Car on the road

What documentation is required to drive in Spain?

You must be 18 year old:

To drive in Spain you must be aged 18 or over. To rent a vehicle you must be 21 or over. Many companies also require you to have held your driver’s license for a minimum of one or two years. Remember that you will also require a credit card to rent a vehicle.

Given that conditions may vary, we suggest that you contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulate to verify these requirements before you start your trip.


What are the safety measures you should know about in Spain?

Road safety regulations: there are a series of road safety regulations you must be aware of when driving in Spain. They are as follows: - Talking on a mobile phone is prohibited while driving, unless you use a hands-free system. - Car radios and mobile phones must be switched off while re-fuelling. - A reflective jacket must be used when getting out of the car on the road or the hard shoulder. - Warning triangles must be deployed if the vehicle has stopped on the road or hard shoulder. - The installation and use of devices designed to elude surveillance by traffic police is strictly prohibited. - Overtaking can only be done on the left side of the car which you wish to pass. - It is advisable to use your lights during the day in order to improve your visibility. Furthermore: - Established speed limits must be obeyed: 120 km/h on dual carriageways and motorways, 100 km/h on conventional roads, 90 km/h on all other roads and 50 km/h in built-up areas. - Alcohol levels in the bloodstream must not exceed 0.5 g/l (0.25 mg/l in exhaled air). - Seatbelts must be worn by driver and all passengers, in front and back seats. - Helmets must be worn on motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles. - Parking in public thoroughfares is not always permitted or free. In many cities the parking areas are regulated and subject to payment. Normally these can be identified by the presence of parking meters in the vicinity.


Do you want to use your car in Spain?

