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Legal Issues around driving in spain


peter21

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Hi all

 

We are heading off to Spain for the first time, in november, in a rapido 7090, via a ferry to Bilbao.

 

Apparently the Spanish police are enthusiastic and we are keen not to have to contribute towards their Christmas party, or whatever the on the spot fines go to.

 

Apart from not speeding, and wearing seat belts, we have picked up that we need to take:

Our driving licenses

Insurance documents

Reflective tabards

Spare bulb set

2 warning triangles

 

Is this correct? Have we missed anything?

 

We are also planning to go to France and Norway next year, so any comments on the legal requirements of those countries would be valuable.

 

thanks a lot

 

Peter

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Hi Peter, suggest you get a copy of Driving abroad from your local bookshop, very helpful if you are a first timer.We spent two months touring around Spain and Portugal this year. The only thing we found was the lack of sites in Spain, so do get a book or books with sites in. The Spanish police don't like wild camping and will usually move you on.Found ACSI very good , also the Caravan Club site book, also Alan Rogers

Enjoy your trip One more thing, if you have a bike rack , good idea to get a reflective chevron on it.

pauline

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Before you go make a couple of photocopies of all your documents and keep the originals in a safe place until needed. If by anychance there is a problem and you cannot produce the originals then you have the copies as a standby. I know that the copies are not legal documents but at least you have something to refer to. My Grandson was mugged in Cape Town and had a hell of a job getting a replacement Passport with the Visa details on it.
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Hi Peter

 

We went to Spain for the first this year and to be honest did not see much police presence anywhere except the big cities. Wasn't really impressed either wont be rushing back!!!! Camp sites very expensive 35 to 40 euros a night and few and far between!!!

 

I got a really good book from the spianish tourist office (on sale at a well know travel book store for £11.00 +p+p) for free!!!! It contains a good map and a CD rom which is really useful, just emailed them and expailned what I was doing and they sent me the book. We also used the Spain/Portugal aries book as well.

 

cant do links but the web site is www.spain.info

 

cheers

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You missed your vehicle registration document (V5). I also endorse the comments of the person who recommended keeping copies at home.

I'm a bit of a control freak and I scan everything, from sales receipts to legal documents and then file them in the appropriate folders on my PC.

Anything not vital, such as birth certificates etc. is then shredded. I did this because my filing cabinet was threatening to crash through the study floor!

Now the clever bit is that I back up all my files onto a tiny and separate Maxtor hard drive (£70 from Maplins) and I take my backup drive with me when we go away.

If my house burns down or my PC is stolen I have everything that matters with me and, by plugging the Maxtor into my laptop, can access every single document including of course my scanned insurance documents, driving licence, passport, vehicle V5 etc. etc.

If any of these are stolen whilst on holiday I can whistle up a superb full colour copy quite quickly.

Like I said, a bit of a control freak or an incredibly good organiser, take your pick!

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Go on to the Caravan Club Website (www.caravanclub.co.uk), in their publications section they have a free, downloadable leaflet that gives all the legal requirements for the majority, if not all, the countries in Europe.

 

I have just returned from a month touring Spain travelling to/from Bilbao. No problems at all with any officialdom, just obey the speed limits (especially on motorways).

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mgain - 2009-09-20 9:10 PM

 

just came back from spain, and the police in the south have been having a blitz on driving while wearing flip flops, 130 euros fine, be careful.

 

I should be alright then as I cannot wear flip flops, I have two left feet so can only wear flip flips :D

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Point to remember. It is not good enough just to carry reflective jackets - it is important for all occupants to wear one when out of the vehicle on a major road. The Police will instantly fine anyone not wearing one when out of the vehicle, dealing with a puncture, attending an accident, etc. I always make it a rule, when on the continent, to wear one when behind the wheel. Then, if I should be so unfortunate to be involved in an incident that warrants me leaving the vehicle I do not have to 'remember' to put the jacket on. It may be apocryphal, but I have read of the Spanish police stopping a vehicle and inviting the driver to step out of the vehicle. When the driver went to put on her jacket the police waved her on with a grin.
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Point to remember. It is not good enough just to carry reflective jackets - it is important for all occupants to wear one when out of the vehicle on a major road. The Police will instantly fine anyone not wearing one when out of the vehicle, dealing with a puncture, attending an accident, etc. I always make it a rule, when on the continent, to wear one when behind the wheel. Then, if I should be so unfortunate to be involved in an incident that warrants me leaving the vehicle I do not have to 'remember' to put the jacket on. It may be apocryphal, but I have read of the Spanish police stopping a vehicle and inviting the driver to step out of the vehicle. When the driver went to put on her jacket the police waved her on with a grin.
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Point to remember. It is not good enough just to carry reflective jackets - it is important for all occupants to wear one when out of the vehicle on a major road. The Police will instantly fine anyone not wearing one when out of the vehicle, dealing with a puncture, attending an accident, etc. I always make it a rule, when on the continent, to wear one when behind the wheel. Then, if I should be so unfortunate to be involved in an incident that warrants me leaving the vehicle I do not have to 'remember' to put the jacket on. It may be apocryphal, but I have read of the Spanish police stopping a vehicle and inviting the driver to step out of the vehicle. When the driver went to put on her jacket the police waved her on with a grin.
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Just a quickie on the reflective jackets :

 

As well as carrying sufficient (CE marked) reflective waistcoats in your vehicle such that ALL people travelling in the vehicle can get one each, you also have to have them stored in a place where you can get at them all WITHOUT leaving the vehicle......ie so you can all don them before getting out of the vehicle.

