What Side Do They Drive On In Spain?
- Víctormanuel Paz
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.
What countries drive on the left?
Is it hard to drive in Spain?
Driving in Spain can be a dream or a nightmare depending on where you are. On the plus side the quality of major roads all over the country is quite outstanding and there seems no end to the number of new motorways which not only connect major cities but also link relatively unknown parts of the country. On the negative side there is a lot of erratic driving particularly in urban areas: jumping red lights is a national pastime so don’t brake suddenly as a light is turning to red as the car behind you intends getting through that light; indicators seem to be optional extras on Spanish cars and are rarely used; few drivers seem to have any idea how to use a roundabout so be particularly careful when using them and never expect to be allowed into a lane by another driver as this somehow seems to be considered a sign of weakness! Having worked in Madrid city centre for quite a few years I learned to drive like a Madrileño when required. The key to such driving was to never hesitate. If there’s a space in the traffic go for it, aggressive driving felt a lot safer than defensive driving. In such a city you also learn to drive in restricted areas with four other cars within a very small distance of your vehicle.
It’s quite incredible to learn that a country of Spain’s modest size has over 16,000km of top class highways making it the world’s 5th largest motorway network after huge countries such as the USA, Canada, China and Russia.
Without adapting your driving mentality it would be very difficult to cope with the fast, inner city roads of Madrid. The good news for visitors is that you can easily avoid the worst of Madrid’s traffic thanks to the excellent motorways such as the M50 which circle the capital from a distance.
Can Americans drive in Spain?
Requirements For Americans Driving In Spain Expat Tips Published: 24 June 2019 14:13 CET Updated: 28 July 2022 14:13 CET If you are from the United States and are moving to Spain to work, study or even for a vacation, there’s a good chance that you will want to drive a motor vehicle during your time here. When it comes to driving laws and documentation requirements, Spain is no different from the United States and most other countries. American Driving Licenses and Spain The Spanish as in the U. can be quite strict when it comes to having the correct documentation.
If you are an American driving in Spain, you will need to carry both your valid U. driving license, plus an International Driving Permit (IDP). The International Driving Permit is a separate document that translates your driving license into 10 different languages.
It is recognized in over 150 different countries worldwide and allows any foreign authorities to be able to easily interpret your driver’s license in their native tongue. The IDP makes life a lot easier when driving in a foreign country, especially in non-English speaking countries, so is well worth the relatively small investment.
Many car hire companies in Spain may also insist on the presentation of an IDP along with your driver’s license. How to Get Your IDP (International Driving Permit) An IDP can be easily obtained for $20. 00 from your nearest American Automobile Association (AAA) office or online via their website here.
Once you have downloaded the IDP , you will need to complete it and either take it to your local AAA branch , or send it to the branch via post. Application for the IDP has to be made via post to the following address:- There are certain requirements and things you will need when applying for your IDP which you should be aware of. These include:-
- The fee of $20. 00
- The applicant must be over 18 years of age.
- Signed copies of the front and back of your current driving license.
- Two passport-sized photos (See application form for requirements)
- A completed IDP application form
Your current driving license will need to have at least 6 months of validity remaining beyond the issue of your IDP. Please note that the IDP is only valid for 12 months, at which time it must be renewed. The IDP can be renewed from overseas, but your driver’s license must be valid for at least six months from issue. You will also need to allow up to 15 business days for delivery of your new IDP.
Traffic Citations and Your American Driver’s License If you do get a traffic citation while in Spain, it’s important to note that this is placed against your driver’s license and not the IDP document. Any citations incurred in a foreign country only apply to that country, as the various states’ Departments of Motor Vehicles are only able to access a national database.
There is no international traffic citations database at this time. Staying Long-Term in Spain Unfortunately, Spain and the United States do not have a reciprocal agreement on the validation of U. driver’s licenses. If you plan on staying in Spain long-term and becoming a resident here, you will need to take a Spanish driving test and obtain a Spanish driving license.
