Driving in Andalucia
Driving in Andalucia is similar to driving in any European country, but there are some differences. So, please take a few moments to read this post to ensure that you understand the rules here in Spain before heading out onto the roads.
Spain has one of the highest accident rates in Europe, but the traffic authorities are working hand in hand with the legislators to try to improve the situation. As a result, leniency for the violators of traffic rules is becoming a thing of the past. Spain has now adopted a points system, whereby points are deducted from your driving licence when infractions are committed. This can ultimately result in the loss of the licence.
Many Spanish motorways now have radar cameras that will automatically record speeding violations. You will then receive a fine through the mail. Furthermore, Guardia Civil vehicles are now equipped with computers. They can therefore use car registrations to obtain instant information regarding a vehicle’s insurance status.
Non-residents driving in Spain should be aware that, if they are stopped by the police or the Guardia Civil, they can be given an on the spot fine and this must be paid before they are allowed to continue their journey. Permanent residents can obtain a Spanish point-based driving licence from their local Jefatura de Tráfico office.
These are the most basic requirements for drivers on Spanish roads:
- Your driving licence, car document and insurance must be carried at all times.
- Seat belts must be worn in front and back seats at all times.
- Blood alcohol levels must register less than 1.2mg/0.6ml. This limit is lower than in many other countries and can be reached after consuming as little as one small glass of wine or beer.
- Two warning triangles and reflective vests must be in your vehicle at all times for use in the event of an accident or a breakdown.
- You must have a hands free device if you use a mobile phone whilst driving.
- Children under the age of 12 must sit in the back seat of a car. Babies and children must use age/weight appropriate safety seats.
- Helmets are required when riding mopeds and motorcycles. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed on motorbikes
- Give way to the right.
- Those already on a roundabout have priority.
Most of the major cities in Andalucia are now linked by two lane motorways. There are toll motorways from Seville to Jerez, from Malaga to Marbella, from Marbella to Estepona and from Estepona to Sotogrande.
The AP46 Motorway from Malaga to Villanueva de Cauche and the A45 towards Antequera is also a toll road. These are in good condition and have low traffic density.
The toll motorways are identified by the prefix AP and the non-toll motorways just have an A.
Motorway numbers have two digits (e.g A45), Regional roads in Andalucia are also prefixed with an A but have three digits e.g A375.
Almost all garages sell petrol at the maximum price permitted by the government. This will of course vary from time to time to reflect changing oil prices.
As a general rule, Repsol stations are self service and BP stations only allow attendants to fill your tank.
Credit cards are universally accepted. At self service stations, be advised that some pumps might be marked for permanent pre-payment. This is usually the case for any pump that is located in such a way as to allow an easy escape to someone looking to avoid payment.
Also, pre-payment is often required at night. Petrol stations are generally outfitted with window washing supplies and air pumps, as would be expected in any European country. Restrooms are generally well maintained.