MiDGT mobile application

MiDGT mobile application

MiDGT mobile application is the official name of the android application from the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) in Spain.

MiDGT mobile application 1

Launched in March this year it gives the user access to their driving licence, the number of points they retain on their driving licence as well as details about Spanish vehicles registered in their name.

You can update your mobile phone and email address held by the DGT and authorise the receipt of notifications from the DGT.

When you log in you will see your photo, your points summary and the vehicles you own listed further down.

In the top left corner are the three lines which opens up a menu. From here you can add your mobile phone number and email to the records that the DGT hold and also switch on or off a button to receive notifications.

Next to the welcome message and photo of the registered user is the option “Ver mi carnet”. Click here and this takes you to a copy of your Spanish driving licence.

Copy of your Spanish driving licence

MiDGT mobile application 3

Once you click “Ver mi carnet” on the DGT mobile application your driving licence appears. It will show all the details of the original plastic card that you probably have in your wallet. Your date of birth, DNI/NIE etcetera. You can click to turn the card on the MiDGT mobile application around. This shows you the list of vehicle categories you have permission to drive. The dates of when you were authorised to drive each category of vehicle and the expiry date for each category is also shown in the same format as it is on the original pink plastic card licence.

This image explains the front of the driving licence as it appears on the MiDGT mobile application. The letters and numbers next to row headed 9) are the categories of vehicles you have permission to drive.

MiDGT mobile application 4

In the top right corner you will see a blue arrow forming almost a circle. Click this icon and you are presented with the reverse side of your driving licence.

Here you have more details about the category of vehicles you have permission to drive. When you were authorised to drive them and when the category expires.

If you return to the first page we looked at, the one when you access the application then lower down you will see the list of vehicles registered in your name.

Here you can click on each one to find out more information about each one.

MiDGT mobile application

List of your Spanish vehicles

There is information on the make and model of the vehicle, what fuel it uses and the engine size (cilindrada).

You will also find the VIN / Bastidor number and the date the vehicle was first registered. Now of course, it also has the environmental rating shown.

Further down the individual vehicle page you have confirmation of whether it passed the last ITV and very usefully the date the current ITV expires.

Lower down the page are the insurance records of the vehicle and the insurance renewal date.

For each vehicle registered in your name there is a record. You can access them one by one from the front page of the MiDGT mobile application.

The DGT plan to expand the use of the application. The idea is you will be able to carry out various administrative tasks from your mobile phone. In the future, you should be able to pay relevant fees using the MiDGT mobile application, pay traffic fines, identify the driver who caused the traffic infraction if it was not you that was driving.

In a later stage they intend to enable users to include matriculation and transfer of vehicle ownership using the MiDGT mobile application.

How to download the application

The application can be downloaded using your android phone’s play store or if you are an apple user from the App Store.

To access the application you will either have to have a digital signature installed on your mobile phone or have access to the Cl@ve PIN application as part of the security measures to access the information.

To log in the first time I used the Cla@ve PIN application I already have installed on my phone. It makes it a bit cumbersome the first time but then the next time I wanted to log in I just had to use my finger print and went smoothly straight into the application.

Although the MiDGT mobile application has limited functionality at the moment, the promised further developments will make dealing with Tráfico a lot easier in the future.

One final point, for the time being we still recommend you have possession of your physical driving licence on you whilst driving.

He hit me from a side road on my right. How is that my fault?

There are several common misunderstandings related to car insurance claims in Spain and this is one of them.

“I was driving along near where I live, when someone pulled out from a road to the right and hit my car.  I checked the other driver was OK. Then we looked at the damage to each other’s vehicles. Finally, as we began to complete the accident report form details and talk about what had happened and I was astonished when he said to me that the accident was my fault!”

“So we rang the local police who came to attend the incident and I said that I was travelling along the road and he pulled out from a side road to my right.”

car hit me from the right

“The policeman had a look at the exit of the side road and then advised me that the other driver was in fact correct. I couldn’t believe it and thought the policeman must have had it in for me!”

