The Spanish Highway CodeLife in Spain Tue, 11 Nov 2014
It might not always seem like it when you’re on the roads in Spain, but there is a very comprehensive Spanish highway code. The Código de Tráfico y Seguridad Vial was last modified on 22nd May 2014 (download here).
It consists of 941 pages and 385 articles. So it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to read it cover to cover. If you don’t speak Spanish you are, of course, even less likely to. There is everything in there from the detailed specifications of the ‘Transporte escolar’ sign to the usual explanations of warning and information signs.
However, if you do feel inclined, all the small print is there and, with a little help from google translate and a few hours spare, you might manage to decipher some important points. For example:
the section on seatbelts and constraints is quite useful for those struggling to understand what the legal requirements are (p.102). However, it is probably still easier to read Lisa Seidler’s article, 'Car Seats in Spain: Understanding the Law'.
If you prefer to have pictures with your reading material you would probably find the section on p.157 more interesting. If nothing else, these examples of road signs in Spain could usefully be employed in a general knowledge quiz.
However, rather than wading through this document, most people prefer to check with an expert in driving in Spain. For example, Graham Shelton of Spanish Number Plates, writes a weekly column in the Costa Blanca News and frequently tackles the questions that are of most concern to the expat population.
In one of his latest article in CBN he tackled some frequently asked questions.
Frequently asked questions
1. How do you circulate at roundabouts in Spain?
The roundabout should be treated as if the road were straight and the left hand lane should only be used for overtaking.
2. How many points am I allowed on my driving licence?
In Spain you start off with 12 points and then ‘lose’ points when an offence is committed. If you get as far down as zero then that means that you lose your licence.
3. How might I receive a fine?
You can receive a fine either directly from the police officer or through the post.
4. Is it true that I can’t wear flip flops when driving?
The issue of wearing flip-flops in the summer does crop up. The requirement is that footwear is light and flexible and ‘bound to the feet’. This is why flip flops have been ruled out as driving footwear.
5. What should I keep in the car?
Being stopped by the police and not having the correct documents in Spain is a worry for many foreigners.
The documentation you must have includes:
- Car registration document
- ITV card (MOT certificate equivalent)
- Proof of payment of road tax
- Insurance documents
- Your driving licence – must be carried with you
Other items you must carry include:
- Two warning triangles
- A minimum of two hi-viz jackets (enough so that every passenger has one)
Thanks to Graham Shelton for these questions and answers. You might not want to read through the Spanish Highway Code but, as he will also advise you, when it comes to driving do make sure that you take professional advice and don’t rely on the bar room gossip.
Information published in the Costa Blanca News October 31st to November 6th ‘Highway Code in English’ by Graham Shelton.