An indicator of our time

An indicator of our time

Mysterious disappearance of indicators

In the vast and sometimes mystifying world of driving, there exists a peculiar phenomenon that has baffled me for years: the mysterious disappearance of indicators. Yes, those little flashing lights that are supposed to signal our intentions to turn left or right seem to have become an endangered species on the roads.

A lot of us will have read about the seriousness of the loss of the bee population throughout the world and in Spain and the efforts to repopulate these arthropods. Perhaps we are also aware of the drop in House and Eurasian Sparrow numbers as well as the threat of global warming.

Not to belittle these far more important concerns but has anyone noticed the downturn in the number of times a car indicator is used?

A indicator of our time

Indicator use increasing isolated to ITV centres

Picture this: you’re cruising down the motorway, minding your own business, when suddenly a car in front of you makes a sudden, unexpected manoeuvre. No signal, no warning—just a sudden veer into your lane, leaving you scrambling for the brakes and muttering expletives under your breath. Sound familiar? Of course, it does! It’s a scene straight out of every driver’s routine trips out with their vehicles.

Now some people are still able to locate the indicator stick amongst the knobs and buttons for cruise control and changing tracks on their latest Spotify playlist but they do seem to be a vanishing group. Their number is slipping down the barometer of life and appears to be heading towards the red list.

Think about it: How many times do you see someone use their indicators properly? If you do catch a glimpse of that elusive blinking light, chances are it’s been left on after a visit to the ITV centre, serving as a constant reminder of our collective failure to communicate effectively on the road.

Perhaps I am being too hard on these motorists? After all, navigating the complexities of modern driving can be a daunting task. Between dodging electric scooters, and mopeds passing each side of you as you look to pull out into traffic, avoiding people double parked when there is a parking space just 20m down the road, and trying to decipher the cryptic language of roundabouts, remembering to use your indicators might just be one step too far for some.

Reward the use of an inidcator with a smile

An indicator of our time

As we wrap up our journey through the perplexing world of disappearing indicators, one thing becomes abundantly clear: we’re witnessing a decline in blinker etiquette that rivals the plight of endangered species. While conservation efforts rightly focus on fauna and climate change, perhaps it’s time we extend our sympathy to the humble turn signal.

So, the next time you find yourself behind the wheel, remember the plight of the indicator—lost in the wilderness of modern driving. And if you do happen to spot one in the wild, blinking merrily away, give it a little smile of appreciation. After all, in this jungle of traffic, every blink counts.

Driving is Sharing

The DGT have launched a new road traffic campaign. It is called “Driving is sharing”.

Driving isn’t a solo act, folks! Many think they’re the lone rangers of the road, cruising through life with their steering skills as their shield against all perils. But let’s face it: road safety is a team sport!

That’s the gist behind the new awareness campaign that hit the airwaves recently, courtesy of the Traffic Department. With the catchy slogan “Over 40 million daily trips, yet some still think they’re driving solo,” they’re serving up a dose of reality. Through everyday scenarios, they’re showing drivers as both the problem and the solution.

In a friendly jab, they’re remixing Celine Dion’s classic “All By Myself” to showcase various drivers belting out tunes behind the wheel, thinking they own the road. But cue the reality check: the traffic jungle ain’t no solo gig, folks! Watch as their driving dreams collide with other cars, pedestrians, scooter riders, and whatnot.

The campaign, hitting screens and airwaves until April 12th, features TV spots ranging from 45 to 20 seconds, set to invade televisions, cinemas, and social media feeds. They’ve cooked up radio jingles, outdoor billboards, and print ads, along with bite-sized social media content, to drive the message home. So buckle up, amigos, and remember, it’s a highway, not your personal driveway!

Additionally, they’ve whipped up a webpage where users can play around with the campaign’s central concept, “you’re not alone,” through a video featuring a dual perspective. On one hand, you’ll experience the subjective view of the driver, complete with the campaign’s music. On the flip side, by hitting pause on the music, you’ll get a glimpse of the journey from the perspective of the other players: pedestrians, other cars, scooter riders, you name it. It’s like seeing the road through two sets of eyes, offering a quirky twist on the driving experience. So hop online and take a spin—it’s a wild ride!

