Driving Tips

Drive on the right!

  • Be especially careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road.

  • Take care when overtaking - allow more space between you and the car in front so you can see further down the road ahead.

  • Spain has strict drink driving laws, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood - stricter than the UK where the limit is 0.8. New drivers are effectively forbidden to drink and drive, with a very low 0.1 mg/l limit.

  • Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.

  • When approaching a roundabout give way to traffic already on the roundabout, on your left, unless signed otherwise.

  • Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent.

  • Remember - Speeding and other traffic offences are subject to on-the-spot fines.

In all countries a full UK driving licence is required. As in the UK, seat belts should be worn front and rear. Below are motoring regulations relating to Spain.

Beware in Spain

The law operating in Spain regarding the use of indicators on motorways is being strictly enforced. You risk being fined for not indicating before overtaking and again before pulling back to the nearside lane after overtaking. Also, ensure you do not cross the solid white line as you enter the motorway from a slip road, but wait until the line is broken.

Speed limitsMotorwayOpen RoadTownAlcohol mg/ml
Spain120 km/h90-100 km/h30-50 km/h0.5


Children in cars: Children under 12 cannot travel in the front unless using a suitably adapted restraint system. In the rear, passengers under 135cm tall must use specially adapted safety devices and restraints.  Click on "More Info" below for a summary of Child Seatbelt Laws.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything from a severe fine, withdrawal of your licence, up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol (benzine), diesel (gasoleo 'A') and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, although they probably won't work at automatic pumps, which are often the only pumps open out-of-hours and at lunch-time (from noon to 3pm) away from the Auto-routes. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker  when driving in European Union countries.

Glasses (Spectacles): wearers must carry a spare pair in the car at all times.

Headlamp converters are compulsory.

Lights: dipped headlights should be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 18 for a car and for a motorcycle over 75cc. If you've got an old-style all-green licence you might find the police will not understand them, so either get them up-dated or take an International Driving Permit as well.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Motorways are known as Autopista, and a toll motorway is autopista de peajes. Non motorway dual carriageways are Autovia.

Replacement bulb set is recommended.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Spain. They are also compulsory in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway and Portugal and (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU).  The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot. Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out. Do this and you will not have a problem.

Warning triangle is compulsory. One only is required for non-Spanish registered vehicles. Two required for Spanish vehicles, but to avoid difficulties with the police we recommend two triangles should be carried.

 Front seatRear seatWho is responsible?
DriverSeatbelt MUST be worn if available. Driver
Children under 3 years oldCorrect child restraint MUST be used.Correct child restraint MUST be used

If one is not available in a taxi, then the child may travel unrestrained in the rear
Children aged 3 and above, until they reach EITHER their 12th birthday OR 135cm in heightCorrect child restraint MUST be usedWhere seatbelts fitted, correct child restraint MUST be used

MUST use adult belt if the correct child restraint is not available in three scenarios:

- in a in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle ;
- for a short distance for reason of unexpected necessity;
- two occupied child restraints prevent fitment of a third.

In addition, a child 3 and over may travel unrestrained in the rear seat of a vehicle if seatbelts are not available
Child over 1.35 metres, or 12 to 13 yearsSeatbelt MUST be worn if availableSeatbelt MUST be worn if availableDriver
Adult passengers (ie 14 years and over)Seatbelt MUST be worn if availableSeatbelt MUST be worn if availablePassenger