Driving and Motoring - Driving Culture

Driving Culture

Depending on where you are coming from, drivers in Spain will seem either aggressive or polite!

Visitors or new residents from countries where driving is more chaotic will probably be pleasantly surprised at the law and order on Spanish roads. However, those coming from North America or Northern European countries are often overwhelmed at first – particularly when they reach their first roundabout!

It is important to “do as the Spaniards” (within legal boundaries) when you are on Spanish roads, otherwise you will cause confusion - and irritation. For example, learning to charge into roundabouts and merge confidently (and safely) into traffic is essential for you to survive and thrive on the roads. Being more polite than Spaniards are ready for can be a recipe for disaster – as can expecting more politeness on the roads than you’re going to get.

If a driver flashes headlights at you, this can mean he or she is trying to signal to you that you can turn in front of him/her – but don’t count on it. Better to play it safe in such circumstances.

As mentioned on the introductory page, Spain has one of the highest accident rates in Europe. The traffic authorities are constantly warning drivers – via road signs and publicity – that speed and distraction are the top two main causes of deaths on the road. It is wise, therefore, to take it easy and pay attention – even if you feel like you’re the only one doing so!

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