How can it by my fault when he came out of the road to my right as I was driving straight ahead?

According to Article 57 Unmarked intersections, you must give way to vehicles that are approaching from your right. The exceptions to this are:

  1. Vehicles on a paved road will have priority over those on a non-paved road.
  2. Vehicles on rails have a priority over other road users.
  3. Roundabouts. Those already on the roundabout have priority over those intending to enter the roundabout.
  4. Vehicles travelling on a motorway have priority over those intending to enter the motorway.

Violations of these rules are a serious traffic offence. You may receive a fine.

Be careful if hit by a car coming from a side road on your right. The default position of your insurance company in Spain and that of the company of the other driver will be it is your fault. The insurance companies have certain agreements between them (convenios) that are in place to speed up claims so that victims are dealt with swiftly.

All the same, the default position may not always be correct. Look for road markings and signage. Take photos of the cars positions (if safe to do so) and the road you are on and the one the other car came out of. If there is a sign saying that the other driver should give way or stop then take a photo of it. The people who deal with your and the other driver’s claim are in an office possible 1,000s of kilometres away they won’t know the street or perhaps even the town.

Without this proof your insurance company will almost certainly have to accept responsibility.

Breakdown recovery Spain / Accident recovery Spain

breakdown recovery spain

Most car insurance in Spain will automatically include accident and breakdown recovery. However, there are differences in the cover provided. Some companies offer a comprehensive package in their cover as standard. Others offer more flexibility but if you don’t make enquiries you could end up with very limited service.

A few companies will only provide breakdown assistance, for example, if you are a minimum distance away from your home. So if you wake up and need to get to work or the airport to pick up relatives and the car won’t start you are on your own. Other companies offer cover from 0 (zero) kilometres. This means in the situation above they will come at get you started or tow you to the garage.

Limited towing distance

Other differences you might come across is the maximum distance that the insurance company will tow you. Alternatively, the distance the tow truck will travel might be calculated by the cost of the tow truck. So the insurance company might provide the service up to a limit of “x” amount of euros.

You can usually ask to be taken to your destination, your home address or your chosen garage within the limits set out in the breakdown recovery service stipulated in your policy. If the distance exceeds what you contracted, then the Spanish car insurance company recovery service will take you to the nearest garage for assistance instead.

Time to reach you

These days the majority of companies will get the recovery vehicle to you within the hour. They seem to have this well organised now. Perhaps why a few now offer compensation if the tow truck (Grua) arrives late. Whilst that might be welcome after the event it is hardly the reason to choose your car insurance in Spain.

Various companies may well try and fix the car where it has broken down. If it is something minor that can be done safely at the side of the road, for example, and within a short period of time. Remember your insurance breakdown recovery will try and help you get back on the road but they are not responsible for the cost of replacement parts.

Again depending on what level of breakdown recovery service you purchase, if it is not possible to repair the vehicle the same day then you the insurer may make a contribution towards hotel expenses. The amount, the length of stay and other conditions are dictated by your policy. This type of cover for breakdown and accident recovery could also include other European countries. If you travel abroad this might be an important consideration.

Hire car or taxi

There may be times when the vehicle remains immobilised for several days as a result of an accident or a major breakdown. Depending on what you have contracted in your policy then you might have the option to obtain a hire car to get you home or to your final destination. Or perhaps the insurance provider will organise a taxi.

Each insurance company is different so it is not possible to give a definitive guide here. The purpose of this article is to get you to think about what you might expect from your accident and breakdown recovery service. Discuss it with your Spanish insurance broker when you are looking for quotations for your car insurance in Spain.

Bear in mind, that the Spanish companies that tend to focus on expatriate clients usually offer a more complete package as part of their standard pricing. Other insurance companies will have maybe three levels of accident and breakdown recovery options you can choose from. Remember to check what is included because if you do not ask then you might find you are given the cheapest to make the insurance premium more attractive to you.

