Find cheap petrol in Spain 2019

The price of petrol in Spain has risen by more than 12% since the beginning of 2019 whilst diesel has risen by just over 7%.

With the summer season upon us, we are entering one of the biggest periods of the year, as far as vehicle displacements are concerned.

The increase in fuel prices, however, has only seen them return to the same levels they were at this time last year and are some way off the highest prices on record of 1.52 for a litre of petrol recorded in early September 2012.

Where to find cheap petrol in Spain

There are ways to find bargains when it comes to fuel. Firstly, the government kindly provides a mechanism of searching for cheap petrol prices in your area. Secondly, apart from the supermarket petrol stations, there has been a number of low-cost chains of petrol stations opening. Some are totally automated. Others have attendants to assist in normal business hours.

After the introduction of new legislation in 2013, there has been a significant increase in the number of low-cost service stations. It is thought that the low-cost petrol stations in Spain now make up nearly 25% of the market.

Is low-cost fuel in Spain worse quality than the main brands?

There are rumours of course that the quality of the fuel in these low-cost petrol stations is somehow inferior to those of the likes of Repsol, BP and Cepsa. However, all fuel is distributed from the refinery to the petrol stations by the same intermediary, a company called Centro Logístico de Hidrocarburos (CLH).

That means that CLH delivers the same product to everyone. Having said that there could be some differences. CLH delivers the legal specification of fuel to the petrol station companies storage facilities. Those companies may then add supplements. Perhaps these additives will improve one companies fuel at the pump over another. The larger brands will tell you their additives will prolong the life of your engine or your engine will use the fuel more efficiently. However, the origin of the fuel has come from the same place.

4,446 people caught not wearing a seatbelt in one week

4,446 people caught not wearing a seatbelt in one week

In a week, 4,446 people were spotted not wearing a seatbelt. 75.6% of people who did not use a seatbelt were circulating on conventional roads.

Incredibly, 262 minors travelled without a seatblet or child restraint system, 62 of them in the front seat.

These figures relate to a short campaign run by the Genereal Directorate of Traffic (DGT) from 11 to 17 March. This is therefore just a snapshot of the problem.

Wearing a seatbelt in a car in Spain is a legal requirement and is not optional. So too, is the use of suitable homologated child seats.

Seatbelt and child seat police campaign

Seatbelt and child seat police campaign

The Dirección general de Trafico (DGT) currently has a campaign to monitor use of seatbelts and car seats underway.

Statistics show that use of seatbelts could reduce fatalaties in road traffic accidents by a further 25%.

Despite the well-known safety benefits of using a seatbelt there are still an element of the population that don’t use them. If they are fitted in the rear seats in Spain then they must also be used.

Details of child seats in Spain can be found here.

Reduce the danger to you and others if you breakdown with a help flash warning light

Help Flash

Have you ever thought that if you broke down that putting out your warning triangle 50 metres behind and in front of your car might put you in significant danger?

Well, a Spanish company called Netun Solutions are marketing a product that could take that concern away. Help flash is a safety light that you can store in your glove compartment and bring out when you breakdown or have an accident.

It is magnetic so can be stuck on the top of the car.  Once in contact with the metal it will automatically display an orange flashing light. The light is visible for up to a kilometre away.

Although not specifically designed for disabled or pregnant drivers the benefits are obvious. Placing a warning triangle fifty metres behind and/or in front of your vehicle is all the more difficult for people in these situations.

help flash promotional video

The light is weatherproof and is powered by a 9v battery. It has up to two and a half hours battery life, which is much more than it usually takes for a breakdown truck to rescue you.

help flash complies with the vehicle regulations in Spain and is a recognized danger signaling device.

The law hasn’t done away with the warning triangles yet. However, it is now up to the driver to decide whether it is safe to leave the vehicle and place the warning triangle 50 metres behind the vehicle. If the driver is not convinced it is safe to do so then he can put his Help Flash light on top of the vehicle and stay inside with seatbelts fastened.

Motorbikes don’t have warning triangles but they could use help flash

It is also possible for motorcyclists to use the product. They of course don’t have warning triangles. The light can be attached magnetically to the bike or a crash barrier at the side.

The product is available to by directly from the company and it is also available on amazon.es

How to complete the accident report form in Spain

How to complete the accident report form in Spain

If you have an accident, your car insurance in Spain enables you to deal with a collision between two or more drivers by just completing an accident report form. It is called a Declaración Amistosa de accidente . The form is usually included in the pack that your car insurance in Spain comes with. If not, you can ask your broker for one.

Once complete you take a copy and so does the other party and then send it to your respective insurance companies. The form is universal across the insurance companies and completing this form can really speed up the settlement of a claim.

However, it only Works if both parties involved agree.  Neither you or the other party are obliged to complete it.

It is also not compulsory to sign the form and if you have any doubts as to what has been written on the form then do not sign it. This form carries a huge amount of weight in settling a claim and if you have signed it then you have basically agreed to what has been indicated on it.

Never alter the form once each person has a separate copy

Also, it is important to remember never change the form once you have separated it and given one copy to the other party involved in the accident.

