Driving in Spain.

Contrary to what you may see on the roads in Spain, driving here is NOT:
1. Just like the UK but on the other side,
2. A free-for-all with no rules, or rules to be ignored if you're local.

The Guardia Civil and police can and do enforce traffic regulations, and can really spoil your holiday.

Inspired by Brian Deller's excellent "Motoring in Spain", this site tells you what the traffic laws are in Spain. Unlike the UK Highway Code, they are not guidelines, they are fixed... and to be obeyed.

Most Spanish road traffic law is contained in the LSV (Ley de Seguridad Vial), on which is based the RGC (Reglamentación General de Circulación) which also has the force of law. Allied to this is the RGV (Reglamentación General de Vehículos) which covers construction and use of motor vehicles.

This site is still under construction and will be quite large (over 170 articles for the RGC alone). The best place to start is the RGC index and the glossary. The RGV, and LSV will be added later when translation has been checked.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


Automobile road. A road reserved exclusively for automobile traffic, with a single carriageway and total limitation of access to adjacent properties, and signed with signals S-3 and S-4, respectively.

Autopista / Autovía. A road similar to a motorway reserved for certain traffic with limited access and with separated carriageways. Autopistas de Peaje charge tolls.

Autovía. A highway specially constructed and signed so that it has the following characteristics: a) Limited access to adjacent properties.
b) Does not cross at the same level any footpath, way, railroad or tramline, nor is crossed at the same level by any footpath, access road or right of way.
c) Consists of separate carriageways in each direction, separated from each other by a median strip, or by other means.

BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado) – Oficial state bulletin [similar to Hansard et.al.]

Conventional road. Any road that does not meet the characteristics of autopistas, autovías or automobile roads.

Highway. For the purposes of this regulation, a made public road entirely located outside town, except for those sections classified as a travesía.

Interurban road. Public road entirely located outside town.

Lane for high occupancy vehicles [VAO]. A lane that is specially reserved or specified for high occupancy vehicles.

LST. Ley sobre tráfico, circulación de vehículos a motor y seguridad vial The Law on traffic, motor vehicle traffic and road safety, RD 339/1990, of 2nd March.

MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass).

Permiso de Circulación – Vehicle licence and registration document.

RGC (REGLAMENTO GENERAL DE CIRCULACIÓN) GENERAL TRAFFIC REGULATIONS (This document) RD 1428/2003 of 21st November, as amended.

RGV (Reglamento General de Vehículos) – General Vehicle Regulations, RD …

Roundabout. A special type of intersection where roads come together through a ring in which a traffic circulates around a central island. The so-called divided roundabouts [hamburger junctions] in which two sections, (generally opposed), are connected directly through the central island, in which traffic can pass through the divided island, is not classified as a roundabout.

Travesía. For the purposes of this legislation, it is a section of road running through town (a through route). Those sections that have a road or variant alternative to which it has access are not treated as travesías.

Urban road. Public road entirely located within town, except for travesías.

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