Hiring a car in Spain

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Car hire in Spain - Surviving Spanish roads!

Driving abroad need not be the biggest worry of your holiday if you are armed with the right information and know the most important aspects of tackling foreign roads. If you are using car hire in Spain during the summer months it is wise to be even more careful as there is a much higher road police presence across Spain and especially in the majority of the busiest holiday locations. To help you we have put together some of the basics to help you make the most of your Spanish car hire.

1) One of the biggest differences to note when driving in Spain is that you drive on the right hand side of the road. Rather than being something quite scary, once you have started out on the Spanish roads it is quite natural to follow everyone else and the novelty of going around roundabouts "the wrong way" wears off after a couple of circuits.

2) Documents: As a UK citizen you will need to have your full valid passport with you at all times in addition to your driving license, preferably the newer style photocard version as well as insurance documents and registration documents. If stopped you will be asked to produce all/any of these.

3) Officially hands-free kits with ear pieces are illegal, as are sat-navs so beware when thinking you are on the right side of the Spanish law when you may not be....

4) Seat belts are obligatory both in the front and the back.

5) Spain has stricter drink-driving laws than the UK - 0.5 miligrams to the 0.8 allowed in the UK so the lax holiday driving regulations expected are far from true. New drivers are subject to practical alcholoc exclusion limits. On-the-spot fines are quite usual.

6) As in the UK, speed trap cameras are popular. As are unmarked police cars.

7) Visibility vests are compulsory for all drivers. You need to ensure you have a reflective jacket for use at any time of the day you are involved in an accident as well as 2 red warning triangles and also spare bulbs and the means to change them should you need to as well as spare glasses if you wear them.

8) Speed limits vary across the roads and can also change within the same stretch of road but the limits are well sign-posted so do pay attention. Generally, motorways (autopistas) have a 120km/hr limit, a dual carriageway (autovia) may vary from 80km/hr to 110km/hr, national roads may have limits up to 100km/hr and roads in more built up areas are also clearly marked.

9) Slip roads are also used very differently in Spain...They are generally shorter and do not always serve as the easiest of routes on to a big road. You can expect to have to stop at the end of a slip road as you won't always be allowed out straight away.

And finally, book your Spanish car hire via a reputable firm who will ensure that you will only ever be given a car that is equipped with all the necessary items, allowing you to enjoy all Spain has to offer you.


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