use toll roads, it’s worth signing up to the Telepeaje scheme which takes you through the fast lane without having to stop and pay.
  • Does Spain use mph or kph? Spain uses the metric system for all road signs, so speed limits and other signs including distance are shown in kilometres and metres.
  • Is it compulsory to carry a spare wheel in Spain? For Spanish residents, a spare tyre or puncture repair kit must be carried in the vehicle, but if your car is registered outside Spain this is not obligatory. You should, however, make sure you check all your tyres before setting off. The legal minimum depth of tyre tread is 1. 6mm for the full circumference of the tyre.
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What countries drive on left side?

Did Spain drive on the left?

Distribution of traffic on a road to a certain side makes it possible to avoid various congestions and collisions of carts and phaetons — it was noticed long time ago. But until now, mankind could not agree on how to organize traffic in order to suit everyone.

  • Therefore, there are transport systems with right-hand traffic (almost 3/4 of all roads), and those with left-hand traffic;
  • Of course, there are cars for left- and right-hand driving;
  • The root of the problem goes into psychophysiology;

Individuals are divided into two groups: those who are dominated by the work of the right hemisphere (those are left-handers) and those who are dominated by the work of the left hemisphere (those are right-handers). There are also ambidextrous people (possessing equal skill with both the left and right hands); but there are not many of them, so this is rather an exception.

Accordingly, in ancient times every traveler (pedestrian), carrying any luggage on his shoulder held it with his right (leading) hand, and therefore instinctively, trying to protect his property from a collision, kept himself to the right side of the path (road).

It was also easier for a charioteer to pull the reins by a stronger right arm, so they kept themselves on the right side. However, many people were armed in those times, so the hand holding the sword had to be closer to the opposing adversary. Therefore, it was easier for armed people to pass each other on the left side.

This caused a contradiction in traffic even during that time. Traffic was left-handed where historically there were many warriors and military campaigns (for example, in the Roman Empire). Troops were constantly moving, and left ruts were always more broken in (as loaded carts moved along them).

The system of right-hand traffic began to take shape only when people ceased to suspect an enemy at every encounter. In Europe it has been necessary to take to the right since the Middle Ages. However, in England, which followed the ancient Roman traditions, the “Road Act” was adopted in 1776, according to which the left-hand traffic was the dominant one.

  • In many remaining countries, confusion and vacillation were observed on this issue, so there was no consensus;
  • It is generally accepted that in continental Europe, right-hand traffic was introduced by Napoleon, who extended French road rules to the whole continent;

But this was mostly true only for those states which were under his rule and the French influence. Britain, Sweden, Austria-Hungary and Portugal remained left-handed. As a result, England began to determine the spread of left-hand traffic across the planet.

  • First of all we are talking about its overseas colonies: India, Australia and others;
  • In Japan, left-hand traffic was accepted when British engineers built the first railroad there;
  • If we go back to roads and the first cars, we should remember that the first horseless carriages were controlled by a lever sticking out of the floor;

This required considerable force, so the driver sat on the left and controlled it by the right leading hand. Over time an unsuitable lever was replaced by a steering wheel. Drivers had to sit right behind it, and hold onto it with two hands. But to which side was it better to move a steering wheel? At first the steering wheel was put closer to the edge of the road — the right side for right-hand traffic and the left side for left-hand traffic — so it was easier for the driver to get out of the car.

  1. But more and more cars appeared, and the attention of drivers switched to oncoming and overtaking cars;
  2. Therefore the steering wheel was moved again;
  3. The first model with the left steering wheel and the correct driver’s seat was the 1908 Ford T;

Europeans who produced affordable cars also switched to left-hand driving, but manufacturers of high-speed cars kept the rule of right-hand driving. According to another assumption, left-side driving is convenient since drivers do not exit onto a roadway, but safely exit to a sidewalk.

  1. In the 1920s, the driver’s seat on the vast majority of cars was located on the side of oncoming traffic;
  2. Gradually the right-hand traffic was adopted in most countries: Belgium introduced it in 1899, Portugal in 1928, Spain in 1930, and Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938;
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The kingdom of Sweden — not until 1967. It became the last state in continental Europe where left-hand traffic persisted. This created a lot of inconvenience when crossing the Sweden border, especially in rural areas where borders were often not designated.

  • Besides, all cars in Sweden were made as left-hand drive;
  • Makers refused to manufacture right-hand drive vehicles for such a small market;
  • It is noteworthy that most of Swedish people were happy with this;

In the 1955 referendum, 83% of Swedes spoke in favor of keeping everything as is. Only eight years later the Swedish parliament, without asking its citizens, adopted the right-hand traffic from 5:00 a. on September 3, 1967 (day “N”). As a result, all the cars just moved to the other side of the road and began to drive by the new rules.

In the first month the accident rate dropped almost to zero — drivers were extremely careful. But then the number of road accidents returned to its previous level. Next year, in 1968, inspired by the example of Sweden, Iceland conducted a similar operation under the same name.

Today there are only four countries in Europe with left-hand traffic: the UK, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. States that do not want to adjust themselves to match their neighbors apply different formats of traffic on their borders. On major highways they have to build pretty fanciful interchanges. Spain Drive On Left Or Right There are several exceptions. In Ukraine’s Odessa and Russian’s St. Petersburg there are streets with left-hand traffic, which are designed to unload streets from a large number of cars. In the center of Europe, in Paris, on the Avenue of General Lemonnier (the only street) drivers also adhere to the left-hand traffic.

