When driving in Spain or the Canary islands, there are some rules which may surprise you. People have been fined for eating an apple or having a sip of water while driving, even though this is not a rule as such. And of course, it is forbidden to drive the car in your swim-wear only and can cost you 100€ fine!
We have put together a set of 36 Spanish traffic rules you should know when driving in Gran Canaria and driving in Spain is the same – same rules apply. Several times per year the Spanish Traffic Department (DGT) have a number of campaigns aimed at making drivers more aware of their responsibilities and obligations, and their attitude to other drivers.
Although these campaigns are well advertised, many drivers tend to not take them serious enough, and end up with traffic fines and losing of points if they have a Spanish driving licence.
Fines are usually divided into:
- Minor offence: €100
- Serious offence: €200
- Very serious offence: €500
Discount if you pay within 14 days
If you pay the fine within 14 days of reception, or the date which is stipulated on the fine, you get a 50% discount of the end amount. That means 14 days after the police has handed you the fine in person. Or 14 days after the reception of the fine sent to your address, if no policeman was involved, like a radar fine or wrong parking.
Here are the 36 Spanish traffic rules we put together for you:
Keep your Licence in Order!
As a driver, always check that your licence is up-to-date, that you have your correct address registered in the DGT. Remember in Spain you must have your driving licence, ID and car papers with you while driving. If not, fines and penalty points can be incurred. These can range anywhere from 80 to 200€, not the best way to start your day!
- Not indicating to the DGT that you have changed your address: €80
- Drive with an out-of-date licence: €200
- Driving without a licence: €500
- Not having licence on you while driving, the fine is €10
- Driving while licence has been withdrawn officially and committing a punishable offence you can be sentenced additionally with up to 12 months in prison
- Addition for Brits if driving in spain with a uk licence, if it is a paper licence, requires that you have a photo ID along, best the passport.
- Driving age in Spain is 18. The insurance is more expensive if you are under 26. important if you are thinking of driving a hire car in Spain or Gran Canaria.
A car in bad condition can cost you money
Of course, we are reminded that having our transport in good working condition should be second nature. Your car must be well-maintained and have its “ITV” (vehicle test certificate) validated and available for inspection. Driving a car without it or having unchecked mechanical problems can also be costly. So, there are a number of points that should be remembered:
- Not having passed the ITV: €200
- Travel in a vehicle without bumpers: €200
- Driving with tires in poor condition: €200
- Driving your car after it has failed the ITV: €500
- Registration plate in bad condition or with a non-approved size: €80
- Ornaments, drawings or publicity on the registration plate: €80
- Having the rear registration without illumination: €200
Forbidden and/or dangerous when driving in Spain!
Some of these rules are obvious, like organizing car-races in public areas is illegal. But other rules may surprise you and cause you a traffic fine if caught unaware, like not being allowed to drive without a shirt, or wearing headphones while driving.
- A child in a baby or bumper seat in the front passenger seat. Up to 500€
- Organize or participate in illegal car racing: €500
- Not giving way to a vehicle when it has the right of way: €200 and 4 points
- While overtaking coming too close to the overtaken vehicle: €200
- Passing the speed limit at take-over on a motorway or in urban areas: €200
- Leaving the car while double-parked: €200
- Hunk the horn for no justifiable reason: €80
- Leaving the car parked on the pavement: €200
- Throw objects out of the window, like tissues, bags, papers or similar: €200
- Making the wheels spin on purpose: €100
- Throw out a cigarette butt or glass that may cause a fire: €200
- Driving with audio headphones, an Mp3 for example: €200
- Driving with a naked upper body: up to 200€
- Driving in flip-flops or barefoot: up to 200€
- Driving one-handed while holding anything like phones, food, drink: 200€
- Speaking on the phone while filling up the tank on a petrol station: 200€ & 3 p.
- Reversing in forbidden areas, i.e. after deviation or in a roundabout: 200€ & 4 p.
As a pedestrian, you can also be fined!
- Crossing the road extremely slowly for no justifiable reason: €80
- Crossing at an improper place: €80
- Walking on the road when there is a pavement: €80
- Crossing at a red pedestrian traffic light: €200
- Causing an accident by crossing a road: €200
- Walking on a bus lane or cycle lane: €200
Of course, the DGT would much rather prefer not to have to remind us about what we should be doing, but as regulation often is the only way to make drivers (and pedestrians too) realise that being sensible about our actions, it should make life easier on the roads for all concerned. Be careful out there! And share our driving in Spain tips with your friends, who either live in Spain or are due for holidays.
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Hi, I am Judith, the founder, author, translator and coffee girl of the GRAN CANARIA REGIONAL Guide.
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