Driving rules in Spain are the same as in most of Europe. The Spanish drive on the right side of the road and measure distance and speed in kilometers.
The national speed limits are:
- Motorway: 120 km/hr
- Open road: 90-100 km/hr
- Around cities and towns: 50 km/hr
Spanish law enforcement is very strict when it comes to enforcing the speed limit, and radar traps are common. Speeders can be punished with on the spot fines. Other offences punishable by fines include: not indicating a lane change with blinkers on the highway, not wearing your seatbelt, and honking your horn between 11:00PM and 6:00AM. Drunk driving is also rigorously enforced, and the legal alcohol limit is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per milliliter of blood for an experienced driver and 0.1 mg/l for less experienced drivers.
You cannot park within 7 meters of a bus stop. If you do, your car can be impounded, and you will be forced to pay a fee, the cost of which depends on the size of your car and the location in which you parked. In order to find out which impound station your car has been taken to, you must call the police (092).
Dotted lines painted on the road designate legal parking spaces. However, if said lines are blue, you are required to pay. Locate the blue parking meters closest to you, purchase a ticket for the amount of time you expect to park in the space and place the ticket on the dashboard where a meter maid will be able to see it.
If you are involved in a car crash, the severity of the accident determines what steps you should take. If it is a minor collision and nobody is hurt, you and the other driver can settle the problem on your own without calling the police. You should exchange insurance information, but remember that in order to make an insurance claim, you must have to visit the police station nearest your home to file a police report within 7 days of the accident. In order to determine which police station to place your report at, call the municipal information line at 010 and ask for the address of the “comisaria” in your district. If the other driver refuses to cooperate, ensure that you get his/her license plate number and a physical description of the driver. If anyone is injured notify emergency services:
- Medical Service (Ambulancia) Tel: 061
- National Police (Policía Nacional) Tel: 091
- Local Police (Policía Municipal) Tel: 092
- Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) Tel: 062
- Fire Service (Bomberos) Tel: 080
- Pan-European emergency number SOS 112 Tel: 112
If you believe the accident was the other driver’s fault, you should state that in the police report. However, if the police determine that the other driver has not committed an offence, you have one year to start a civil procedure, also done at your local police station.