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.


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.

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