Make sure you know what you are buying

Remember, you only find the true value of your insurance when you need to use it. Skimping on a few euros now may lead to a real headache when the kids don’t get to their holiday destination or you have to dig deep in your pocket to get home.

Remember that if you are legally required to have certain things in your car in the event of a breakdown. See our post about warning triangles and reflective jackets.

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.

How has driving in Spain improved in the last 40 years?

This year Spain celebrates the 40th year of its constitution and the Directorate General de Trafico (DGT) has been looking back over that period at the evolution in numbers of traffic and how road deaths have fallen.

In 1978 the new constitution for the country was approved. That same year 6,967 people died on Spanish roads.  The number fell significantly when the wearing of a helmet on a motorcycle was made legally compulsory in 1982. However, that improvement disappeared as by 1989, the worse year on record, road deaths had reached 9,344.

In 2017 the figure was down by 83% to 1,830 but the DGT is not content. It has been running a campaign for a while now with the aim of reducing the number of deaths to zero. Is it realistic? It is an honourable objective and if not possible, if the authorities are aiming for that figure then surely we will see further improvements.

Over the years a number of factors have helped reduced road deaths. The authorities made ABS braking system compulsory on cars. They set up a commission  to specifically look at road safety. Points were added to driving licences and taken away for infractions, which perhaps surprisingly only started in 2006. Tougher penalties are in place for speeding.

In 1978 there were just under 9 million vehicles on Spain’s roads. By the end of 2017, this had grown to almost 33 million. Whilst last year saw a small increase in the number of road deaths the drop of 83% over this time is still quite an achievement bearing in mind the huge increase in the fleet of vehicles on the roads.

Perhaps one factor that may have contributed to the small rise in deaths is the age of the vehicles. In 2005 the average age of vehicles on Spanish roads was just 6.7 years. In 2007 the economic crash hit Spain and it hit hard. Many people haven’t seen any real growth in their income since then and the average age of vehicles has risen to 10.8 years. Newer vehicles have better safety features. However, many ordinary motorists are not able to take advantage of those.

Speeding is still the main road traffic infraction but surprisingly not wearing a seat belt also features highly, even nowadays.

Vehicle manufacturers and Government can introduce measures and police them but ultimately we all have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and other road users to use our common sense.

Tougher law for using mobile phones in Spain

Tougher law for using mobile phones in Spain

The Government of Spain is currently looking into changing the law related to using a mobile telephone whilst driving.

It is already an offence to manually use a mobile telephone whilst driving. This will incur the withdrawal of three points from your driving licence.

However, if a draft reform of the traffic laws is passed then this offence will see the removal of six points, double the current penalty.

The reform also seeks to clarify the offence by stating that using your hands to search a device, text a message or answer a call will be an infringement of the road traffic laws.

The new law will extend to all types of devices, including navigation systems. An offence won’t be incurred where these devices can be operated without the use of your hands. Devices that give verbal instructions and that are operated by voice will be ok.

Driving on a motorway in Spain

Driving on a motorway in Spain

The motorways in Spain are pretty much free-flowing, except if you are travelling during the rush hour or near a major city.

The usual limit on a motorway is 120 kilometres per hour unless otherwise indicated. Sometimes, when approaching a slip road, for example, the speed limit may be reduced to 100 or less and also when crossing bridges. It is then promptly increased again after the hazard.

Driving on a motorway in SpainYou may also see the yellow-backed road signs which are put in place whilst works are being undertaken. However, being undertaken can be used loosely as some I have seen have been concreted in and show signs of fading. Nonetheless, they need to be obeyed.

Although motorways can be fairly free of traffic motorists need to remember the correct way of driving on one. Around towns and cities, they become notably more congested and it becomes even more important to remember the rules of the road.

