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Driving in Spain: the 10 questions everyone gets wrong in their theory test

Driving in Spain: the 10 questions everyone gets wrong in their theory test
Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP
Getting your driving licence in Spain is challenging enough as it is, let alone if you’re a foreigner who isn’t fluent in Spanish. To help you pass, we’ve put together the questions that most people got wrong in their theory test in Spain in 2020.

In order to pass your theory test in Spain, you will have to answer 30 questions and if you get more than three answers wrong you will not pass and have to sit it again.

While the option of taking the DGT’s theory exam (examen teórico) in English is available, some English speakers in Spain have said that the translations aren’t always spot on and can be confusing.

It’s true that written Spanish can be more long-winded than English, but if you’re getting your driving licence in Spain it probably means you’re settling here, so learning the right Spanish driving vocab, and Spanish in general is probably the right way to go.

The wording of questions and potential answers in Spain’s theory test is often complex and can be misleading even for native speakers.

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The following are the questions that most people who sat their theory test in Spain in 2020 got wrong, according to driving consultancy firm PONS Seguridad Vial.

We’ve included the questions and answers in Spanish, their English translation and an explanation as to why many people get it wrong. 

They may not necessarily help you become a better driver, but knowing which questions to watch out for may well help you pass. Here goes!

1. Si está en posesión del permiso de la clase A1, con un año y medio de antigüedad, y obtiene el permiso B, ¿cuál es la tasa máxima de alcohol permitida conduciendo su turismo?

Photo: Miguel Ángel Ramón/Pixabay

A) 0,15 gramos por litro en sangre.

B) 0,30 gramos por litro de sangre.

C) 0,50 gramos por litro en sangre.

(Translation) If you are in possession of the A1 driver’s permit that’s one and a half years old, and you obtain the B permit, what is the maximum blood alcohol level for driving your car?

A) 0.15 grammes per litre of blood.

B) 0.30 grammes per litre of blood. (correct answer)

C) 0.50 grammes per litre of blood.

Explanation: The maximum blood alcohol for drivers for the two years after obtaining the first driving license is: 0.3 g / l (in blood) and 0.15 mg / l (breathalyser). Whereas learner drivers have to drive with the L sign in their car for a year, their blood alcohol content limit as learners is applicable for the first two years from obtaining their licence.

2. Esta señal

A) Indica una vía reservada exclusivamente para ciclos.

B) Indica una vía reservada para peatones y ciclos.

C) Prohíbe a las bicicletas circular por la vía.

(Translation) What does this road sign indicate?

A) Indicates a path reserved exclusively for cycles .

B) Indicates a path reserved for pedestrians and bicycles. (correct answer)

C) It prohibits bicycles from circulating on the road.

Explanation: This sign indicates the existence of a path for pedestrians and cycles, separate from normal road traffic, and that runs through open spaces, parks, gardens or forests. The image of the bicycle is slightly mislead, and you shouldn’t confuse it for the the circular sign with the blue background and this same white silhouette because this sign is exclusively for cycles.

3. A la vista de la señal, ¿tienen preferencia de paso los animales domésticos cuando crucen la calzada?

A) Sí, cuando vayan acompañados por un conductor de ganado.

B) No.

C) Sí, cuando vayan en grupo.

(Translation) When seeing this sign, do pets have right of way when crossing the road?

A) Yes, when accompanied by a cattle driver.

B) No. (correct answer)

C) Yes, when they go in a group.

Explanation:This certainly doesn’t seem like an important matter when learning how to drive, but it’s on the test and many learners in 2020 got it wrong. Drivers have right of way for their vehicles with respect to animals, except:

– In duly signposted cowpaths.

– When they are going to turn with their vehicle to enter another road and there are animals crossing it, even if there is no passage for them.

– When the vehicle crosses a shoulder on which animals are circulating and there’s no cowpath.

To be considered a duly signposted cowpath, there must be another sign below it with the word “cañada” – cowpath.

4. En una intersección sin señalización expresa, la norma general de preferencia de paso es…

A) Ceder el paso a los vehículos más rápidos, ciclistas y peatones.

B) Ceder el paso a los vehículos que circulen por la izquierda.

C) Ceder el paso a los vehículos que se aproximen por la derecha.

(Translation) At an intersection without express signage, the general rule of right-of-way is

A) Give way to faster vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

B) Give way to vehicles driving on the left.

C) Give way to vehicles approaching from the right. (correct answer)

Explanation: At intersections where there is no sign that regulates right-of-way, you are obliged to give way to vehicles approaching from the right. So if there’s a sign, do what the sign says, and if there isn’t, give to vehicles approaching from the right.

