There is something quite special about hiring a car abroad. The newness of getting behind a different wheel, discovering its gadgets and gizmos. Wondering what the car we actually be like, being given the keys to a shiny new car feels like a treat, like a gift you wanted at Christmas, especially if you selected to drive a luxury hire car or supercar.
From adjusting your seat and rear view mirror to carefully finding your way out onto the open road in your new car, it’s all an experience and touches emotions.
Whether it’s for the ‘be seen’ factor and the thrill of the drive in a Ferrari for the weekend in Marbella or a Range Rover to roar up the Rhonda mountains with the family, you’ll have to abide by Spanish driving laws.
Like most nations they are subject to regular change, most is logic and safety and some offer elements of surprise.
First of all let’s look in-car first.
Seat belts are of course compulsory for all.
Warning Triangles – These are compulsory and should be used on break down to warn other traffic and placed approximately 30 metres behind your vehicle.
Reflective Vest – again compulsory and must be worn when stepping out of the vehicle if broken down, so check the above are in your car when you hire one.
Also note to check for spare bulbs, wheel, and fan belt and of course if you wear glasses then it is law that you keep a spare set in the car too if they are prescription.
Of course there are items you might want to consider that are not legal but might be worth keeping in mind and in car, such as; First aid kit, torch, blanket, water, fire extinguisher.
Some little facts that might not immediately spring to mind whilst cruising the mountain curves of Andalucía in your newly adopted luxury hire car:
Flip flops – yep flip flops, not a spare pair for the beach but it is illegal to drive in Flip Flops in Spain.
So too is it to eat whilst driving, be on the phone even with an ear piece in, so don’t do it, as behind the wheel in Spain also relates to you being stationary, so even if you are on the phone telling your friends how beautiful the scenery is, you are still on the phone behind the wheel of a car, so that’s a fine. Only hands free without an ear piece is allowed.
Also don’t smoke with children in the car, fine for that too, and to right!
If you have to smoke don’t dare throw it out of the window, especially in the scorching summer, you will be arrested for causing a forest fire and quite right.
Drink driving is an obvious ‘no no’ and be aware that even a few sips can land you in trouble – the law in Spain changed recently and lowered the level to 0.05%. If you are a new driver (less than 2 years) then don’t touch a drop as that level is 0.03%. Outside of the obvious consequences of ruining someone’s life, their families and yours, if you are found to have 0.12% and above then its 6 months in prison and that’s without you causing any accident, just don’t do it, enjoy a café con leche and the Marbella sights instead, it’s a much better memory.
Care for the kids, if they are travelling in the front make sure if they are 12 or under measuring less than 135 cm’s then you have to have a child restraint system in the car for them that fits their size and it is illegal for a child under 3-years-of age and under to travel in a car without an EU approved seat fitted in the rear of the car.
Woof – if you have a dog in the car then it either has to be in back estate with a protection gate or secured down in the back of the car so that it cannot jump over seats, so secure your poodle or you will be bitten with a fine.
What not to have in the car is radar detector – that could set you back a fine of 6,000 euros. Another hefty fine would be programming a GPS whilst driving, so ensure you put your destination details in before you take off the handbrake.
Lastly make sure you have on you at all times your copy of rental agreement in the car as well identification with you such as passport, driving licence ID card, and the breakdown services contact details provided by your car hire company.
That should be it in the car, apart from your luggage and perhaps picnic basket for those lazy days on Marbella beaches on the refreshing lakes of El Chorro, but keep checking online for further information and laws.
Most is following the rules of the road so keep your eyes out.
It may sound obvious but check whether you have a petrol or diesel car. As Marbella is a seaside resort, with the many distractions you may not always be concentrating on what type of fuel you are putting in your car, and remember it is much worse to put petrol in a Diesel car than putting diesel in petrol.
Ironically more often than not it can be avoided as diesel nozzles are normally bigger than petrol and wont actual fit in a petrol tank which is shame as perhaps it should be the other way round if putting petrol in a diesel is worse, but there is no trigger apart from your unhappy hand if it happens. If it does happen though call for assistance immediately. However you may be ok if you put less than 5 litres of diesel in petrol as long as you then fill it up with petrol then you should be able to cough along the motorway and clog up the environment as you go on your merry way.
You will find petrol for unleaded is normally the green coloured nozzles/pumps with 95 or 98 numbers and diesel is denoted by Gasoleo or Diesel and are generally black nozzles/pumps.
If you want to have a better chance of uninterrupted ride then the motorways of Spain can in the main offer trouble free traffic on their Autopistas. Remember there is a charge and will increase to over double at times in the summer. If you don’t have coins on you and you want to glide through the toll booth quicker, then veer to the right where there are the swift taking bank card toll payment lanes.
If you are in urban areas then remember to not be trigger happy with the horn, sounding a horn in urban areas will cause you more alarm when you receive your fine for it.
As before, keep checking the driving laws for Spain but once on the road it is mostly about common sense, safety and following the rules of the road and seeing the signs as well as the sites of marvellous Marbella. Enjoy your luxury drive.
To keep in your phone
Emergency services – Police, fire brigade, ambulance – 112 no code needed.
Other Emergency numbers:
|Marbella||951 976 669|
|Malaga||951 290 000|
| Traffic information – Tel:900 123 505