For example, you should always respect the road markings and circulate in the farthest lane to the right. You will often see people driving in the middle lane for kilometres whilst not overtaking anyone. This is not correct.

If you come across someone hogging the middle lane then do not be tempted to overtake them on the right. As you approach they may become aware of their error and start to move across into your path. Besides, overtaking on the right is prohibited in the Spanish highway code.

Do not overtake on the right

Despite someone hogging the middle lane, you must overtake on the left so will have to move across two lanes to pass them.

Of course, this is what causes frustration because the driver in the middle lane is effectively blocking two lanes.

Remember when you change lanes you must always use your indicator. That means when you start your manoeuvre from behind the car in front you need to indicate. Then once you are in the lane to overtake you turn your indicator off. You put it on once again when you are a safe distance ahead of the vehicle you overtook to indicate you are moving into the right-hand lane again. You are using your indicator, in these circumstances, to show a change of lane. Once you have changed lanes you should turn off the indicator.

To sumarise, the right-hand lane is for circulating on the motorway the two lanes to the left are for overtaking.

Two wheels, fun and comfortable in and out of town

The enthusiasm for motorcycles in Spain is not that surprising given the climate and the problems parking in some of the most populated areas.

In the south of Spain many cities are crammed full of motorbikes, scooters and mopeds. They are often squeezed into every available space. This mode of transport is more environmentally friendly than a petrol or diesel guzzling car, is cheaper to run and takes up less room in the city centre.

Three of the first four towns for most motorbikes per inhabitant are in the province of Málaga. Rincon de la Victoria tops the table with 71 per inhabitant whilst Mijas has 62 per inhabitant. Velez Malaga was fourth with 55 behind Ceuta.

Gerona has the most scooters with 100 per inhabitant in Blanes, 90 in Sant Feliu de Guixots and 83 in Lloret de Mar.

When it comes to mopeds then Cipiona and Rota in Cádiz are one and two with 76 and 66 mopeds per inhabitant respectively.

In the summer riding a motorcycle can be much more comfortable and fun. With such little annual rainfall you can also use them almost year round. If you have a larger machine, you can also get out of town and enjoy the fairly traffic free motorways and it is a great way to get out into the countryside.

Insurance prices for two-wheeled vehicles vary significantly from company to company and for different models too. For the larger sports bikes for example, it can be harder to find competitive prices but they are out there. For the lower powered scooters there are many more insurers but it pays to shop around.

By using an independent broker, they will search the market for you making it easier for you to find a suitable deal.

You will also have someone to help you in the event of a claim. Whilst an independent broker obvious cannot change an insurance company’s policy conditions to suit your claim, they can work with you to see that you are being treated fairly within those conditions.

If you would like a no obligation quotation, then please ask for a quotation form by completing the quote form with as much detail as possible.

Statistics from the DGT.es website.

Blue lights for emergency vehicles in Spain

Blue lights for emergency vehicles in Spain

This week will see the introduction of blue lights for emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines in Spain. It is the start of a programme that will run for two years.

Currently, many emergency vehicles have orange lights, the same as agricultural vehicles, dust carts and road sweepers.

The plan is that with all emergency vehicles carrying blue lights then there will be less confusion for motorists. With slow vehicles and roadside maintenance vehicles no longer using the same colour flashing lights as an ambulance or fire engine, motorists will be able to identify more easily an emergency vehicle.

The blue lights will only be used for emergency vehicles. Many other countries have adopted the use of blue lights for emergency vehicles and this new regulation will bring Spain more in line with its neighbours.

Image: DGT

What should you do when you see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing?

  • Continue in your lane and slow down gently.
  • Don’t brake suddenly and make sudden changes of direction. Drive calmly.
  • If it is necessary, move to the side of the road to make it easier for the emergency vehicle to pass. Use your mirrors and signal clearly.
  • Respect and follow the instructions of emergency personnel or police officers if they are there giving instructions.