- You can read more about this on our Spanish Driving Licences page;
- Private Health Insurance in Spain If you will be living, working or studying here in Spain, we can provide you with a wide range of expat health insurance policies to cover your everyday health protection needs;
All of our policies are in English (or Spanish, depending on your requirements. ) and are underwritten by BUPA. You can get an instant quote here https://www. healthplanspain. com/sanitas/sanitas-health-plans. html.
Why do England drive on the left?
Have you ever wondered why the British drive on the left? There is an historical reason for this; it’s all to do with keeping your sword hand free! In the Middle Ages you never knew who you were going to meet when travelling on horseback. Most people are right-handed, so if a stranger passed by on the right of you, your right hand would be free to use your sword if required. (Similarly, medieval castle staircases spiral in a clockwise direction going upwards, so the defending soldiers would be able to stab down around the twist but those attacking (going up the stairs) would not.
- ) Indeed the ‘keep to the left’ rule goes back even further in time; archaeologists have discovered evidence suggesting that the Romans drove carts and wagons on the left, and it is known that Roman soldiers always marched on the left;
This ‘rule of the road’ was officially sanctioned in 1300 AD when Pope Boniface VIII declared that all pilgrims travelling to Rome should keep to the left. This continued until the late 1700s when large wagons became popular for transporting goods. These wagons were drawn by several pairs of horses and had no driver’s seat. Instead, in order to control the horses, the driver sat on the horse at the back left, thus keeping his whip hand free. Sitting on the left however made it difficult to judge the traffic coming the other way, as anyone who has driven a left-hand drive car along the winding lanes of Britain will agree! These huge wagons were best suited to the wide open spaces and large distances of Canada and the US, and the first keep-to-the-right law was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, with many Canadian and US states following suit later.
In France a decree of 1792 ordered traffic to keep to the “common” right and Napoleon later enforced the rule in all French territories. In Britain there wasn’t much call for these massive wagons and the smaller British vehicles had seats for the driver to sit on behind the horses.
As most people are right-handed, the driver would sit to the right of the seat so his whip hand was free. Traffic congestion in 18th century London led to a law being passed to make all traffic on London Bridge keep to the left in order to reduce collisions. There was a movement in the 20th century towards the harmonisation of road laws in Europe and a gradual shift began from driving on the left to the right. The last Europeans to change from left to right were the Swedes who bravely made the change overnight on Dagen H (H Day), September 3rd 1967. At 4. 50am all traffic in Sweden stopped for ten minutes before restarting, this time driving on the right. Today, only 35% of countries drive on the left.
This rule was incorporated into the Highway Act of 1835 and was adopted throughout the British Empire. These include India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and most recently, Samoa in 2009.
Most of these countries are islands but where land borders require a change from left to right, this is usually accomplished using traffic lights, cross-over bridges, one-way systems or similar.
When did UK start driving on the left?
The British custom of driving on the left side of the road isn’t a sign of eccentricity—there’s actually a very sensible reason for it. – One of the things you probably always wondered about is why we drive on a different side of the road than our British cousins.
- It might seem bizarre that U;
- drivers stay on the left, but they’re not the only ones;
- Around 35 percent of the world population does the same, including people in Ireland, Japan, and some Caribbean islands;
RELATED: The 5 Most Dangerous Countries to Drive In Originally, almost everybody traveled on the left side of the road, according to BBC America. However, their mode of transport was quite different from today: Think four legs instead of four wheels. For Medieval swordsmen on horseback, it made sense to keep to the left to have their right arms closer to their opponents.
- (Presumably, the 10 to 15 percent of left-handed knights just had to make it work;
- ) Mounting and dismounting were also easier from the left side of the horse, and safer done by the side of the road than in the center;
So perhaps the question here should be, why did people stop traveling on the left? Things changed in the late 1700s when large wagons pulled by several pairs of horses were used to transport farm products in France and the United States. In the absence of a driver’s seat inside the wagon, the driver sat on the rear left horse, with his right arm free to use his whip to keep the horses moving.
