Driving in Spain - everything you need to know

  • What are the latest regulations for driving in Spain?
  • Check up before you leave the UK
  • Don’t get caught out! 
  • What are the latest regulations for driving in Spain?
  • Check up before you leave the UK
  • Don’t get caught out! 

If you’re planning a driving holiday in Spain, or if you’ve got to drive through the country for work, make sure you know all the rules and regulations that will cover your journey.

From knowing the blood alcohol levels, to how many warning triangles you need to carry in your car, remember that driving in Spain isn’t as straightforward as just popping to Tesco in your old reliable runaround.

Latest regulations for driving in Spain 

  • You cannot drive a car or ride a motorbike until the age of 18 in Spain, even if your own driving licence qualifies you at home.
  • Alcohol limits: The general limit for drivers of private vehicles and cyclists is 0.5g per litre. For drivers of commercial vehicles, and those with less than two years’ experience, the limit is 0.3g per litre. Both are lower than the UK limit of 0.8g per litre. After a traffic accident, all road users have to undergo a breath test.
  • Talking on your mobile phone is banned, as is using an earpiece, but you can use a completely hands-free kit.
  • Speed camera detection devices are banned

>> Test your knowledge - take our Driving Abroad Quiz!

In case of emergency while driving in Spain 

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. 

What to carry with you while driving in Spain

Warning triangle - driving in Spain

  • Full, valid driving licence
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of ownership (original V5C document, not a photocopy)
  • Reflective jackets – it’s not compulsory to carry them, but you must wear one if you have an accident and leave your car
  • Two red warning triangles
  • Spare wheel
  • Headlamp beam deflectors
  • A GB sticker
  • Safety helmets for motorcyclists and their passengers
  • Spare pair of glasses if you use them for driving

Driving on the right in Spain

Driving in Spain

Be confident, keep up with the traffic flow, and remain alert to making manoeuvres the opposite way around to usual.

Pay particular attention when overtaking, which will be on the left, especially on single carriageway roads where it might prove difficult to see around a slow-moving truck in your right-hand drive car. A front-seat passenger might be able to assist, but remember responsibility always remains with the driver.

Roundabouts can prove tricky the first few times you encounter them but before long it feels second nature. Remember to give way to traffic already on the roundabout.

Pollution restrictions in Madrid

When air pollution levels are high, there might be temporary restrictions on car usage in the city. When in force, only cars with a number plate ending in an even number are allowed to circulate on even dates, and cars with number plates ending in an odd number on odd dates. Restrictions apply within the city boundaries (within the M30 inner ring road) between 6:30am and 9pm.  For more information you can follow Madrid Town Hall on Facebook and Twitter.

Towing in Spain

If your camper van exceeds 12m in length, of if your car and caravan/trailer combination exceeds 12m, there must be one or two reflectors (either one long reflector, about 130x25cm, or two shorter 50x25 cm reflectors), yellow with red borders, at the rear of the camper van or caravan/trailer.

Penalties and on-the-spot fines

Driving in Spain

Police can issue on-the-spot fines, and as a visitor you must pay your fine immediately, unless you can nominate someone in Spain to pay the fine for you.

Cross-Border Enforcement means if you commit a speeding offence in Spain, or a number of EU countries, your licence details are available to the authorities in the country the offence was committed. So don’t assume that because you’re abroad, the authorities can’t access your details and chase you for a fine.

Take our Driving Abroad Quiz!

How much do you think you know about driving in Europe? Take our fun quiz to find out!

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