  1. In most cases entry into a left-hand driving country in a right-hand car (and vice versa) is legal;
  2. It’s much harder for a “wrong” car to get registered;
  3. Left-hand cars are simply forbidden in Australia;
  4. Those who import them must spend money on re-equipment;

In New Zealand you need to get a special permit. In Slovakia and Lithuania right-hand drive vehicles cannot be registered at all. In the eastern part of Russia right-hand drive vehicles are very popular, despite that it is a right-hand traffic country. This happened due to the very cheap importation of used cars from Japan in the 1990s and 2000s.

  1. However, in the European part of Russia 99% of cars are with left-hand drive, valid for right-hand traffic;
  2. The main rule of right-hand traffic is the need to hold on to the right side, and the left-hand — to the left;

Of course, for right-handers it is initially quite difficult to switch to left-hand traffic, but it is worth it to try and everything quickly falls into place. Speaking about the merits and demerits of left-hand traffic, it is impossible to exclude the design features of a car because the safety of a driver and their passengers depends on them.

There are several advantages of “wrong-side drive” vehicles. Right-hand drive vehicles, even though they are designed for left-hand traffic, are also operated in right-hand countries. Moreover, it is considered safe because an impact is on the left side when a collision occurs, and the driver will not be injured.

Right-hand drive cars are rarely hijacked (in countries with right-hand traffic), as many consider them uncomfortable and non-functional. The driver’s unaccustomed point of view from the right side makes it possible to assess a situation on a road from a different angle, which can lead to a reduction of unforeseen situations.

  • The main disadvantage is inconvenient overtaking;
  • This problem can be solved by installing a well thought out mirror system;
  • In general, the only drawback of the left-hand traffic is its rareness;
  • To date, more than 66% of mankind adhere to right-hand traffic, and switching to left-hand creates a number of inconveniences;

Moreover, only 28% of the world’s roads are left-sided. Spain Drive On Left Or Right There are no cardinal differences between left-hand traffic and right-hand traffic. Everything happens in a mirror image, which makes drivers get confused during their first time. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to apply for an international driving license. It will help you drive your way across the world confidently, regardless of right or left side of the road. .

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Which European countries do you drive on the left?

It’s a question that arises surprisingly often among travellers, especially those considering renting a car. Which countries drive on the right and which drive on the left? Approximately two-thirds of the global population drive on the right side of the street.

All in all, 163 countries and territories have right-hand drive traffic while vehicles use the left-side in 76 countries. The bulk of countries that drive on the left are former British colonies including South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Only four countries in Europe still drive on the left and they are all islands. They consist of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. Description This chart shows countries by left and right-hand traffic in 2020. Report URL to be used as reference link :.

Why is the UK right hand drive?

Today, about two thirds of the world drive on the right and a third on the left, but how did it come to pass? And why is the UK in the minority? VCARS found out… Historical precedent In 1998, archaeologists found a track leading to a Roman quarry near Swindon.

  1. The grooves in the left side of the road going away from the quarry were much deeper than the right;
  2. Archaeologist surmised that, since carts would exit the quarry heavy, and enter it empty, that Romans drove on the left;

A little more recently, historians suggest that it was the advent of horse travel that really cemented left-hand driving on our green and pleasant isle. As more people are right-handed, horseman would have been able to hold the reins with his left hand and keep his right hand free – to offer a hand of friendship or draw a sword.

While that remained little more than a custom, the first ‘keep left’ legal reference in Britain arrived in the early 18th Century. In a fore-runner to the congestion charge, those travelling over London Bridge were order to keep left, disobeying the order incurred a 20 shilling penalty.

Right On The move from left to right took place in the US due to wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. Wagons had no driver’s seat, so a postilion (rider) sat on the left rear horse. This seating position was to allow the rider to hold his whip in his right hand.

  1. The left-seated position meant that he could also more easily judge passing wagons;
  2. He could be sure to keep clear of the wheels of oncoming wagons and avoid damaging his horses – he did that by passing on the right hand side;

Steering wheel placement Moving forward some two hundred years, the placement of the steering wheel is conventionally opposite to the ‘rule of the road’ – left hand driving countries used right hand driver vehicles and vice versa. This convention is so that a driver’s ‘line of sight’ is as long as possible down the road – important for overtaking.

  • However, there are countries where this is not the case;
  • Right Hand Traffic countries Afghanistan, Burma and the Russian Far East permit both left and right hand drive vehicles;
  • In Africa, Asia and South America some countries have borders where drivers must change to the other side of the road – most notably Thailand (a left hand driving country surrounded by right hand driving neighbours);

Why anyone would ever want to leave Thailand is beyond us. Left Hand countries deliver safer driving A 1969 study showed that left hand traffic countries like the UK have a lower collision rate than the right hand traffic systems. It has been suggested that this is partly due to humans being more right-eye than left-eye dominant.

In left-hand traffic systems, the better-perfoming right eye is used to monitor oncoming traffic and the driver’s wing mirror. In right-hand traffic, the weaker left eye takes over. Plus, left-sided driving is safer for the elderly due to their failing visual abilities.

AND, on left hand driving cars, the largely dominant right hand stays on the steering wheels while the left changes gears, tunes in the radio and unwraps sweets. Now to you know.