How can you find out the correct air pressure for the tyres on your car?

correct air pressure for the tyres on your car
correct air pressure for the tyres on your car

The recommended tyre pressure for your car is usually found in the owner’s manual. Alternatively, on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb, or on the inside of the fuel filler cap. It’s essential to follow these guidelines. This insures optimal performance, fuel efficiency, and safety.

Regularly checking and maintaining the right tyre pressure is a simple yet effective way to enhance safety, save money, and reduce environmental impact.

You should check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold for the most accurate reading.

If you look at the above sticker you can see an arrow pointing down from the picture of the car. This shows the entries in the table below for front tyre pressure and rear tyre pressure.

You can also see on the left hand side of the table a drawing showing the load you are putting in your car. The first horizontal line shows what tyre pressures are front and rear for up to three people and light luggage. The second horizontal line on the table is if you have a maximum load in the car.

The table shows the two measures of pressure, bar and PSI. In Spain most tyre pumps are in bar. So if the vehicle with this sticker was carrying up to 3 people and light luggage you would make sure the tyre pressue was 2,5 (2.5 in English) for both the front and rear tyres.

Why is it important to maintain the correct air pressure for the tyres on your car?

  1. Safety: Proper tyre pressure enhances traction, reducing the risk of accidents, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
  2. Fuel Efficiency: Well-inflated tyres reduce rolling resistance, improving fuel efficiency and saving money on petrol/diesel.
  3. Tyre Longevity: Correct pressure helps distribute the vehicle’s weight evenly across the tyre tread, promoting even wear and extending tyre life. Tyre tread is one of the aspects that may be looked at in the regular ITV road safety checks.
  4. Handling and Performance: Adequate pressure ensures better vehicle handling, responsiveness, and overall performance.
  5. Reduced Carbon Emissions: Improved fuel efficiency results in lower carbon emissions, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Motorcycle police check June 2023 Spain

Motorcycle police check June 2023 Spain

As of June 15, 2023, 116 motorcyclists have died, 62 on weekends so far in 2023..

78% of motorcyclists who died did so on conventional roads.

57 motorcyclists died due to going off the road they were on, a type of accident in which no other vehicle is involved and in which a distraction or inappropriate speed is usually present.

It is a fact that with the arrival of good weather, motorcycle trips increase exponentially, especially on weekends when they become a recreational activity in itself.

For this reason, the General Directorate of Traffic carries out specific surveillance campaigns several times a year, in 2023 one of them this coming weekend and another in September, on the roads most frequented by motorists in order to control traffic. compliance with the most important regulations that affect motorcycle riding.

The number of motorcycle fatalities so far this year is above 2022 which makes the campaign that much more important.

The campaign, therefore, has the objective of trying to reduce fatal accidents involving this type of vehicle on weekends, for which the agents of the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard will disseminate the importance of respecting the rules and verifying that they are met.

EXTREME CAUTION: WEEKENDS AND CONVENTIONAL ROADS

Of the 345 people killed in traffic accidents up to June 15, 116 were motorcyclists (33.6%) and, of those 116, 78% (90 motorcyclists) died on conventional roads. If we take into account the data of motorists killed on conventional roads at weekends, this amounts to 53 people, almost half of the total.

Source: DGT.es

How to drive on a motorway in Spain

How to drive on a motorway in Spain

How to drive on a motorway in Spain

Motorways are built to help a large volume of traffic move from one town or city to another. They facilitate the flow of traffic, by separating vehicles going in one direction from those going in the other direction. They often have large clear illuminated signs which can provide useful information quickly after an accident, for example. Motorways are the safest roads to drive on but you still have to remain vigilant because some drivers are ignorant or forgetful of good driving conduct.

How to drive on a motorway in Spain

In no particular order here are some pointers on how to drive on a motorway in Spain.