If you remember something afterwards that you wish you had written on the form, then put it on a separate piece of paper. Don’t ever alter the declaración amistosa de accidente, once it has been divided between the two parties.

Just before we get into how to complete the document, what do you do if the other person doesn’t want to complete the declaración?  You can’t insist they complete or sign the document. If you have any doubt, then you should call the police to attend the incident and they will make a report.

To make a claim the minimum you need to obtain is the registration number of the car. However, without a declaración or a police report it might be more difficult to get a favourable result.

Remember, if it is safe to do so then take some photographs of the damage to the vehicles involved on your mobile phone and send them to the broker.

How to complete the Declaración Amistosa de Accidente

The form is divided into three columns with some global information at the top. There is a grid near the bottom for drawing the vehicles and their movement to help show what happened, near the bottom. It doesn’t matter if you complete the form as vehicle A or vehicle B. This is what you need to put in each of the numbered boxes. (You might not be able to complete all of them, it is not an exam, but give as much information as you can):

  1. Enter the date and the time
  2. Pais means country. So if you are outside Spain put the country here. Lugar means place. Here enter the name of the road and kilometre number if you can locate it and you are on a motorway for example.
  3. In this area you should indicate if anyone was injured, regardless of how lightly.
  4. In this box you can mark whether damage was also done to other vehicles, perhaps parked at the side of the road, or to other objects, for example a road sign or lamp post.
  5. Here you can enter the contact name and details for any witnesses to the accident.
  6. Put your name, surname, address, post code and telephone number or email details.
  7. Enter the details of your vehicle. Make, model and importantly the registration number. (Make sure the registration number of the other party is also added to their part of the form correctly).
  8. Enter the details of your vehicle. Make, model and importantly the registration number. (Make sure the registration number of the other party is also added to their part of the form correctly).
  9. The driver details go here. It might be that the car insurance in Spain is in the name of one person but someone else is driving the vehicle. In which case these details should also be completed. Name, surname, date of birth (fecha de nacimiento) address and contact telephone number. If the driving licence details are to hand you can add them but at this stage it is not fundamental.
  10. You will see drawings of a motorcycle, a car and a van in this box. Draw an arrow showing where the initial impact was with your particular type of vehicle.
  11. Write a list of the damage to your vehicle.
  12. This large central area in White lists the common incidents that occur on the road. Tick the box(es) for your vehicle (vehicle A or Vehicle B) that describe what was happening. For a translated list see the English version of the form.
  13. Here you draw the road layout and the vehicles showing how the accident occurred. You can use arrows to indicate the direction of the vehicle, their positions. Add names of the streets if you think it important and useful.
  14. In this box you can add anything else you think is relevant.
  15. This is where both parties sign.

Once completed and signed keep one copy and hand the other to the other driver involved in the incident. It doesn’t matter who has which (but I suggest as it is sensistised try and get the original copy as it will be easier to read).

Whether you complete a declaración Amistosa de Accidente or not, please contact your broker or insurance Company promptly after an incident.

Remember, if you believe you or anyone travelling with you might have an injury, regardless of how minor, then make sure you or they go promptly to a medical centre or hospital to be checked out. Ask for a medical report stating that you might need it for insurance purposes. Copies of these reports should be sent to your insurance company or broker.

Finally, if you did use the Declarcion Amistosa de Accidente then remember to ask your broker for a replacement one, just in case.

You can download a copy of the accident report form / Declaración Amistosa de Accidente here. Here is a version in English to help you complete the Spanish form. We live in Spain so if you have an accident chances are it will be with a Spanish speaking person and to make life easier for everyone then use this English version to help you complete the Spanish form. Why would a Spanish speaker want to sign a form in English in his/her country?

UK driving licences in Spain after 29 March 2019

UK driving licences in Spain after 29 March 2019

Although the Brexit deadline date is fast approaching the UK government only recently added information to its website regarding UK citizens using their UK driving licence in Spain.

According to the British Government website, if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on the 29 March 2019 then you will not be able to exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish one after that date

You will have to take a new driving test in Spain to obtain a Spanish licence.

If you wish to exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one then you can read our article on switching to a Spanish driving licence for guidance.

The Government website continues that, ” you might need an IDP to drive in all EU or EEA countries…” They provide a link to the AA website where you can find more information on International driving Permits.

According to the AA website mutual recognition of UK and EU driving licences may end. However, there is still nothing definitive.

Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning car insurance spain

During the winter months Spain can be subjected to some very heavy rain. On some occasions. rather than a prolonged consistent rainfall it can be quick and torrential with a huge amount of water falling in a very short space of time. Weather a downpour or a steady stream of rain the result can be standing water on roads, which is an obvious danger to the motorist.

It might seem obvious but in wet conditions the first thing you should do is reduce your speed.  The vehicle grips the road through the tyre and when the road is wet the tyre has less adhesion to the road. The result is it takes longer to slow down. So reduce your speed and remember to respect the distance between you and the vehicles in front. If it is going to take longer to slow down, then the gap between you and the vehicles ahead should be increased.

