Driving in Spain after Brexit

The UK officially left the European Union on the 31st of January 2020. Now the UK has entered a transition period that is scheduled to last till December 2020. Although the current rules still apply until the end of the transition period, changes will happen in many things after that. One such thing is driving in Spain after Brexit for UK citizens. Along with the valid UK driving license now, the motorist may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Spain and this is the 1949 IDP which is valid for 12 months. In case a motorist is driving from the UK to Spain then another IDP which is 1968 IDP may also be required as the person will need to drive through France and 1949 IDP is not valid for driving in France. Vehicle insurance coverage rules will also change after Brexit for vehicles that are registered in the UK and are being driven to Spain.

As per the rules of the government of the UK, the vehicle owner must get in touch with their insurance company and procure a Green Card as proof of third party motor insurance cover. Another important thing to note is the display of GB stickers on the vehicle that is registered in the UK, currently, the GB sticker has to be displayed only on those vehicles which do not have a blue EU registration plate that has the ‘GB’ initials. Thus driving in Spain with UK license will not be a problem if a motorist follows the above-mentioned rules.

Driving to Spain from UK avoiding tolls

When a driver from the UK decides to drive to Spain then one important factor is tolls. The amount of money that needs to be spent on tolls is considerable, often over 100 Euros considering which route is being taken. That is why driving to Spain from UK avoiding tolls can be a very good idea for many drivers. Now, is it possible to drive to Spain from the UK avoiding tolls? Yes it is possible, if the driver is willing to take a longer route which generally would add a day to your travel schedule. Below is a tentative route that can be taken in order to avoid tolls.

  • After arriving at Calais the driver needs to take the A16 motorway which is toll-free and head towards Boulogne.
  • At exit 29 the motorist needs to leave the A16 motorway because the toll-free part of the motorway ends here. Then the driver needs to follow D901 > D1001 up to the entry to Abbeville.
  • Next, the Free A28 needs to be taken until the driver reaches Rouen. Before reaching the Seine, the motorist will have to take the exit which is at the entrance to a short tunnel for D6015 marked Vernon, Cergy Pontoise. The motorist will need to follow the D6015 up to Le Vaudreuil and then take the free A154>N154.
  • Upon reaching Tours the driver should not join the motorway and keep following the green signs for Poitiers.
  • From Poitiers, the driver needs to take D910 and on the roundabout take the 3rd exit to N10. After continuing along N10 finally take A10/E5 motorway a short distance before Bordeaux.
  • On the south of Bordeaux, the motorist needs to leave A63 motorway at exit 18 “Le Muret” turning south onto the D834 to Castelnau. Next, turn right onto D410 after which the motorist needs to join D10E. After staying on D10E till exit 17 which is Liposthey the motorist will have to join the motorway.
  • After reaching exit 12 the driver will have to follow the D947 for a kilometer towards Castets and after that turn left onto D378. When this road starts running along the western side of the motorway the driver will have to rejoin D10E and rejoin the motorway at exit 11.
  • The motorist will have to leave the motorway again at exit 10 on which the sign of Bayonne is mentioned in green. From here on the motorist will need to follow the D810 to the border of Spain.

A vehicle owner or a person who hires a vehicle to drive from the UK to Spain can enjoy a toll-free route as mentioned above.

Driving in Spain tips

Some tips about a destination always help visitors and when it comes to driving in another country the tips can be very handy in avoiding problems and therefore while driving in Spain tips like these will be very handy for drivers who are driving to Spain from the UK.

  1. The first tip would be the use of freeways which are called autovias in Spanish. These are very well maintained unlike many of the freeways in other countries and that is why there are comparatively much fewer traffic jams in Spain. Thus drivers should not worry about taking freeways in Spain as these are the fastest road connecting places most of the time.
  2. While driving in Spain a driver needs to take care while driving on a roundabout and the best thing to do is avoid routes completely which have roundabouts. Sometimes vehicles can travel in both directions in a roundabout which can be very difficult for many drivers.
  3. The next tip is common and is mostly the same in almost all countries which is “No drinking and driving”. The legal limit of blood alcohol is only .05% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) which means only 0.5 milligram of alcohol per milliliter of blood. In case the police stop someone to check for drunk driving it is necessary to take the breathalyzer test.
  4. The use of mobile devices when driving is strictly prohibited and should never be used by drivers while driving. Completely hands-free devices are allowed but wired ear-phones, speakerphones or headsets are not allowed. If someone has to use a phone then he or she must pull the vehicle off the road, put it in parking and then use the phone.
  5. Seatbelts are a must in Spain both drivers and passengers must wear the seatbelts properly or the driver shall be fined. Children who are under 12 years of age must be at least 4’9” tall to sit in the front seat.

Driving penalties in Spain

The driving penalties in Spain range from approximately 100 Euros for minor traffic violations to around 200 Euros for major ones.

Very serious violations can cost even above 500 Euros many times. The fines can be charged only by the Guardia Civil police officers who wear the luminous yellow jackets. These jackets have the word “TRAFICO” written on them. Other than the Guardia Civil police officers no other police can charge driving penalties as per the current laws of Spain. Many violations can be fined which include drunk driving, overspeeding, illegal or double parking, not wearing seatbelts, not having a valid driving license, use of mobile phones while driving and many more reasons. For people who are not residents of Spain as in the case of anyone who is driving from the UK to Spain and therefore holds a driving license of the UK then those people need to pay the fine on the spot. In case the person who is being fined does not have enough cash then the police officer can escort the person to a nearby cashpoint or to the hotel where the person is staying. The person can then get the necessary cash and pay the fine to the police officer. Following are the amounts that are typically charged for a few of the violations:-

  • If a person drives a car without valid insurance then the penalty is generally 1500 Euros.
  • Any kind of violation while parking a vehicle can lead to a penalty of 200 Euros.
  • If anyone who is under the age of 18 and thus does not hold a valid driving license yet drives a vehicle then this can lead to a fine of 200 Euros.
  • In Spain, it is illegal to repair a car or wash a car on the road and this is one of the costliest traffic violations in the country. The amount of fine can be as high as 3000 Euros.
  • A car that does not have a valid Technical Inspection Certificate can be fined 200 Euros.
  • Failing to wear seatbelts is a violation in Spain for which the amount of fine is 200 Euros.
  • Drunk driving is illegal in Spain and if the amount of alcohol exceeds .05% BAC then the driver can incur a fine of 1000 Euros.
  • Spain is a clean country and thus throwing of garbage is strictly prohibited. If a car is spotted throwing garbage on the road then the fine is 80 Euros.

Traffic fines in Spain can be paid on spot to the police officer or can be paid at selected banks. It can also be paid at post offices or online.

If someone decides not to pay a traffic ticket from Spain then the result can be very bad. The result of non-payment of traffic fines in Spain is that the vehicle may get impounded and it can even be crushed. The person ultimately will end up paying a huge amount to get the vehicle back thus not paying a traffic ticket in Spain is a very bad idea and should be avoided.



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