  • Make sure you respect the distance between you and the vehicle in front. Have you allowed yourself enough time to slow down if someone ahead were to brake suddenly?
  • If you want to change lanes, then make sure you indicate. Indicators are not just for the ITV test although in some areas it is possible to believe it. Once you have changed lanes you should turn your indicator off.
  • The acceleration and deceleration lanes are meant for that purpose. If you are entering a motorway build up your speed in the acceleration lane to incorporate yourself into the motorway. If it is necessary to stop on the slip road on to a motorway, then make sure you stop at the beginning. This will enable you to accelerate and enter the motorway more safely when there is sufficient space. The idea of the slip road off the motorway or deceleration lane is just that. Use it to slow down rather than reducing your speed on the actual motorway.
  • Don’t hog the middle lane. In Spain you must always drive in the right hand lane unless you are overtaking or there is a queue of slow moving traffic. The middle lane and left lanes are only for overtaking. There are plenty of drivers who need reminding of this one!
  • Respect the speed limits. The maximum on a motorway in Spain is 120 kph for cars and motorcycles. The minimum speed is 60 kph unless you are in a traffic queue or there are other official warning signs stipulating a lower speed.
  • It is recommended that you take a break from driving every two hours or 200 kilometres of driving.
  • Do not use your mobile phone whilst driving. It’s dangerous and you could end up with 6 points on your licence and a fine.
    Make sure you have your V16 emergency light with you in case your car breaks down.

Summary

I doubt very much any of these pointers are new to the majority of people but I am sure we have all seen people touring a long in the middle lane, which means they are effectively blocking two lanes of the motorway, as it is illegal to overtake on the right. It does not hurt just to refresh our memory a little now and again.

Average speed cameras in Spain

average speed cameras in Spain

Average speed cameras were first installed on Spanish roads in 2010. They are not just features on motorways. You can also find them on dual carriageways as well as conventional two way roads.

A number of cameras work together and will calculate the average speed over a certain distance of the road. When you pass the first set of cameras your registration number is recorded. Then when you reach the end of the designated section of the road being checked you will pass the second set of cameras. This second set of cameras will again record your registration number. The system then calculates your average speed to see if you have exceeded the speed limit.

You need to have past both sets of cameras for the system to calculate your average speed. It does not matter if you change lanes as the cameras are linked together.

The sections of the road where these average speed cameras in Spain are placed will be indicated clearly by signage similar to that pictured.

If you are caught, then you could receive a fine and possibly penalty points as well.

average speed cameras in Spain

Cheap petrol in Spain

cheap petrol in Spain

We probably all know where the cheapest petrol station is in our area but what if we are making a longer journey that may require a fuel stop?

With the price of petrol and diesel rocketing of late it is good to know that help is at hand. GasAll is a mobile application you can download from Google Play or Apple’s App Store. The App will help you find the cheapest petrol prices in Spain.

When you first download the GasAll mobile phone app it will ask you to enter some information, such as whether your car runs on diesel or petrol, the size of the tank and after a quick search on the internet, if you don’t know it, the consumption figure for your motor.

GassAll

After the initial set up, when you open the app the first thing it will do is try and find your location. It will display a map showing the location of the petrol station locations nearby. You can tap the petrol station icons and it will come up with the price of the fuel relevant to your vehicle. It also shows the opening hours and the distance from your current location.

Tapping the display at the bottom of the screen with the price on it opens more detailed information. Scrolling down shows the estimated cost in fuel to get to the petrol station and what it will cost to completely fill your fuel tank. Then it also shows a figure which indicates the amount of money you will save based on the average price. Then at the very bottom you can click the blue button which will provide you with directions on how to get to the petrol station using google maps.

The application will also highlight if the petrol station has an offer. For example, if you fill up with a certain amount of petrol you get a free car wash or a discount on a set of saucepans!

cheap petrol in Spain

If you prefer tap on the menu button at the top of the screen and to the right you will see a list of all the petrol stations near where you are. It also shows the price for the fuel as well as the cost to fill the tank completely. You can switch from lowest price to distance from your location.

I checked in my local area and the difference between the cheapest price for unleaded 95 and the most expensive was 13 cents a litre! If you are filling your tank, then that will make a difference.

The App already has over 100,000 downloads from the Google Play Store and for those of you who really make long journeys or later this year will make a lengthy trip by car for your holiday then this App may be of interest to you.

GasAll mobile phone App

Are Dash Cams Legal in Spain

Are dashcams legal in Spain

Contents

Dash Cams have become increasing popular over the years and are widely used in some countries.