The following is a summary of Spanish traffic regulations intended as guidance only. Clarification, confirmation and further information on these or any other aspects of traffic laws must be sought from the Spanish traffic authorities at the address below. Subdirección General de Normativa. Josefa Valcarcel 28 28071 Madrid; Tel. (0034 91) 714 3211 /06/08/16, Fax.(0034 91) 7143214;; E-mail: ACCIDENTS When possible, road users involved in an accident should assess the situation and the priority measures to take in order to guaranty traffic safety without destroying forensic evidence, provided that this does not jeopardise the safety of the victims or the traffic. They should attend to the injured, request the assistance of the rescue services and try to move it to the hard shoulder or lay-by. Adequately mark the presence of their vehicle on the road by placing two warning triangles one 50 metres in front of the car and another 50 metres behind, so that they are visible to approaching drivers from at least 100 metres. Those witnessing an accident are obliged to tend to the victims and seek the attendance of the emergency services. Casualties that are clearly not serious need not be reported to the authorities or their agents. SOS telephone posts are normally available on motorways only, in all other roads presence of traffic police is high. In any case, the assistance of other drivers should also be sought. In the event of an accident you should call 112 and in case of assault or criminal offence on the road, it may be reported in English by calling the police on 902 102 112. Should the need for counselling arise, drivers are advised to contact their consulate in the area. BREAKDOWNS The towing of a vehicle immobilised by an accident or breakdown, may only be towed away by a breakdown vehicle. Exceptionally, towing of the vehicle by another car may be allowed, though never on motorways or dual carriage roads, to move it to the nearest safe place for the traffic only, provided that safety in the operation is guaranteed. Again, expediency in obtaining the assistance of the breakdown services is necessary and this should be done by means of the SOS roadside telephones, the traffic police or other drivers. Assistance in case of breakdowns may be sought from the Spanish Royal Automobile Club, Eloy Gonzalo 32, 28010 Madrid. Tel. (0034 91) 5947 400. Fax (0034) 902100493 CREDIT CARDS Credit cards are widely accepted at service stations and toll-motorways, however drivers must also be prepared to pay cash, in Euros CHILDREN Children under twelve may not travel in the front seats unless fitted with a regulation restrain system. In the rear seat, children over 3 but under 150cms in height are required to use an approved safety system appropriate for their size and weight. If this is not available, they must use the mandatory adult safety device fitted. Children under 3, travelling in the rear seat, will use a validated safety system appropriate to their size and weight. Car hire companies are normally able to supply the above on request. Rental companies should be contacted directly prior to booking in order to check availability and charges for the service. When travelling by taxi, the use of infants’ seats is not required within the city but they are compulsory when travelling outside urban areas, in which case, responsibility to supply the seat lays with the parents, not the taxi driver. Children under 2, attended by an adult other than the driver, so long as they do not occupy a seat, are not counted when considering the official capacity of a vehicle. Children between 2 and 12 count as half a place but only a maximum of 50% of the vehicle’s capacity can be allocated in this way. As a general rule, children under 12 are not allowed to travel as passengers on motorcycles, with or without sidecar.DOCUMENTATION AND INSURANCEAt all times when driving in Spain, it is compulsory to carry the driving licence, the log book of the vehicle and third party insurance. Third party insurance is compulsory in Spain. Travellers are advised to check with their insurers the terms of cover under their policy when driving in Spain. DRINKING AND DRIVING The limit on drinking for motorcycle drivers and cycle riders is 0.5gs. per lt. (0.3 grams for professionals and new drivers) . It is compulsory for all drivers to submit to alcohol tests when so requested by the authorities. In the same way, those under the effect of drugs that may impair their faculties, either physical or mental, are banned from driving. Drivers are also expected to submit to the official test when requested. Failure to comply is considered a serious offence, will result in the immobilisation of the vehicle by the traffic police, payment of the resulting expenses and may lead to the withdrawal of the driving licence and imprisonment. DRIVING LICENCES British citizens NOT in possession of a licence that conforms to the EU three part printed pink document will require an international driving licence when driving in Spain. Non British citizens need to contact the Spanish Consulate in London for advice on driving licences. No person under 14 may ride a motorcycle. 14 year olds may ride motorcycles up to 50cc (or 45 kms maximum). 16 is the minimum age to ride machines 50 to 125 cc and 18 for over 125cc. A permit is required in all cases. EQUIPMENT It is required that drivers carry two warning triangles, a complete set of spare bulbs, fuses and spare wheel as well as the appropriate tools to replace them. As for fuel, whilst it is against the law to carry spare fuel, drivers would be made responsible, and fined accordingly, should their cars be immobilised on the road for shortage of petrol. All drivers are required to wear a reflecting jacket of high visibility when getting off their vehicle in intercity roads. FINES Because of the high incidence of road accidents, fines for traffic offences are strictly enforced. Non resident offenders are issued on the spot fines with a 30% discount. Complaints regarding traffic fines should be referred to the provincial traffic office where the fine was issued, as shown in the ticket. Serious offences carry a penalty of between 302 and 602 Euros. HIGHWAY CODE The Spanish Highway Code complies with EU regulations. This Office has no knowledge of the availability of the same in this country. Neither do we have any records of the possible existence of an English version. Further details on the Spanish Highway Code may be sought from the Dirección General de Tráfico at the address shown below. LIGHTING Sidelights have to be used between sunset and sunrise, as well as in tunnels. Headlights should be used outside built up areas, where there is no street lighting and at all times in tunnels insufficiently lit (this is sign posted). Dipped headlights, as well as sidelights, should be used at night in built-up areas or well lit roads and tunnels. Headlights should be dipped whenever necessary in order to avoid blinding other drivers. During day time, dipped head lights -except motorcycles that should have them on throughout the day- are to be used only when driving on a reversible lane or on a lane exceptionally allocated to traffic in the opposite direction to its normal use. In case of poor visibility, use your head lights (dipped or not) or the front fog lamps, or both combined. Rear fog lamps may only be used when visibility is seriously restricted. MOBILE PHONES The use of mobile phones and any other communication apparatus is forbidden at all times when driving except hands free systems that do not require the use of ear pieces, helmets or similar instruments. PETROL Petrol prices vary continuously and from supplier to supplier but as a general rule are considerably cheaper than in the U.K. LPG Gas is only dispensed for vehicles offering a public service both national and international. There are no petrol concessions for tourists. SEAT BELTS The use of seat-belts is compulsory for the driver and all passengers except when parking or reversing. Also excluded are pregnant women, disabled passengers or any one suffering from a grave medical condition. In these cases, a medical certificate in Spanish or an official translation if the certificate has been issued in any of the EU member states must be carried at all times when in motion. Failure to comply is considered a serious offence ROAD INFORMATION Details on best routes, road works, etc. are not available from this Office. Within Spain, TELE RUTA, free phone no. 900 123505 offers a recorded road information service in Spanish. For advance information on road works schedules the Ministry for Public Works may be contacted at the following address: Ministerio de Fomento, Nuevos Ministerios, Paseo de la Castellana 67, 28071 Madrid. Tel. (0034 91) 597 7000. Fax. (0034 91) 5978547. CAMPSA web page includes a tool to assist planning road routes throughout Spain at SPEED LIMITS (for cars and motorbikes). •Motorways: 120 kms/hour (90 or 80 for motor caravans and vehicles with trailer, depending on the weight of this). •Dual carriage roads or with overtaking lanes: 100 Kms/h (80 for motor caravans and vehicles with trailers). •Other roads outside built-up areas: 90 Kms/h (70 for motor caravans and vehicles with trailer). •Towns and built-up areas: 50 Kms/h. Failure to comply is considered a serious offence TOWING Under the Spanish Highway code, the towing of motor vehicles is not permitted. However, a motor vehicle may be towed by another provided that the towed vehicle is on a trailer that complies with EU Directives 70/156/CEE and 94/20/CEE or is accredited to be in compliance with British Standards and provided that the length of the convoy does not exceed 18.75mts (16. 50 if the tractor vehicle is a semi trailer). The towing of trailers by motorcycles is subject to the following restrictions: the mass of the trailer is not over 50% of that of the tractor vehicle, circulation must be during day time and in good conditions of visibility, speeds are reduced by 10% of those permitted and no person is allowed to travel in the trailer. The transport of two wheeled bicycles and motorcycles on racks fixed on the top of the vehicle is allowed. The use of a rack secured to the back of a vehicle is allowed provided that the device does not restrict or hinder in any way the vehicle’s lighting and signalling systems, nor affect the visibility of the registration plate or rest on the trailer’s mechanism. The load may not protrude more than 10% of the length of the vehicle (15% if the load is rigid) and a plaque warning of the protruding load must be displayed at the furthest point of the load. When the load protrudes along the entire width of the vehicle, two warning plaques, placed at each end of the load, are required. The load will also be marked by a red light when travelling in the dark or conditions of poor visibility.