By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 30 July 2022 • 12:15
Breakdown - Image AlpakaVideo/Shutterstock.com
So not only should you make sure your car is roadworthy and legal, so you too should make sure that you are legal to drive. That may mean handing your keys over to someone else if you have had a drink.
Although the police may be lenient from time to time, drink driving is illegal and could see your car impounded and you issued with a fine.
Public transport in Spain is good, affordable and reliable so use it. Alternatively, if you are going to drink get someone else to drive or better still pick somewhere local and walk – it could save your life and that of others.
Authorities in Spain have been cracking down on traffic offences as the country seeks to reduce the accident rate and the death toll, and that includes checking on foreign drivers and foreign registered vehicles.
British drivers are particularly targeted for checks following Brexit, with many local British residents having failed to exchange their licences for a Spanish one. It is therefore quite possible that you will be fined unfairly given the language barriers, so it is even more important to make sure that you and your vehicle are 100 per cent legal.
All drivers in Spain are required to keep their registration papers, insurance policy and roadworthy certificate in the car with them at all times. Aside from the fact that you could be fined for not having these with you, they are a great way of proving that you are in fact a tourist and are not resident in Spain.
Having that documentation to hand is also important should you be involved in an accident with Spanish drivers’ traditional swapping details at the scene, including a description of the incident that is signed by both parties. It is always important that you retain a copy of this whether in hard copy or as a photograph.
In Spain you are required to:
Spanish authorities also advise that you keep a torchlight and medical kit in the car, however, they are not compulsory.
Making sure your vehicle is roadworthy before heading off could also save you a lot of trouble, both from the police but also from breaking down.
The law in Spain allows for a car’s length to be extended up to ten per cent if carrying a load and 15 per cent if carrying bicycles.
Two rules must be adhered to:
In Spain, it is illegal to obstruct the rearview of your car.
Cars that DGT officers or the police deemed to be unsafely packed could be impounded and drivers can be fined.
Dashcams are legal in Spain, but their use is restricted.
Under no circumstances can the footage from the dashcam be used publicly i.e. posted online as that contravenes privacy laws in Spain.
Speed limits have been reduced in Spain and the police are imposing these more rigorously including through the use of helicopters, drones and multiple camera arrays. They are also using a limited number of unmarked vehicles to check speed.
Environmental zones now exist in most large cities, but to make use of them your car needs to display the correct sticker. These are available for a small fee from Correos (the post office) on the presentation of the car’s papers. Unlike London, most modern cars may be used in these zones.
Most cities and towns have free parking usually demarcated by white lines. Coloured lines on the road mean parking is either restricted or paid, with payment in cash or via an app. If you do receive a parking fine it can be paid at the meter in the same way.
Roundabouts are considered a continuation of the road so stay in the right-hand lane unless overtaking others. When you leave the roundabout you have to be in the outside lane as you would if turning right on a normal road.
If you are headed to Spain by car, take it easy, take breaks and stay safe. And if in doubt visit www.dgt.es or www.n332.es for more information and advice.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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