Some people might want to use the Dash Cam to record their road trip. However, there is an increasing number of people who like the idea that the Dash Cam may help them in the event of a road accident.

The Dash Cam recording could help prove who was at fault in a road traffic accident. Without proof it is often one person’s word against the other. Without witnesses, police attendance or an incident that is clear cut, it sometimes leads to a frustrating outcome. Whilst it does not seem to be prolific in Spain, there are many social media videos out there where fraudsters step out in front of a vehicle in the hope of being able to make a claim against you and make some easy cash.

The question is though are Dash Cams Legal in Spain? Well, the short answer is yes, but you must be aware that Spain has some stringent Data Protection legislation. Please read the next section carefully.

Data Protection Law

The Data protection Laws in Spain prohibit the publication of photos and video of other people, without their express consent. Only the police and other emergency services are allowed to record images in public places. Unauthorised persons recording in public spaces could fall foul of the Agencia Española de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) and receive a fine.

The images recorded by a Dash Cam can only be used for domestic use. If you were to publish them, for example on social media, then you would need the express consent of the people appearing in the images. Without it you would have to blur faces and disguise number plates and anything else that might lead to the people in the images being identifiable.

Recording images for your own use, a road trip record for example, is not illegal but continued recording could be considered surviellance and therefore fall under the Data Protection Laws in Spain. For example, if you left the camera on whilst the car was parked over night this could be considered video surveillance. Many banks, shops etcetera have a visible notice informing you that you are being recorded. These entities are registered with the AEPD and have to adhere to the Data protection Laws of Spain.

There was a story in the press last November of a man in A Coruña who left his Dash Cam recording the exterior to try and catch the person that was scratching his car. The police spotted the camera and the car was towed to the Municipal Compund. The owner of the car was hit with a 1,000 euro fine. The authorities concluded that the vehicle owner did not prove sufficient justification for the camera to be recording in a public place.

One of the issues is that under the Data protection laws in Spain people have a right to privacy. You cannot go round recording people indiscriminately. However, does the person who recorded the images on their Dash Cam have a legitiamte right to use those images as evidence, for example? This is a gray area and may boil down as to whether the recording is deemed to have met the prinicples of suitability and proportionality without violating the other parties rights under the data protection law.

Under the data protection law as it stands, an insurance company probably could not use the images directly but they could possibly be presented to a judicial court.

Installation

The installation of a DashCam in your vehicle is allowed but there are certain common sense rules that must be taken into account to ensure safe driving. The placement of the device should not interfere with your ability to drive the vehicle. The device should not obstruct your field of vision from the vehicle.

Using a Dash Cam

You must be careful not to manipulate your dash Cam whilst driving. The same as using your mobile phone whilst driving if you are switching on/off or using some other feature on your Dash cam whilst driving then you can be fined. The fine is 200 euros plus the loss of up to six points on your licence.

Will an insurance company accept the images or videos to help with an insurance claim?

With the data protection laws as they are in Spain it is currently unlikely that your insurance company will accept the video images recorded by a dashcam to assist with any insurance claim. This is because, as mentioned above, the recording of these images may breach the Data Protection laws in Spain. Use of these images could result in a fine for you and possible the insurance company.

Two of the issues here are:

1. The Data protection Laws in Spain prohibit the publication of photos and video of other people, without their express consent.

2. Continued recording could be considered surviellance and therefore fall under the Data Protection Laws in Spain. Instruction 1/2006 of the AEPD. If you are not registered then again you could fall foul of the law that is desgiend to protect people’s privacy.

Taking photos after an accident to help show your insurance company the damage and position of vehicles is fine. However, they are unlikely to want to see the video of the incident recorded by a dash cam.

This article has been produced in good faith to provide some answers to general questions regarding the use of Dash cams. It does not constitute any form of legal advice. The laws and their interpretation can change over time.

Speed limits Spain from May 2021

Speed Limits Spain from May 2021

From 11th May 2021 the speed limits in urban areas are changing. Please make yourself aware of the new maximum speed limits. Excessive speed could result in a fine and a possible loss of points.