5. Al salir marcha atrás de un estacionamiento con su vehículo, el cual dispone del sistema de alerta de tráfico cruzado, debe saber que este sistema…

A) Ayudará al conductor esquivando el obstáculo en el mismo momento en que lo detecte.

B) Tomará el control del vehículo deteniéndolo inmediatamente cuando detecte un vehículo aproximándose.

C) Emitirá un aviso sonoro y/o visual cuando detecte un vehículo aproximándose. 

(Translation) When reversing out of a parking space with your vehicle, which has rear cross traffic alert sensors, the system does the following:

A) It will help the driver by avoiding the obstacle the moment it detects it.

B) It will take control of the vehicle by stopping it immediately when it detects an approaching vehicle.

C) It will issue an audible and/or visual warning when it detects an approaching vehicle. (correct answer)

Explanation: Cross Traffic Alert System monitors detect traffic when reversing out a line of parked vehicles. If it detects an approaching vehicle, an audible and/or visual warning will be issued.

6. ¿Qué efectos positivos tiene el sistema Start-Stop del vehículo?

A) Reduce las emisiones y el consumo del vehículo.

B) Frena el vehículo antes una señal de stop.

C) Reduce el consumo del vehículo, solamente.

Photo: TheRedBurn/Wikipedia

(Translation) What positive features does a vehicle’s start-stop system have?

A) It reduces emissions and consumption of the vehicle. (correct answer)

B) It brakes the vehicle before a stop sign.

C) It only reduces the consumption of the vehicle.

Explanation: Some vehicles have a start-stop season that reduces emissions by up to 5 percent and consumption by up to 15 percent. Some drivers believe the system stops and starts “too many times” and “causes premature engine deterioration” but this isn’t true. 

7. Un tractor que arrastra un remolque, ¿qué velocidad máxima no debe rebasar fuera de poblado?

A) 25 kilómetros por hora.

B) 40 kilómetros por hora.

C) 70 kilómetros por hora.

Photo: Mangan2002/Wikipedia

(Translation) What maximum speed can a tractor pulling a trailer not exceed outside urban areas?

A) 25 kilometres per hour (correct answer)

B) 40 kilometres per hour.

C) 70 kilometres per hour.

Explanation: Vehicles that are deemed ‘especiales’ in Spain (tractors and other vehicles used for building and agricultural purposes, as well as vehicles with an attachment or trailer).

With B licences, special agricultural vehicles can be driven. The maximum speed of these vehicles as a general rule is 40 km/h but this is reduced to 25 km/h when they are towing a trailer as it makes the vehicle more unstable.

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8. ¿Qué indica esta señal?

A) Entrada prohibida únicamente a camiones.

B) Prohíbe la entrada únicamente a camiones de más de 3.500 kg de MMA.

C) Entrada prohibida a vehículos destinados al transporte de mercancías.

(Translation) What does this sign indicate?

A) Entry prohibited only to trucks.

B) Entry prohibited to trucks of more than 3,500 kg of GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) only.

C) Entry prohibited to vehicles intended for the transport of goods (correct answer).

Explanation: This road sign prohibits access to vehicles intended for the transport of goods , understood as trucks and vans regardless of their mass. The image seems to represent only trucks, and that makes many people sitting the exam think it prohibits access only to trucks.

9. Si quiere girar a la derecha, con la flecha verde iluminada, ¿tiene preferencia de paso?

A) No, porque la luz roja me prohíbe girar.

B) No, porque la flecha verde me permite pasar, pero debo ceder el paso a los vehículos que se aproximen (respuesta correcta).

C) Sí, porque la flecha verde me obliga a girar.

(Translation) If you want to turn right and the green arrow is lit, do you have right of way?

A) No, because the red light prohibits me from turning.

B) No, because the green arrow allows me to go, but I must give way to approaching vehicles (correct answer).

C) Yes, because the green arrow forces me to turn.

Explanation: A lit green arrow on a black circular background means that vehicles can take the direction indicated by the arrow, regardless of the light that is simultaneously on at the same or adjacent traffic light. You always have to give way to vehicles that are driving in the lane you are joining.

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10. A la vista de esta señal horizontal, ¿dónde se detendrán los vehículos?

A) En la línea longitudinal sin rebasarla.

B) Ante la línea de detención (respuesta correcta).

C) Antes de llegar a la señal.

(Translation) When seeing this sign painted on the road, where should vehicles stop?

A) On the longitudinal line without exceeding it.
B) Before the stop line (correct answer).
C) Before reaching the sign.

The STOP sign marked on the road indicates the driver’s obligation to stop their vehicle at an upcoming stop line and to give way to vehicles traveling on that road.

The mandatory stop has to be before the stop line, not before reaching the sign, otherwise the driver would not have enough visibility, and not over the line because of the risk it entails in terms of oncoming traffic.


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