DGT and Guardia Civil to control roads preventing travel to second homes

The General Directorate of Traffic and the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard will establish controls on the exit roads of large cities to prevent displacement to second homes due to the proximity of the weekend.

DGT and Guardia Civil to control roads preventing travel to second homes

The Civil Guard since yesterday is carrying out 30,000 roadblocks and will be reinforced throughout the weekend in order to monitor compliance with the imposed traffic restrictions.

Since the declaration of the State of Alarm last Saturday, March 14, the freedom of movement of people is limited and it is not possible to circulate on the roads for public use, except for the activities contained in article 7 of RD 463 / 2020.

This limitation of circulation is an essential measure to face the public health emergency situation caused by COVID-19 in which we find ourselves.

ITV Campaign January 2020

ITV Campaign January 2020

The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has just finished a campaign using 30 licence plate readers. The campaign ran for a week finishing on Sunday 26th January.

Statistics indicate that the risk of death or serious injury is double when vehicles of 10 to 15 years old are involved compared with cars under five years of age. Clearly the continual improvement in driver and passenger safety measures will play its part. However, maintenance of older vehicles is also an important factor.

30 cameras used to check valid ITVs

The Guardia Civil used the cameras along with local and regional police to read number plates and check the vehicle had a valid ITV certificate in place, similar to an MOT in the UK. The authorities then reproted vehciles without an uptodate ITV. The frequency of ITV tests depends on the age and type of vehicle you are using.

Importance of tyre tread

One of the important features of safety is the tyres. These are after all what helps keep the vehicle on the road. The recommended minimum of tread is 3mm although the legal minimum amount of tyre tread is 1.6mm. Incorrect tyre pressure, damaged or faulty suspension and bad wheel alignment can cause additional tyre wear.


Other important elements that are regularly left for another day are vehicle lights. Not only do the lights help us see in poor conditions and at night they also help other drivers see us.

Over time lights lose their intensity. It is suggested they be changed every 40 kilometres or two years, whichever is the sooner. You should change both headlights at the same time is also the recommended advice. In a lot of cases their use is symmetrical.

Windscreen damage is usually repaired for free

It is also advisable to check your windscreen. With most insurers now offering a fast and free windscreen replacement service there really is little excuse not to get a crack repaired or replaced. You can often drive into a place like CarGlass or CristalBox and give them your insurance details and they will check with the insurer for you.

Remember if you have paid for your ITV to keep the sticker in the front windscreen. This is a legal requirement.

Source: DGT.es

9000 drivers caught driving unsafe vehicles in a week

9000 drivers caught driving unsafe vehicles in a week

A vehicle in poor condition not only increases the risk of accident to its occupants but it is also an added danger to other road users.

In just one week 9,471 drivers have been denounced by the Guardia Civil agents for driving with their vehicle in an inadequate condition.

180,000 vehicles checked in 7 days

During the seven days of campaign, 183,838 vehicles of all types have been checked (cars, motorcycles, vans, trucks, buses …) and 10,121 offences were identified.

The purpose of the latest campaign was to check that vehicles were in a safe condition to be circulating on Spain’s roads. Specific focus was on safety measures such as tyres and vehicle lights and up to date ITV.

The proper maintenance of the vehicle is essential in road safety, especially when the average age of the vehicles in which the fatalities of interurban road accidents were traveling in 2018 was 13 years for cars, motorcycles 9.7 years and 14 , 6 years in the case of trucks up to 3,500 kg.


During the seven days, 169 vehicles were immobilized at the time of carrying out the control, among them, 52 trucks, 49 vans and 58 cars, because the conditions of the vehicles with which they circulated did not meet the minimum guarantees for them to do so safely.

Among the most important deficiencies that the agents have found on the road is vehicles circulating with an expired, unfavourable or negative ITV. This resulted in 4,457 offences.

tyre car insurance spain

Tyre pressure

Another of the essential safety elements are the tyres. 539 drivers were identified to have been driving with tread depth below the legal minimum of 1.6 mm; having irregular wear due to bad suspension or incorrect alignment or circulating with the wrong tyre pressure.

414 drivers have been sanctioned for faulty lights. 211 received fines for a damaged or visually impeded registration plate. In addition, another 773 drivers have been denounced for not carrying the mandatory documentation of the vehicle (driving licence, driving license and ITV card).

Excess weight

In respect of larger vehicles, 277 trucks and vans were found to be circulating with a weight greater than that allowed for the vehicle in question and another 216 circulated with an incorrect load conditioning.

Source: DGT

Noise radars. Will they become a feature in Spain?

Noise radars Spain

When I was six or seven, like a lot of children, my friends and I used to fold cardboard from cereal packets and attach them to the frame of our push bikes with a clothes peg. We would then peddle really hard and try and make our bike sound like a motorbike as the cardboard flicked across the spokes of the rear wheel.

It didn’t make us go any faster but it sounded great. It was fun and we were only six or seven years old. Like most people I grew out of it.

A peaceful coffee interrupted

However, we have all been there haven’t we? Sat on the terrace of your local bar sipping a delicious cup of Spanish coffee when some idiot rides by on a scooter or quad bike with an exhaust system that wouldn’t sound out of place at a MotoGP event.

I understand if you like your vehicle but not the exhaust shape or to some extent if you want to change the sound that comes from it. But if you want to change it so it makes my ears bleed or irritates everyone within a 1 kilometre radius then I think the problem is more yours than mine.

I see this need to fettle with your exhaust as an extension of my bicycle with its folded cereal packet. However, it is no longer being done by children and furthermore the result annoys people.

All bikes in Spain must adhere to a European wide sound limit, the level of which depends on the displacement of the machine. Once sold some owners then decide to customize their scooter, quad, motorbike by removing the muffler or fixing an exhaust system that sounds like it should be on a race bike or even a space rocket. Although it is mainly scooters and motorcyclists that seem to be the main culprits there are some car drivers that feel a need to change the sound that their vehicle generates.

I am a motorcycle rider and I love to attend motorcycle races but I have never understood the need to make my road bike sound like a bike that races on a circuit. It is also often the case, these customised exhaust systems are added to low performance bikes with no significant performance benefit.

So why do people do it? I do not have the answer but a solution to this problem could be coming our way.

Noise radar in Spain

Well, for those of us that want a quiet cup of coffee in our local bar there may be a solution on the horizon. Noise radar.

Switzerland and France already have noise radars implemented. These devices are able to pick up noise from the street and using triangulation can identify if it is coming from a particular source. The vehicle can then be identified and if necessary a fine issued to the owner of the vehicle.

Clearly the current legislation is not policed as I have lived in Spain for over fifteen years and have never heard of anyone being stopped for a noisy bike although it may have happened on rare occasions.

With the possible introduction of noise radar in Spain perhaps people will think twice before roaring down the road. There is no need for extra police officers, just a machine in the street that will issue tickets to noisy offenders.

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 V16 Emergency Light Spain

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.