A Few Tips for driving in Spain
The traffic-lights (semaforas) in Spain are more often than not, situated only at your stop line for the junction and so you can see when they change when you are in the front of the queue, there is a set of smaller lights on the support post. An amber flashing light means that there is a hazzard approaching, such as a crossing. You can pass through this light, with caution if clear to do so. Sometimes you will come accross an amber light and if you pass through at more than the speed limit, this will change the next lights to red, meaning that you have to stop.
The Law for pedestrian crossings until recently is not as strict as in for example, the UK where a driver is always at fault if the vehicle hits a pedestrian on the crossing. You must step onto the crossing, remembering to look LEFT, and show the palm of your hand to any approaching vehicles. Previously, they still did not have to stop, but a new Law involving penalty points means that the drivers can be penalized now for not stopping. Many tourists are injured, some killed each year, for only looking right when crossing the road.
You may NOT overtake on the right (inside lanes) on the highways unless there is a slip road or another road indicated and you are taking it. I know this is the same elsewhere in the World where bad drivers insist on cruising in the middle lanes. However, it is very common in Spain to be passed on both sides of you so be aware when shifting lanes.
If you are from outside the EU, you will need an International Driving Licence issued by the correct authority in your home country. It must have one page of information in Spanish.
Remember that your “tourist status” in a foreign country usually applies for only three months as far as insurance is concerned, so for any longer periods, do not forget to discuss this with your broker. The roads in Spain vary from very poor to very good, the latter especially since Spain joined the EU and has benefited from the funding from other countries over the last 20 years. The main connecting roads are generally excellent. In addition, with getting lost can be prevented if a map is always at hand.