How does aquaplaning happen?

One of the problems of water on the road is that it can accumulate in front of your tyres and build up quicker than the tyre and weight of the vehicle can disperse it. The result is that a layer of water builds up under the tyre and you lose contact with the road. The problem is enhanced the faster you are driving and the deeper the water but there are also other factors that influence the possible chances of aquaplaning which we will come on to. Further danger occurs when you suddenly come across a puddle which can be difficult to see.

If you lose contact with the road surface due to aquaplaning, you will hear the engine noise increase and the wheels will start spinning. This can be particularly dangerous if you are cornering as you will begin to skid. If the vehicle has slid and the tyres regain traction, then the vehicle may suddenly jolt as it corrects its trajectory to the direction of the tyres.

How to recover from aquaplaning

If you start to lose control of the vehicle due to aquaplaning and you are travelling in a straight line, then ease off the accelerator to give the vehicle a chance to regain grip of the tarmac. Trying to change direction may cause the vehicle to slide. If you need to brake, then do it calmly as the vehicle could become unstable.

If the phenomenon occurs whilst you are turning or you start to skid, then take your foot off the accelerator and despite your natural reactions, turn the steering wheel gently in the direction of the slide as this should help you regain grip.

Once you have recovered control of the vehicle pull in somewhere safely and catch your breath for a few minutes.

How to avoid aquaplaning

As always the best advice is to avoid the situation in the first place. If there is a lot of rain do you need to drive your vehicle at all?

Reduce your speed.

Increase the distance between you and vehicle in front.

You can also reduce the chances of aquaplaning by ensuring your tyres are roadworthy.  Worn tyres will be more susceptible to aquaplaning. Under inflated tyres can also increase the problem, so you should check tyre pressure regularly.

A free tool to help you avoid problems on the road in Spain

E-Traffic from the Directorate General de Trafico

Planning your journey and revising it to avoid delays is made easier using an online tool from the Directorate General de Trafico (DGT). It is called E Traffic and with it you can see where there are road accidents, bad weather, congestion and roadworks among other problems.

The website is available in English and French as well as the regional languages of Spain.

You are able to zoom in on the map or reduce it to your province to make it easier to see what is relevant to your journey.

E Traffic DGT

The incidents are listed in the left-hand margin. Near the top on the left-hand side, you can select the province relevant to you. You can then further localise the search by selecting the town or the road that is important to you. After you have decided on the filters you want you can click “search” on the right-hand side to narrow down the information.

This image tells us there was an accident at 12:30 on the A7 at Elche. It is causing congestion between kilometres 516 and 514.

You can click on the incident to receive more details.

If you regularly search the same area you can register on the system and save your searched making it easier and quicker to find the information relevant to you.

Speed limits change on Spanish roads

In the spring of 2019, the speed limits in Spain will change.  The Law is being passed that will see a simplification of the current speed limits. The change will mean that cars, motorcycles and buses will be limited to 90 kph on conventional roads, whilst all other vehicles must travel at a speed of no more than 80 kph. An exception will be where the conventional road has a physical separation between to two opposing flows of traffic. In this case, the maximum speed limit will be 100 kph for cars and motorcycles.

You can exceed the 90 kph limit in a car or motorcycle if you are overtaking a vehicle on a conventional road. In fact, you can increase your speed to 110 kph to overtake but then must fall back to the speed limit. The idea is to allow swift and safe overtaking, however, you can only exceed the normal speed limit if the vehicle you overtake is not driving already at 90 kph. If the vehicle in front is doing 80 kph for eaxmple you can temporarily exceed the speed limit. If the vehcile in front is already doing 90 kph then you have no right to increase your velocity to overtake.

On a motorway, there will be three speed limits. Cars a motorcycles will continue to be allowed to travel at 120 kph. Trucks and vans will be restricted to a maximum of 90 kph. The remainder of vehicles will have a maximum limit of 100 kph and this includes buses.

The reasoning behind the reduction in speed limits relates to the Directorate deTrafico (DGT) goal of further reducing the number of road deaths. There are numerous studies linking speed with road deaths. This amendment to speed limits is estimated to reduce the number of casualties by a further 10%.

Accidents on conventional roads is twice as high as those on motorways so it seems logicalthat this is an area the DGT look at.

Sweden recently reduced the speed limit in their country from 90 kph to 80 kph which saw a huge 41% reduction in road deaths.

It is also worth noting that the speed indicated on the sign is the maximum allowed and is not necessarily a target.

Have you seen a speed limit in a square sign with a blue background? Well this sign is used to recommend a maximum speed limit. This is not the same as the round sign with a red border which indicates the maximum you are allowed to travel at. The blue background is a recommendation.

Train strike could mean busier roads

People should think about whether they will need more time for their journeys tomorrow as the CC.OO union instigate a train strike across Spain. 

The reason given for the strike is staff shortages and it likely the services provided tomorrow will be 30% less than usual.

The strike will affect the fast speed AVE trains as well as some of the local Cercanias routes.

A reduction in trains could lead to more traffic on the road and with it being a Friday increased delays.