Whilst you cannot avoid paying a fine if it is due you can make sure you are advised promptly and can take advantage of the discounted period by opting for automatic notification of traffic fines in Spain.

New speed limits Spain from May 2021

Two-way road. One lane in each direction

On roads in town or cities where there is only one lane in the direction you are travelling and there is a raised pavement then the maximum speed limit is 30 kilometres per hour.

Speed limits Spain May 2021
Two way road with raised pavement each side. Maximum speed 30 kph.

Road and pavement at the same height

On those town and urban roads where there is no pavement or the pavement is at the same level as the traffic the speed is further reduced to 20 kilometres per hour.

new speed limits spain may 2021 20 kph
Max speed 20 kph when the road and pavement are at the same level.

Two or more lanes in same direction

If the road has two or more lanes in the direction you are travelling, then the maximum speed is 50 kilometres per hour in cities and towns.

Speed limits Spain May 2021
Two lanes or more in the same direction and a raised pavement the max speed limit is 50 kph.

General rules overridden by road sign

Please be aware that these speed limits are the maximum allowed. The town hall may erect signage that indicates a reduction to these maximums. For example, a road with two lanes in one direction and a raised pavement could have a speed limit introduced of less than 50 kilometres per hour if the town hall decides.

Speed limits Spain May 2021
Maximum speed 40 kilometres per hour as indicated by the road sign.

82% of road deaths in urban areas involve the most vulnerable of road users. These are; pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The risk of a fatality is reduced by 80% if the speed of impact is reduced from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour.

Some towns and cities have already introduced new signs but remember from 11th May the new speed limits are nationwide.

Speed limits for interurban roads and motorways in Spain

Motorways 120 kilometres per hour.

Dual carriageways 120 kilometres per hour.

Roads with just one lane in the direction you are travelling 90 kilometres per hour.

Please note these are the maximum and there could be signage indicating a maximum speed lower than these limits.

Source: DGT.es

V16 Emergency Light Spain

v16 emergency light

The use of two warnings triangles if your vehicle breaks down has been a legal requirement in Spain since 1999. These will now be phased out under the latest DGT plans to improve road safety.

At the moment, if a vehicle breaks down then the driver is supposed to aid other motorists by putting out two warning triangles. One goes 50m behind the stranded vehicle to warn traffic that there is a hazard ahead. If the vehicle is on a two-way road then the driver puts another triangle 50m in front of the vehicle to warn oncoming traffic.

A new law was passed and will see the replacement of the warning triangles with a flashing orange light. It came into effect in July 2021 although both means of advising other traffic will be legal until the end of 2024.

Tragically, between 2019 and 2020 twenty-eight road deaths occurred whilst people were getting out of their vehicle. This new method should reduce that figure.

PLEASE NOTE: From 1 January 2026 the V-16 warning light must also have a built-in geolocation. Older versions of the V16 device will have to be replaced. The geolocation system interacts with a DGT (Direccion General de Trafico) system which notifies the traffic authorities of the location of your vehicle. Both types are available to purchase but if you are buying one or replacing one then we recommend you purchase one of the new connected type V16 warning lights.

v16 emergency light spain

The V16 emergency light can be placed on the roof which will avoid having to leave the safety of the vehicle in what could be a busy and dangerous road. They are fitted with a magnet to keep them in place.

Apart from emitting a flashing orange light to warn other traffic the latest models are fitted with a facility, through connected technology. This technology will communicate the activation of the V16 warning light and give its geopositioning.

These new connected V16 lights are already available.

After 1 July 2021 there will be no need to carry the two warning triangles if you have a homologated V16 emergency light in Spain.

v16 emergency light spain

Make sure the product you buy is homologated. This means it meets the legal requirements set out by the Spanish authorities. In addition, if you are buying it now then we recommend you buy the connceted type V16 light to avoid having to replace it again from 2026 when they must all be connected.

The connected types available include:

If you already possess a non-connected type it remains valid until 2 January 2026.

The V16 light is already widely available.

You can source the three indicated in the section above by following the weblinks provided there. Alternatively, you can purchase products from carrefour or Amazon for example. Again remember to opt for the “connected” models to avoid them being obsolete by 2026.