Looking ahead now to a beautiful summer with long, balmy, relaxing days. I hope you are thinking of coming out to Moraira and checking out the properties we have available for you to view.
I was having a conversation with a client a couple of weeks ago when she said she had been stopped just at random by a policeman from the traffic unit. This lady has been coming to the Costa Blanca for the past 15 years and has always felt confident about driving here. The policeman asked her to step out of the car and she said she suddenly knew that she was going to get a massive telling off. He looked down at her feet, flip flops. She said her heart sunk and she actually felt really guilty - the police here have a way of just looking at you and you know you have done wrong. She said he didn’t say anything just kept looking. She was stuttering and panicking promising she would never drive in flip flops again. She said he was very precise and in a low voice asked her why she should never drive in unsuitable footwear and said if she knew all the answers then why? The policeman kept her there for around 10 minutes probably enjoying her discomfort but she said that discomfort will always stay with her and had more impact than if he’d had just issued her with a ticket.
So I thought for this blog I would remind people of the most important things to be aware of before even getting into your car. Situations and laws don’t change because you are in a hot country where you feel more relaxed. In fact, the more laid back you are the less likely you are to be as alert. I hope the following points will help to make you realise that safety for yourself and your family is of the utmost importance. It’s just not worth taking any chances and just use your common sense wherever you are...
14 important things to aware of while Driving in Spain
Driving in Spain is much the same as in any other country. There are certain things that are illegal and will result in a hefty fine and points on your license. Speeding and talking on your mobile are definitely a big no. There other things that although are not strictly illegal could resulting a fine if a Guardia Civil traffic unit stops you.
Articles 17 and 18 of the driving code states that ‘The driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain freedom of movement, have a clear field of vision and must have full attention, to guarantee the driver’s own safety plus he occupants of the car and other road users’.
Flip flops - the wearing of flip flops whilst driving is an accident waiting to happen. Should your flip flop get caught under a pedal and you will lose control of the vehicle it could result in a serious accident. If caught by a traffic unit wearing flip flops (and they do make random checks) then a fine of up to 200€ plus 2 points on your license is possibly going to happen. Its worth taking the time to change your footwear before you start driving. If you are driving barefoot again not good or even in stilettos and a traffic policeman considers this to be dangerous you will get a fine and points. Its worth leaving a pair of flat closed in shoes in the car just to drive in.
Putting on make-up or shaving????? - really who does these things??? but people do and they get caught. Again, another fine and 2 points docked from your license.
Playing Loud Music - driving with the volume up so high that you can’t hear sirens approaching could also get you a fine. Driving with music blaring out in an urban area or in area close to a hospital will also put you in line for a fine and again points on your license.
Eating, drinking or lighting a cigarette - eating whilst driving, drinking from a bottle even if its just water could also result in a penalty if a traffic officer catches you he will consider you are risking distraction. 200€ fine and 2 points. Likewise lighting a cigarette can also be considered a distraction and is also subject to a penalty. If caught throwing a cigarette butt out of the window of a vehicle window is illegal with a minimum fine of 200€ and 4 points docked from your license.
Driving with your arm out of the window - gesticulating out of the window without cause or even just sticking your elbow out could again result in another fine this time up to 80€.
Driving and not being suitably dressed - not wearing a shirt could also get you fined. 200€ this time. Because in the case of accident a serous injury could be caused through contact with the airbag or seatbelt.
Using a sat-nav - attached to the windscreen could and possibly will be considered a distraction and could affect your visibility of the road ahead. Fiddling about with the sat-nav whilst driving could also result in an accident. Pull over or face a fine.
Arguing with a passenger - will also be considered a distraction while driving and is subject to a penalty. Don’t gesticulate or shout at your passengers and certainly don’t turn around to argue with a passenger in the back.
Unjustified use of your car horn - this should be a big surprise to regular drivers in Spain but, beeping your horn for no good reason can land you with a fine of 80€. Justified use of the horn includes alerting another driver to avoid an accident. Beeping your horn because you have spotted your friend driving past you isn’t considered justified. Nor sounding your horn because the person in front is slow at pulling away at the lights. Be patient you are in Spain...
Driving through an amber light - although this seems the norm and everyone in Spain seems to do this. If caught, a fine of 80€ is on the cards. As in the UK if you can come to a stop in time at an amber light without the risk of the car behind you running into the back of your car then just stop.
Wearing of a hat - although this seems bizarre and the wearing of a hat is obviously not banned while driving. If, a traffic officer deems that the said hat is too far down over your eyes, covers your ears and could limit your hearing then you will be pulled over and fined.
Feet on the dashboard - now if you are really stupid enough to try to drive with your feet on the dashboard then you deserve all you get in the way of a total ban and a massive fine. Equally if your passenger puts their feet on the dash the driver will be liable for a fine.
Wearing of seat belts - we all know wherever you drive, and in, whichever country that seatbelts are a must they are life savers and should always be worn however short your journey. You will get a stop from the police if anything in the back is not properly secured. Pets, shopping, boxes anything on the back seat must be secured with a seatbelt.
Last but not least beware at gas stations - don’t smoke, use your mobile phone, leave your lights or radio on while filling up. All illegal and you can be fined.
As I stated at the beginning all the above are basic common sense. We know we can all get a little lapse when on holiday or are excited about viewing properties that you may be considering to buy. Don’t leave your common sense at the airport think about everything. You are so much more vulnerable when you are not totally aware of the laws of the country you are in.
I hope all the above is helpful but as I stated at beginning most if not all is basic common sense. Our next article will be about car and vehicle documents...
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