- Since he was sitting on the left, he wanted other wagons to pass on his left, so he kept to the right side of the road;
- RELATED: This Is Why Traffic Lights Are Red, Yellow, and Green The British Government refused to give up their left-hand driving ways, and in 1773 introduced the General Highways Act, which encouraged driving on the left;
This was later made law thanks to The Highway Act of 1835. Meanwhile post-revolution France, under their left-handed ruler Napoleon, embraced a permanent move to the right side of the road. Amidst all this driving confusion, the British and the French were yielding their power across the globe, and as part of their rapid colonization, they insisted that the countries they occupied drive on the same side of the road.
This explains why former British colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, and India drive on the left, while former French colonies like Algeria, Ivory Coast, and Senegal drive on the right. When Henry Ford unveiled his Model T in 1908, the driver’s seat was on the left, meaning that cars would have to drive on the right-hand side of the road to allow front and back passengers to exit the car onto the curb.
According to National Geographic , this influenced a change in many countries: Canada, Italy, and Spain changed to right-side driving in the 1920s and most of Eastern Europe followed suit in the 1930s. As recently as 1967 (and thanks to around $120 million from their government’s pocket) Swedish drivers began driving on the right. Sources :
- BBC America : Why Do the Brits Drive on the Left?
- History. com : Ford Motor Company Unveils the Model T
- National Geographic
Is left hand drive legal in UK?
Can I drive a left hand drive car in the UK? – Even though the vast majority of cars in the UK are right hand drive, It’s entirely legal to drive a left hand drive car in the UK. However, you do need to arrange insurance and ensure you’ve got all the necessary paperwork, such as your V5C. If you’ve imported the car you need to:
- Register it with the DVLA
- Register it with HMRC
- Get vehicle approval to drive it in the UK
How do you pay for petrol in Spain?
You go to the pump with the type of fuel you want, either gasoline or diesel. For gasoline there is the normal or the premium gas. Look at the number of the pump you want to use. Then enter the station office and give them the money for the pump number.
Can you drink alcohol and drive in Spain?
Self-Drive Motoring holidays in Spain. Tips on driving abroad in Spain. Motoring rules and regulations in Spain. Spanish motoring laws. – Autopista (motorway) and tunnel Tolls Distances from Channel Ports International Driving Permit Interactive Route Planner Relative Carbon Emissions Buy Road Maps of Spain Make sure you Drive Alive! Drive on the right!
- Be especially careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road.
- Take care when overtaking – allow more space between you and the car in front so you can see further down the road ahead.
- Spain has strict drink driving laws, only allowing 0. 5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood – stricter than the UK where the limit is 0. New drivers are effectively forbidden to drink and drive, with a very low 0. 1 mg/l limit.
- Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.
- When approaching a roundabout give way to traffic already on the roundabout, on your left, unless signed otherwise.
- Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent.
- Remember – Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines.
In all countries a full UK driving licence is required. As in the UK, seat belts should be worn front and rear. Below are motoring regulations relating to Spain. Beware in Spain. The law operating in Spain regarding the use of indicators on motorways is being strictly enforced. You risk being fined for not indicating before overtaking and again before pulling back to the nearside lane after overtaking.
Also, ensure you do not cross the solid white line as you enter the motorway from a slip road, but wait until the line is broken. NEW AND STRICTER TRAFFIC LAWS FROM MAY 9TH 2014 IN SPAIN 1. Speeding fines apply for exceeding the limit by just 1kph! On some motorways, the speed limit is being increased from 120kph to 130kph, but in many towns, the speed limit is being reduced from 30kph to 20kph.
If the Guardia Civil observe a motoring offence and note the vehicle registration number, this provides sufficient evidence to prosecute- no need for them to stop vehicles. A minimum fine of 1,000 Euros will be payable by drivers caught driving whilst double the drink drive limit or above; or in all cases for reoffending drink drivers; and drivers under the influence of drugs.
