Driving in Spain
Motoring in Spain by Brian J Deller. If you wish to see as much as possible of Spain then having your own car is certainly the best method of transport, even if it may take you a couple of days to feel confident about driving on the opposite side of the road. As an EU citizen and a tourist, to drive a foreign registered vehicle in Spain you must have with you, and you can be fined for not obeying the following: - your passport, current until after your return home. Current driving licence Two EU approved, red warning triangles. Approved reflective jackets that must be worn by all outside the car at anytime, day or night, outside the vehicle at the side of any highway not in an urban (street lights?) area. The jackets must be kept inside the car so they can be put on before A set of spare lamps/bulbs for your car and the tool/s to change them. If you wear corrective glasses for driving, a spare pair. Your number plate should be an EU one with the ring of stars containing your country code, or a small plate/sticker with your country code (GB, etc) should secured to the rear of the car. Valid insurance. All vehicle documents relating to the car (legally certified copies are OK). Recommended, but not mandatory is a First Aid kit and a fire extinguisher. The roads in Spain vary from very poor to very good, the latter especially since Spain joined the EU and has benefited from the funding from other countries over the last 20 years. The main connecting roads are generally excellent. Roads are classified thus, and they can be easily clarified on a road map. Autopista (motorway) - A or E - prefix to road number: these can be toll roads (peajes). Maximum speed 120 kph (73 mph). Autovia Carretera Nacional - N or CN - prefix to road number, main roads. 100 to 60 kph. Carretera Comarcal - C - prefix, country roads. 100 to 80 kph. Carretera Please note that the speeds are somewhat less for various classes of vehicles including towed trailers/caravans.
A few basic rules
The traffic-lights (semaforas) in Spain are more often than not, situated only at your stop line Parking If you park illegally, especially in a foreign car, you will almost certainly become a victim of the 'grua You will note however, despite all this advice, the Spanish will park wherever their car happens to come to a halt, even on crossings, pavements and roundabouts, but the new 2005 Laws now mean that penalty points can be given to parking transgressors. Fines not allowed Seatbelts unofficially.
Speed limits (general) Autopistas/autovias: 120kph Dual Carriageways: 100kph Country roads: 90kph Urban roads: 50kph Residential areas as signed or if no pavements: 20kph.
Toll / Peaje Roads
Spain has over 2,000 km of toll roads and more are planned. They are of excellent standard and all have service stations with cafes of an acceptable standard every 40km or so. The tolls are expensive, especially in summer when the rates are doubled and are usually calculated per km. Some toll roads, for long distance travelling allow you to collect a ticket at the start and then pay the total when you exit the road. They do however mean that you can drive relaxed and safer over long distances as the locals usually avoid them. As you approach the peaje (toll booth), you will be confronted with several lanes. The telepago lane is for cars fitted with a special chip on the windscreen. Automatico is for paying by credit card or the exact change and the manual has an attendant who collects your fee. All useable lanes will have a green arrow, un-usable lanes display a red cross.
Fuel - Gasolina and Gasoleo (Petrol and Diesel) Normal, unleaded: 95 Octane Super, unleaded: 98 Octane Lead replacement: 97 Octane Diesel, standard and higher quality.
Driving Regulations & Laws
Mobile telephones Losing your licence If you are stopped by the police or interviewed at the scene of an accident and you are showing signs of being incapable of driving the vehicle for any reason, the police are empowered to immediately take away your driving licence and you could lose it if found in breach of the Law. There are laws affecting penalty points that are different (more restrictive) for new drivers. The Spanish government is determined to reduce the high accident rates on the roads. Motor Cyclists.
The above, expanded and much more, is contained in the book, MOTORING IN SPAIN, by Brian J Deller. Written in English and published in April 2004, the book has 144 pages with information for visitors as well as anyone who lives in Spain. Included are the road signs in Spain (there are about 4 times as many as the UK), and translations for use at the road side or when visiting the garage, as well as much general info to make your visit or new motoring life in Spain safer and less stressful. It is supported by a web site to update it. The book, ISBN No. 84 607 9617 5 is available from most English book shops in Spain on the Costas, or from major book shops in the UK, including such asAmazon.co.uk,and through idealspain.com
More details are at: - www.spainvia.com/motoringinspain.htm
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