When traveling abroad it is of vital importance to gain a firm grasp of the native population and how they drive. There is a plethora of different driving nuances, rules, regulations and techniques. It is rare that driving in two different countries would provide the exact same experience. Each country has a different set of driving regulations, each country has varying road speeds, and each country has a varying range of road surfaces.

If you hire a car abroad, you must be aware of these differing conditions. Furthermore, you must also take into consideration how the local population approaches driving. For example, British drivers are often stereotypically seen as extremely courteous to the point of being too hesitant. On the other hand, Asian drivers are stereotypically seen as impatient and reckless. Whilst these stereotypes are often exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness, it is still a prudent idea to gain a general idea of how a countries driving population is perceived.

When using Drivalia’s hire car service in Spain and Mallorca, you should understand what to expect from the nations driver’s. Firstly, you should look at the countries driving rules and regulations. Secondly, you should look at Spanish driving etiquette and any habits that their motorists are known for.

Important general driving facts

When taking to the road in Spain, you should have a firm grasp of their laws and regulations. The following is a list of important pointers to remember if driving a hire-car in this country:

Required documents:

  • Valid driving license
  • Valid insurance documents
  • Valid Passport

Required equipment:

  • Two warning triangles
  • Headlamp beam deflectors
  • If you wear glasses you must carry a spare pair

Misc information:

  • Maximum blood alcohol level allowed when driving: 0.05 percent
  • Speed limits are displayed in KM/H
  • The national motorway speed limit is 120 KM/H
  • Unless signs state otherwise, city and town speed limits are 50 KM/H
  • When overtaking, you are allowed to go 20 KM/H above the speed limit

Some other important things to note are that Spanish cities can often be congested therefore patience is an absolute must! Furthermore, many of the motorways in Spain have hefty tolls so always carry some cash when you are traveling – tolls fees could be as much as 9.50 Euros. If you are unsure of any of the above or require more information, Drivalia’s trained staff will be more than happy to help!

What can you expect from Spanish drivers?

Now that you understand a little more about Spanish driving laws and driver requirements, it is important to consider how Spanish people actually drive. What temperament do Spanish drivers generally display? Is there any etiquette that should be observed? Are there any unspoken rules you should be aware of? The following are some important and insightful pointers about the behavior of Spanish drivers:

  • When overtaking, drivers will often flash their lights beforehand.
  • It is considered common courtesy to indicate when switching lane or overtaking.
  • Expect a lot of scooters and mopeds in city larger cities.
  • Many Spanish drivers resent road tolls and therefore bypass these routes.
  • Spanish drivers within city centers can often be more aggressive and impatient.
  • Punctuality is not as important in Spanish culture, therefore, drivers may appear lazy.
  • Due to their culture, it is not uncommon to see a Spaniard asleep at the wheel during a traffic jam.
  • Some Spaniards are overly aggressive to foreign drivers.
  • Spaniards often disregard lane markings and may stray into adjacent lanes.
  • Spanish drivers often park extremely close to other vehicles leaving little space to get out.

This list might seem totally daunting and put you off driving in Spain, but it should not do that at all! You must be aware of these possibilities so they are not a complete shock when you hire a rental car in the country. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. If you take into consideration the nuances of Spanish drivers, you will be better prepared when sitting behind the wheel yourself.

Spanish drivers are not reckless and angry – they are generally skilled and considerate drivers that simply take a laid back approach that can seem strange to foreigners. Driving in large Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona is where you will experience the worse stereotypes and really notice the aggression and difficulties that traffic jams can bring.

When driving in Spain, it is important to stay alert at all times and drive defensively – stick to the speed limits, don’t be afraid to overtake or switch lanes, and don’t let aggressive drivers intimidate you. Hopefully, this article will prove invaluable and has given you great insight into Spanish drivers and what you can expect from using a hire-car in this delightful country.