No Parking in Spain

no parking car insurance spain

Despite what you might see, especially in some smaller towns, there are rules for parking in Spain and a series of signs and road markings to help you avoid getting it wrong. Fines are high and the inconvenience of marching from one building to another to settle up with the police and then the compound will ruin your day.

You will often see people double parked, hazard lights on whilst they drop the children off at school, visit the cigarette shop or in some rare cases actually sit in a nearby restaurant and have dinner. As you would expect this is illegal, as is parking on a zebra crossing or too close to a junction.

There are a Parking car insurance spainnumber of road markings and signage that help you understand where you can park in Spain. Here we will attempt to point out some of those rules to help you avoid unnecessary traffic fines in Spain or perhaps worse having your car towed away to the municipal compound.

Let’s start with some basics. A large white letter “P” on a blue background or a variation is pretty common worldwide and means you can park your vehicle. You may be asked to park side by side with either the nose of the vehicle or the rear of the vehicle up against the kerb. This is known as “estacionamiento en bateria”.

The alternative is “estacionamiento en linea” where you park with the nose of your vehicle behind the rear of the car in front.

However what about the signs below? What do they mean?

A round sign with a red border, blue background and a red cross (fig.1) means that you cannot park. It also means you can’t stop and drop someone off or pick someone up.

The version with just one red line also means you cannot park but you can drop someone off or pick someone up (fig. 2).

These signs can be accompanied by an array of words or numbers which alter the meaning. For example, if it has what looks like a capital letter “I” in the middle then means that you cannot park in this area on odd days (fig.3). If the sign has what looks like the capital letter “I” twice then you cannot park on even number days. So if it is the first of January you cannot park on a street with the sign shown in fig.3. However, you could park there on the second or the fourth or sixth.

There are other variations on this theme. You might see “Mes Par” written on the sign in white writing (fig.4). This means that you cannot park in the zone when a month is an even number, that would be February, April, June etc.. Alternatively if it says “Mes Impar” (fig. 5) then that indicates no parking in January, March, May etc. Fig. 9  tells you that you cannot park in the zone from the 15th to the 31st of the month. Maybe there is one on the other side of the road marked “1-14”.

Other signage indicates that you cannot park in a zone on certain days, between certain hours. This sign (fig. 6) indicates that you cannot park to the left of it between 08:00 and 14:00 or between 16:30 and 20:30 on working days, unless you are loading or unloading. So, you can park in this area on Saturday or Sunday or public holidays. You can also park here at 21:00 at night or at 15:00 in the afternoon.

I cannot speak for all of Spain but the sign shown in fig. 7 has become prevalent in the area where I live. This sign is restricting where you can park your scooter or motorbike. It is usually put at the entrance to a street and states that scooters, mopeds and motorbikes can only be parked in designated zones. That means you cannot park them anywhere else in the street. If you choose to ignore it and park in the street outside of the designated zone you could be fined and/or towed away. The designated zones for these vehicles are usually painted with white lines or yellow lines. The word “moto” is also painted on the ground.

The “prohibido estacionar or vado” (fig. 8 click on the image to see full size) are often erected outside the entrances to car parks underneath blocks of flats, entrances to businesses or private garages. They are purchased from the local town hall. Basically, they give the owner of the sign the right to call the police and have your vehicle towed away if you are blocking their entrance.

In Spain a single solid yellow line near the kerb also means no parking.

There are other road markings that will help you stay the right side of the parking laws. Parking bays painted with white paint usually mean that the parking is unrestricted. If the bays are painted with blue paint then there is normally a limit to how long you can park and/or there may be a fee to pay in the nearby parking meter to. If you exceed your time in the blue parking zone you may be fined. The penalty can be settled immediately, using the same machine you bought your ticket at. This will result in a reduced fine and is far more convenient. The ticket machine will have an option to pay the fine.