Spain is one of Europe's most popular destinations, receiving thousands upon thousands of tourists every year. Some people like it so much that they actually decide to stay, and statistics show that foreign residents are something like 10% of the population.

Driving in Spain doesn't present too many difficulties, but there are several things drivers should be aware of. First of all, and this one is a big one for British drivers, traffic in Spain drives on the right-hand side of the road.

Not left, not middle-but-sort-of-leaning-left.


The country has many toll roads, and these are a very good option if you want to get where you're going in a quick, hassle-free fashion. Highways in Spain have very little traffic, they are extremely well-maintained, and the service stations defy stereotypes by being some of the most clean, with the best food served at the most reasonable prices in Europe.

On the downside, the highways themselves are considerably pricey - which accounts for the fact they have so little traffic. Secondary roads are reasonably well-maintained as well, and if you're interested in doing a bit of sightseeing, they may prove a better option. However, be aware that the traffic in them can become quite intense, depending on the area and the time of year. Truckers, particularly, prefer them to highways due to the lower cost.

As in the UK, you shouldn't drink and drive. The legal limit for drinking is 0.5 (stricter than the UK, where the limit is 0.8). Likewise, never use your mobile phone while driving; the local law enforcement will not be amused.

When it rains - which isn't often - the roads can become quite slippery, and drivers don't usually compensate for it as much as they should, so be sure to drive carefully.

Seat belts are mandatory both at the front and in the back, and children under the age of 12 should use a child-seat and never ride in the front. If you need to wear glasses, it's important to note you must carry a spare pair in the car at all times.

If for whatever reason you need to stop by the side of the road, you need to wear a visibility vest before you step outside the vehicle. If you're driving a rental, the company usually provides vests for their vehicles, but be sure to enquire beforehand if that's the case.

All in all, driving in Spain can be a very enjoyable experience. 

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Comment by Juan Martinez on June 29, 2012 at 8:30am

Also on two-lane highways Spanish drivers pass without thinking ahead so if you are driving the car being passed, and you see a car coming toward you, it is your responsibility to slow down and let the passer get into the right lane before all three of you crash. 

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