If you are planning a Costa del Sol holiday, it will be convenient to hire a car to give you a little more freedom, and take advantage of the beautiful scenery and attractions that the area has to offer. Tourists need to exercise a little more caution that you would otherwise, as typical Spanish drivers will seem quite aggressive and erratic. Here are a few tips to take note of when driving on your Costa del Sol holiday.
The Spanish drive on the right side of the road; be careful and alert at all times, otherwise you will find yourself heading the wrong way. All car owners are required to carry two warning triangles in case of a breakdown, as well as a spare set of bulbs, fuses, a spare wheel and a jack. Drivers need to wear reflective vests when getting out of their vehicle on intercity roads. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you have to carry a spare pair with you while driving, and avoid driving in flip-flops.
Safety Laws: Everyone has to use their seatbelts in their car, including people in the back seats. Children who are under 12 years cannot use the front seats unless they are 150 cm tall. All small children should be kept in the back in secure child safety seats. It is illegal to use a mobile phone when driving on your Costa del Sol holiday, even if you have pulled over to the side of the road. Using earpieces or headphones is prohibited; only hands-free units are permitted.
Drivers License and Insurance: Drivers must always carry a valid driving license. Citizens from the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway only require a driver’s license, provided it has a photograph on it. If not, drivers must obtain an International Driving Permit. Nationals from outside these countries require an International Driving Permit, along with their existing foreign driver’s license. It is advisable to bring one’s passport when driving, no matter which country you are from. Also, make sure that you get full car insurance coverage when renting. The legal age for driving in Spain is 18 years – however several hire car companies insist on drivers being at least 21 years old to drive their cars.
Speed limits; Drinking limits: The maximum speed on motorways (autopista or autovia) is 120 km/h; on main roads (carreteras) is 90 km/h and in urban areas between 30-50 km/h. There are frequent speed traps and cameras, and failing to comply with the speed limits is taken seriously with spot fines. Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly illegal, with severe penalties – even jail time – if the level of alcohol is 0.05% or more. Tourists on their Costa del Sol holiday may have to pay fines immediately, so it is wise to carry cash around with you for this purpose.