The Guardia Civil can seize any vehicle carrying children without legally compliant child seats. The very specific rules as to where children must sit in the vehicle (according to age/ height) must be observed, otherwise drivers face heavy fines.
Cyclists under 16 years of age must wear helmets. Drivers have much higher duties to ensure the safety of cyclists of all ages. Speed camera/ radar detectors are prohibited. An EU Directive is to be implemented so that driving offences committed in one EU country are reported to the EU country of registration of the vehicle in question.
- Much stricter rules are being implemented for the Spanish registration of foreign registered vehicles kept in Spain;
- An extra one we’ve been told about: don’t drive in flip-flops or open-backed sandals;
Not only is this dangerous but the police have been known to fine people for this, especially in holiday areas. TO FIND OUT MORE VISIT http://www. boe. es/diario_boe/txt. php?id=BOE-A-2014-3715 but it’s 21 pages in Spanish! Or contact http://legal4spain. com/new-spanish-traffic-laws-come-in-to-effect-on-9-may-2014/ for more help.
|Speed Limits||Motorway||Open Road||Town||Alcohol mg/ml|
|Spain||120 km/h||90 – 100 km/h||50 km/h||0. 5|
Bail Bond : a guarantee to be lodged with the police in the event of an accident or major traffic violation – no longer a legal requirement for Spain and most insurance companies have stopped issuing them. Children in cars : Children under 12 cannot travel in the front unless using a suitably adapted restraint system. In the rear, passengers under 135cm tall must use specially adapted safety devices and restraints. Documentation : always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance.
If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.
Drinking and driving : Don’t do it. Over 0. 05 per cent and you could face anything from a severe fine, withdrawal of your licence, up to imprisonment. Fines : On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.
- First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory;
- Fuel : All grades of unleaded petrol (benzin), diesel (gasoleo ‘A’) and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive;
- Leaded no longer exists;
- It is allowed to carry petrol in a can;
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won’t work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours and at lunch-time (from noon to 3pm) away from the Autoroutes. It’s a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad.
- This ensures they don’t suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure;
- GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker when driving in European Union countries;
Glasses (Spectacles): wearers must carry a spare pair in the car at all times. Headlamp converters are compulsory. Lights : dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times. Minimum age for driving , provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and for a motorcycle over 75cc.
- If you’ve got an old-style all-green licence you might find the police will not understand them, so either get them up-dated or take an International Driving Permit as well;
- Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets;
Motor insurance : third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip. Motorways are known as Autopista, and a toll motorway is autopista de peajes. Non motorway dual carriageways are Autovia. Replacement bulb set is recommended.
Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted. Snow chains are recommended to be carried in the Spanish Pyrenees and all mountainous regions of Spain during winter, and if you do not carry and fit them when conditions demand the police can prevent you continuing your journey.
Click for general information on winter tyres and snow chains. Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Spain. They are also compulsory in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway and Portugal and (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU). The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot.
- Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out;
- Do this and you will not have a problem;
- Warning triangle is compulsory;
One only is required for non-Spanish registered vehicles. Two required for Spanish vehicles, but to avoid difficulties with the police we recommend two triangles should be carried. BACK TO TOP All information on this page is provided as a service to our clients.
It is intended as a guide to the more important rules for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising from any inaccuracies.
If you find a mistake or would like to send us some additional information, please email us. Your co-operation is appreciated.
Is road trip in Spain safe?
Will you be driving in Spain? If the answer is yes, then continue reading. It won’t hurt to know more about the requirements and Spanish driving laws. Organizing a road trip is very easy. All you need is a rental car, a map and some free time. Spanish roads are safe and in good shape. Have a look at a complete guide on where to book your rental car online.
Is driving in southern Spain safe?
It is safe driving in Spain, but you need to be aware that in December you may encounter adverse weather conditions in some parts. It depends how long you have but you may find that using the train is a better option for some of the journey.