Which Side of the Road Do They Drive on in Spain?
When traveling to a foreign country, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules, especially which side of the road to drive on. In Spain, like most European countries, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road. However, if you’re planning a trip to Spain or simply curious about the country’s driving practices, let’s delve deeper into this topic and address some commonly asked questions.
1. Why do they drive on the right side in Spain?
The decision to drive on the right side in Spain, and many other countries, can be attributed to historical reasons. In the 18th century, aristocrats and nobles used to travel on the left side of the road, leaving the right side for peasants and commoners. However, with the rise of the French Revolution, the aristocracy was overthrown, and driving on the right side became a symbol of the new order.
2. Are there any exceptions to driving on the right side in Spain?
In general, all vehicles drive on the right side of the road in Spain. However, there are a few exceptions. Some islands and territories, such as the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, have unique road networks where motorists drive on the left side of the road due to historical connections with countries like the United Kingdom.
3. Do rental cars in Spain have the steering wheel on the same side as in other European countries?
Yes, rental cars in Spain have the steering wheel on the left side, just like in most European countries. Therefore, if you are accustomed to driving in Europe, you will not face any difficulties while driving a rental car in Spain.
4. Can I use my foreign driver’s license in Spain?
If you are a tourist visiting Spain, you can drive with a valid foreign driver’s license for up to six months. However, if you are planning to reside in Spain for a longer period, it’s advisable to obtain a Spanish driver’s license.
5. Are the road signs in Spain easy to understand for foreign drivers?
Yes, road signs in Spain are generally clear and follow international standards. You’ll find signs indicating speed limits, directions, and warnings similar to those in other European countries. Additionally, many signs are accompanied by international symbols to help foreign drivers comprehend their meaning.
6. Are there any toll roads in Spain?
Yes, Spain has an extensive network of toll roads known as “autopistas.” These roads generally offer faster and more direct routes but come with a fee. The toll rates vary depending on the distance traveled and the type of vehicle, and payment can be made in cash or by credit card.
7. What should I do if I have an emergency or breakdown while driving in Spain?
If you encounter an emergency or experience a breakdown on Spanish roads, the first step is to turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Then, move your vehicle as far off the road as possible. In case of a serious emergency, dial the European emergency number 112 for immediate assistance.
In conclusion, when driving in Spain, remember that motorists drive on the right side of the road. While this may seem unfamiliar to drivers accustomed to left-hand driving, adapting to the local traffic rules is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Familiarize yourself with the road signs, follow the speed limits, and always drive attentively to make the most of your time exploring the beautiful landscapes that Spain has to offer.