Drivers: Understanding Guardia Civil’s flag signals

Understanding flag signals on Spanish roads

Image of Guardia Civil traffic officer. Credit:

From time to time, drivers in Spain may encounter a Guardia Civil traffic officer signalling with coloured flags.

Although the practice is quite rare, it is still one of the methods used by authorities charged with exercising traffic regulations.

Although it may seem obvious it is important that drivers are aware of this method, as understanding the instruction behind each flag colour is crucial to safe driving.

Colour codes on the road

Grasping the meaning behind the colours—green, red, and yellow—is essential. Not heeding these signs might not only endanger lives but could also result in fines of up to €200 and the loss of up to four points on your driving licence, as ignoring them is considered a serious offence.

Yellow: Caution

The yellow flag, similar to amber in traffic lights, advises extreme caution. It suggests while it is permissible to continue, there could be potential hazards ahead on the road, Hence drivers should proceed carefully.

Green: Go

A green flag signals that traffic can proceed. This is usually after an incident has been cleared, allowing drivers to continue on their journey without hindrance.

Red: Stop

When a red flag is displayed, it means access is barred and drivers are required to bring their vehicle to a halt. This could be due to an ongoing incident, such as an accident or a breakdown that requires immediate attention from rescue teams.

Understanding these flag signals is the same as recognising traffic light signals. Green grants passage, red halts traffic, and yellow calls for caution. This colour system simplifies the identification of potential dangers on the road.

By adhering to these signals, drivers can avoid not only legal penalties but also protect their lives and those of others. It’s a straightforward yet effective way to enhance road safety.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Dirk Vos

      21 March 2024 • 09:46

      Hello John,
      when I came to Spain in 1980 there was a system in force that when you where sounding your horn and were holding a white cloth out of the window when driving a car you had the same rights as an ambulance. It would be interesting to know if these rules are still valid?

    • Andi Markos

      21 March 2024 • 21:47

      About 12 years ago l had some short MF copper in Gandesa tell me “if you don’t know what I am saying in Spanish l will fine you 200 euros”, I have many more idiotic things I can tell about the Spanish police, when people ask about what happened to the UK I can tell then that the same applies to Spain, it’s the people.

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