Driving rules in Barcelona
- Motorway – 120 km/h
- Open Road – 90-100 km/h
- Town – 50 km/h
- Legal alcohol limit – mg/ml – 0.5
General Driving Rules:
Orientation: Drive on the right-hand side of the road and give way to vehicles on your left at a roundabout.
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.
Documentation: Always carry your driving license, 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 and you could face anything from a severe fine to instant loss of licence to imprisonment.
Fines: On the spot fines are issued. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.
A first-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.
Fuel: All grades of unleaded petrol (benzin), diesel (gasoleo ‘A’) and LPG are available as well as lead substitute additive. Leaded no longer exists. You´re permitted to carry petrol in a can.
Glasses (Spectacles): Wearers must carry a spare pair in the car at all times.
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 licence, is 18 for a car and for a motorcycle over 75cc.
- Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.
- Replacement bulb set is compulsory for lights.
- Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.
- Snow chains are recommended to be carried in the Spanish Pyrenees and all mountainous regions of Spain during winter, and if you do not carry and fit them when conditions demand, the police can prevent you continuing your journey.
- Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Spain.
- Having a Warning triangle is compulsory.
The Spanish are fine artists when it comes to parking and the word ´creative´ applies. Although the law says you must park your car facing the direction of traffic and in line with assigned spaces, the reality is that if there is a free space, it´s up for grabs.
If you are parking in the city, try to be good. Fines can be hefty – and this especially applies if you have not paid for your parking. Ticket machines are found on the street and are self-explanatory, so you do not need to speak Spanish to be able to buy one.
Outside the cities, you can basically park wherever you like, in whichever direction best suits you. An informal rule is: If your hazard lights are blinking, you have carte blanche.
In an accident, if anyone is injured phone an ambulance (emergency number is 112 anywhere is Spain), take care of the injured people if it is safe to do so and wait for emergency services to arrive.
If you are involved in a minor accident, and if no one is hurt (and don´t be intimidated by the yelling and wildly waving arms, it is just part of the show), you have the right to settle the matter between yourself and the other driver without involving the police. Exchange phone numbers and ask to see their ID if it is their fault. Copy their details. Call your insurance company and they will instruct you from there. Make sure your car is not blocking traffic – push it onto the shoulder if you can.
In the event that you are involved in a serious accident or you are not able to reach an agreement (or other driver is not willing to collaborate) you should call the police. They will be able to issue a report of the accident and then you can proceed with your insurance company and paperwork.
*Please note that the Spanish insurance accident report form does allow you to indicate that you and the other driver are in “friendly agreement” about the accident, as well as if you are in disagreement or have opposing viewpoints.