As a real estate agent on the Costa del Sol, we often get questions from potential home buyers about driving in Spain. Especially from clients from Scandinavian countries where the “tempo” of driving is a lot calmer than in Spain. And also of course from our clients from Great Britain, who are used to drive on the ” wrong” side of the road. More than once I have found British drivers going the wrong way in a roundabout even going on the left side of the road! So, when you plan to buy a property in Spain, here are a few tips regarding the traffic on the Costa del Sol.
In Spain, speed regulations are established by the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), which is the national authority responsible for road safety. The speed limits are based on the type of road, the type of vehicle, and the prevailing driving conditions. Here are some of the key points regarding speed regulations in Spain:
General speed limits:
The general speed limits in Spain are 30 or 50 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on conventional roads, and 120 km/h on motorways and highways. These limits apply to all vehicles unless otherwise indicated.
Specific speed limits:
There are some specific speed limits in Spain that apply to certain types of roads or vehicles. For example, the speed limit on roads with a single lane in each direction is 70 km/h, and the speed limit for buses on motorways is 100 km/h. There are also lower speed limits in place in certain areas, such as school zones and residential areas.
Variable speed limits:
In some areas, particularly on motorways, variable speed limits may be in place. These limits are adjusted according to traffic and weather conditions to improve safety and traffic flow.
Radar speed checks:
In Spain, speed checks are carried out using radar cameras, and fines are imposed for exceeding the speed limit. The amount of the fine depends on the degree of the offence and the speed exceeded. The traffic authorities operate with more than 2100 radars across the country. Apart from that, drones and helicopters are often used to monitor speed in addition to fixed speed cameras and radars.
However, depending on the type of radar there are small margins of error. Here is an indication on how fast you can drive before you get your photo taken and subsequently fined.
With fixed speed cameras and mobile radars on tripods, with a speed limit up to 100 km/h there are margins of 5 km and over 100 km/h there is 5% margin, with a limit of 100 km/h it means you can drive 105 km/h.
With mobile radars in areas up to 100 km/h there is a margin of 7 km and above 100 km/h there is a 7% limit.
When using section radars it is the same as above but with 3 km and 3% margin.
When it comes to helicopter radars it is 5% off any type of speed limit.
By knowing these errors drivers can tell the exact speed they can be doing before the radar clicks in. Section radars are the most accurate and they calculate the average speed from point A to B. In Spain there are more than 90 of these cameras, and in our area of the Costa Del Sol there is one located between La Cala de Mijas and Fuengirola and one in Malaga City.
Traffic fines for speeding range from 100 euros to 600 euros or even prison for drivers whose recklessness is considered a crime against road safety.
Points system: The Spanish traffic authorities use a points system to penalise drivers who break traffic laws. Each offence is assigned a certain number of points, and when a driver reaches a certain threshold of points, their licence may be suspended or revoked.
Something to think about next time you are driving in Spain. Another great tip before buying a property on the Costa del Sol!