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Driving in Spain: Rules and tips for the road

Thinking about hiring a car on your next holiday to Spain? Whether you're planning an epic drive across Europe or a road trip through the Pyrenees, head out on the highway armed with these tips and essential driving rules for driving in Spain and it'll be calm cruising the whole holiday.

Firstly, it’s probably wise to know what the speed limits are before you get behind the wheel…

Speed Limits in Spain

Type of road Speed limit
Motorways / Dual carriageways 120km / hr
Country Roads 90km / hr*
In town 50km / hr
*Can legally overtake at 110km / h

Tips and rules for driving in Spain

1. Watch out for blue and white curbs

These road markings are the equivalent of double yellow lines in the UK and mean that you’re not allowed to park, though you can wait briefly if it is safe to do so.

Parking rules in Spain

2. No mobile phones in the driver’s seat – even when parked

Don’t drive in Spain with a mobile phone anywhere near you. It is against the law to use a phone behind the wheel, even if parked on the road. Sit in the passenger seat or leave the vehicle to make a call. Or text. Or send that funny tweet you’ve been thinking up all morning.

No mobile phones while driving in Spain

3. Keep your spare glasses handy

You’ll be familiar with this rule if you’ve already had experience of driving in Europe: drivers who wear glasses need to carry a spare pair in the car. The spare pair rule is an easy one to remember (and not just because it rhymes).

Always carry spare glasses in Spain

4. Radar detectors are banned

If you have one of these high-tech devices to detect speed cameras, don’t bring it with you on your drive to Spain. It can result in a huge fine. Probably best to just, you know, not speed.

5. Flashing headlights doesn’t mean you can go

In Spain, driving etiquette is somewhat different to the UK. If someone flashes their headlights, they’re warning you that they’re about to overtake, not letting you go into the gap in front of them, as is usually the case in the UK.

Cars at night in Spain

6. If in doubt, don’t have a drink

The alcohol limit whilst driving in Spain is 0.5mg per millilitre of blood and 0.3mg for new drivers who’ve held their license for less than two years – much less than the UK’s limit of 0.8mg. The number of drinks this equates to really depends on the strength, your size and whether you drink with a meal. The safest way is just to avoid alcohol completely if you’ve brought the car. Plus, let’s not forget – bar staff free pour in Spain.

7. Don’t drive in flip flops!

Not that many people would opt for such a precarious driving shoe, but Spanish police have been known to fine people for driving in Spain whilst wearing sandals or flip flops in some holiday resorts.

Feeling up to speed? Check out these cheap car hire deals…

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*Published July 2017. Whilst information was correct at the time of publication, we’d recommend that you check the details.

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