In light of the fantastic news about UK driving licence exchanges, and the fact that there will be many a happy British resident driving to the shops for the first time in a while, today we thought it would be appropriate to dispel the 5 biggest myths about driving in Spain
Stop flip-flopping – Summer is around the corner, and we’re all rushing to get ourselves some posh new flip-flops, but be sure to keep your driving shoes in the car. The law doesn’t specifically ban you from wearing flip-flops (chanclas in Spanish), but it does state you should wear “safe and adequate footwear” which most police would consider doesn’t apply to flip-flops.
The jury is still out on white socks and sandals, but it’s more likely to be the fashion police that pull you up than the Guardia.
It’s OK, I’ve got an appointment for the ITV – Because the ITV sticker in Spanish cars only has a hole punched in the month, it’s a common misconception that as long as you have an appointment to pass the test in that month, you can still drive the car. This is wrong. You must pass the test by the date stamped by the ITV centre on the back of your ficha tecnica.
Also remember that if your vehicle fails the ITV, you have 60 days to fix the car, but you can only drive from the ITV centre to home and the garage. If you live in Malaga, fail the ITV and decide to drive to Seville (or anywhere else) during those 60 days, you may find yourself in trouble.
A pint of lager and a packet of crisps – It saddens us to say that Spain does have a bit of a “drink and drive” culture, although this is now on the decline, with some drastic ads from the DGT pushing a change of behaviour. However, contrary to popular belief, the drink/drive limits in Spain are a lot lower than in most countries, with sanctions starting from 0.5 mg/l – compared to the 0.8 mg/l in the UK for example – around a glass of beer in an average sized person
What’s with all the goats – Well they have to eat! If you live in rural Spain, it’s not unusual to see hundreds of goats suddenly wandering around the main roads. Believe it or not, strict rules are in place for the movement of livestock, and they do have the right of way. With more areas being populated and therefore blocking these ancient routes, it’s becoming more and more common to see herds crossing main roads – and yes, you have to wait!.
You can stop anywhere with a Hazard light – No you can’t, you simply just can’t. They are quite possibly the most abused lights in the whole of Spain. For those of us who have spent years behind cars who have put the hazards on to have a chat in the middle of a one-way street, it’s extremely frustrating, but hazards are hazards and only to be used in a hazard situation, even if the locals may use them differently.
And finally, how on earth do you go around a roundabout in Spain ? It’s simple – if in doubt, just keep going around the outside lane until you reach your exit. Roundabouts are used differently here and there’s no cutting across the middle. The great news is there are simply millions of them! (some of which are actually quite beautiful) so if you get lost, just carry on, and you’ll soon get to another roundabout to go back!
Oh, and once last point, remember you need to keep your original documents in the car and your ID and driving licence on you at all time, you can read more about this HERE