 

I have not heard of anyone getting an on-the-spot fine here yet for breaching this "location" rule, but it makes sense anyway to store the jackets inside the vehicle, not in a separate boot area.

 

 

 

 

On the "Flip-Flop" and bare feet issue:

 

YES. The Spanish Police WILL definitely fine you if they stop you and find you are driving in bare feet; or in any type of "unsuitable" (a lawyers dream of a definition of course!) footwear.

Flip-flops and backless sandals have I understand already been recently deemed as specific examples of unsuitable footwear by Spanish courts.

Driving in bare feet has always been a big no-no in Spain (and I thought, in the UK too?)

 

If the Police officer who stops you deems that your footwear is unsuitable, he WILL fine you on the spot.

It would then be for you to go to a lawyer and then to Spanish court to seek to persuade a Spanish judge that the Police Officers opinion was wrong, and thus get the fine rescinded..........good luck with trying that as a non-Spaniard who doesn't speak Spanish fluently.

Because of this new emphasis by the Spanish Police/Guardia I'm already aware of many people here (mainly women) who have now taken to keeping a pair of slip-on "sensible" shoes/trainers in their cars, so that they change from high heels/flip-flop type sandals before driving.

 

As a side note, I thought there was always something in the UK Highway Code about always wearing suitable, non-slip footwear when driving in the UK too...although I don't know if it's ever enforced by the UK POlice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. I have bought spare bulbs/reflective jackets/headlight deflectors (you need a physics degree to understand the instructions)/warning triangles and magnetic GB plate, from autobulbs direct...seem OK but can't vouch for bulb quality as yet.

 

Planning on returning from Spain with a case or two of christmas vino so next job is too clear out the luggage hold of non essentials. May have to put the Missus on the roof for the trip back....don't seem to be any regulations about that.

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peter21 - 2009-10-07 7:00 AM

 

 

Planning on returning from Spain with a case or two of christmas vino so next job is too clear out the luggage hold of non essentials. May have to put the Missus on the roof for the trip back....don't seem to be any regulations about that.

 

But remember to budget for a few stops at hairdressers.... :-D

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Watch out for getting a fine from spain when you get back , I had one sent to me , for speeding in a town I had not been within miles of , it went in the bin , didnt hear any more I think they are still anit like those traffic light cops you see in some of those old american movies :D
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  • 2 weeks later...
tacr2man - 2009-10-14 5:29 PM

 

Watch out for getting a fine from spain when you get back , I had one sent to me , for speeding in a town I had not been within miles of , it went in the bin , didnt hear any more I think they are still anit like those traffic light cops you see in some of those old american movies :D

 

OK - unless or until you are visiting Spain again in the same vehicle and get a pull for anything.......they are "joining up" their Police computer systems here now, and the Regional computers are "talking" to each other; so it's increasingly likely that when they input your vehicle registration, it'll flag a long overdue fine, which could result in vehicle confiscation.

 

It's a VERY lomg shot, but I thought it worthy of mention, just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One other point to mention for anyone coming over to Spain next year: the local news here says that from April 2010 the new policy of traffic police will be Zero Tolerance on all roads in Spain: ie 1kph over the speed limit will get you a pull, a complete vehicle and paperwork check, and an on-the spot speeding fine.

Almost all speed cameras here are the fixed type (grey box at the side of the road).......and many have their "eye" spray painted out repeatedly by angry Spanish motorists.......their design is rubbish, as the camera "eye" and the flash window are both only about 4 feet off the ground, on the verge, so are very easy targets!!!

But there are finally just starting to appear the hidden mobile radar-gun speed cameras too.

 

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Further, possibly useful, point re speeds.  Many town in Spain and Portugal have signs on entry stating that automatic, or radar, speed controls operate.  A little further down the road will be a set of traffic lights.  If you are exceeding the speed limit as you approach these lights, they will turn to red.  If you are travelling below the limit, however, the lights obligingly stay green.  The annoying thing is that so many Spanish and Portuguese drivers haven't yet worked this out for themselves, and continually trip the lights to red.  So, provided you are not following the hare brained, you get along much faster by going just that bit slower, if you see what I mean.  :-)
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