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DRIVING IN SPAIN

Driving in Spain: the 10 questions everyone gets wrong on their theory test in 2022

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 2022.

Driving in Spain: the 10 questions everyone gets wrong on their theory test in 2022
Taking your theoretic driving test in Spain. Photo: Ben Mullins / Unsplash

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 2022 got wrong, according to driving consultancy firm PONS Seguridad Vial, who reviewed information from 2,300 driving schools.

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. 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 bicycles.

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 misleading, and you shouldn’t confuse it for the circular sign with the blue background and this same white silhouette because this sign is exclusively for cycles.

2. 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 backing out of a parking lot, if your vehicle has the cross traffic alert system, you should know that this system…

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

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

C) 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 level for drivers for the two years after obtaining their 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.

5. 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.

Cars at a junction. Photo: PxHere

(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.

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. ¿Qué debe hacer si el resultado de una inspección ITV es desfavorable?

A) Llevar el vehículo al taller en una grúa obligatoriamente y volver a pasar la inspección en un plazo inferior a dos meses.

B) Llevar el vehículo al taller para repararlo y volver a pasar la inspección en un plazo inferior a un mes.

C) Llevar el vehículo al taller para repararlo y volver a pasar la inspección en un plazo inferior a dos meses.

The ITV inspection in Spain is similar to the MOT in the UK. Photo: Damir Kopezhanov / Unsplash

(Translation) What should you do if the result of an ITV inspection is unfavourable?

A) Take the vehicle to a garage in a tow truck to undergo the inspection again within a period of fewer than two months.

B) Take the vehicle to the garage to repair it and undergo the inspection again within a period of less than one month.

C) Take the vehicle to the garage to repair it and undergo the inspection again within a period of fewer than two months. (correct answer)

Explanation: It is not necessary to stop driving your car and get a tow truck to take it to the garage for repair, however, you must do it within fewer than two months, not one month. 

8. Generalmente, en las motocicletas el freno trasero se acciona con..

A) el pie derecho.

B) el pie izquierdo.

C) la mano izquierda.

This question on motorcycles often trips people up. Photo: Harley-Davidson / Unsplash

(Translation) Generally, on motorcycles, the rear brake is activated with…

A) The right foot. (correct answer)

B) The left foot. 

C) The left hand. 

Explanation: If you’re not familiar with driving a motorcycle, this question may throw you a bit. Generally, if you want to break on a motorcycle, you will use your right foot. It’s important to be aware of other types of vehicles on the road with you. 

9. ¿Qué características tiene una bicicleta de pedales con pedaleo asistido?

A) Tiene un motor con potencia no superior a 0,5 kW cuya velocidad se interrumpe antes de alcanzar los 25 km/h o si se deja de pedalear.

B) Es una bicicleta con motor considerada como un ciclomotor de dos ruedas

C) Tiene un motor eléctrico auxiliar de hasta 250 W cuya velocidad se interrumpe antes de alcanzar los 25 km/h o si se deja de pedalear.

Bike with assisted pedalling. Photo: KBO Bike / Unsplash

(Translation) What characteristics does a pedal bicycle with assisted pedalling have?

A) It has a motor with power not exceeding 0.5 kW whose speed is interrupted before reaching 25 km/h or if pedalling has stopped.

B) It is a motorised bicycle considered to be a two-wheeled moped. 

C) It has an auxiliary electric motor of up to 250 W whose speed is interrupted before reaching 25 km/h or if you stop pedalling. (correct answer) 

Explanation: Like the question above, drivers may not be familiar with the characteristics of e-bikes, so you must make sure to study other vehicles that may be on the road with you. 

10. Además del airbag frontal, ¿existen otros tipos de airbag?

A) No.

B) Sí, los frontales de conductor y acompañante, los laterales de piernas y de techo o cortina.

C) Sí, los laterales.

Where are the airbags located in a car? Photo: Julian Hochgesang / Unsplash

(Translation) Besides the front airbag, are there other types of airbags?

A) No. 

B) Yes, the front ones for the driver and passenger, the sides for the legs and the roof or curtain. (correct answer) 

C) Yes, the sides.

Explanation: Drivers may not be aware of all the safety features of their cars, so it’s important to study and learn exactly what they have. 

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DRIVING IN SPAIN

What are the drink driving limits and penalties in Spain?

Many people in Spain will be heading to New Year's Eve parties this weekend, but if you're driving you should remember the alcohol limits and consider the potential penalties and fines if you're over.

What are the drink driving limits and penalties in Spain?

Alcohol is one of the risk factors most frequently involved in traffic accidents in Spain and is found in between 30 and 50 percent of fatal accidents, according to the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT).

As the amount of alcohol in the body increases, so does the risk of an accident. With a blood alcohol level of 0.5 grammes of ethanol per litre of blood, the risk of a crash is doubled, and with 0.8 g/l, the risk is five times greater, the DGT states. 

The risk is even higher in young drivers or those who have less driving experience.

What are the legal limits?

  • 0.5 grammes of alcohol per litre of blood, which equates to 0.25 milligrammes of alcohol per litre of air exhaled.
  • In the case of those who have only held a licence for under two years, as well as professional drivers, the limit is lowered to 0.4 grammes of alcohol per litre of blood, which is 0.15 milligrammes per litre of air exhaled.
  • Those under the age of 18 are not allowed to use an e-scooter or moped if they have drunk any alcohol at all. 

The DGT stresses that even below the legal limit, the risk of an accident may already be increased and that the only really safe limit is 0.0 grammes per litre.  

What does this mean in terms of number of drinks? 

For men who weigh between 70-90kg 

Beer: It’s safe to drink one 330ml beer, however, a second beer will take you nearer to the limit or possibly over. If you indulge in three beers, you will definitely be over the limit.  

Wine: It’s possible to drink two 100ml glasses, but a third will take you very close to the limit. For vermouth it’s similar.  

Liquor: If liquor is your drink of choice, you can drink two 45ml glasses, but again and third will be pushing it, apart from brandy where one is safe, but a second will take you very close to going over.

Mixed drink: For a drink containing alcohol combined with a mixer, such as gin and tonic or rum and coke, you can safely drink one 50ml glass, but another one may take you over the limit.  

For women who weigh 50-70kg  

Beer: Only one 330ml bottle of beer is safe to drink, two or more will take you over the limit.  

Wine: Similarly, only one 100ml glass of wine is acceptable.  

Vermouth: It’s only really safe to drink one 70ml glass of vermouth, a second will be pushing it and a third will definitely take you over the limit.  

Liquor: Like vermouth, drinking one 45ml glass of liquor is ok, but a second may take you over.  

Mixed drink: Even one mixed drink with 50ml of alcohol such as a gin and tonic could possibly take you over the legal limit, so be extra careful if you’re partial to these.  

The number of alcoholic drinks that are safe to consume according to the DGT. Source: DGT
 

What does the blood alcohol level depend on? 

Besides the number of drinks you have, as seen above, the type also greatly affects your blood alcohol level. For example, according to the DGT, the absorption of alcohol is slower in fermented drinks such as beer or wine than in distilled ones such as gin, rum or whiskey. Combing alcohol with fizzy mixers is also dangerous as it can speed up the absorption of alcohol.  

Age: Alcohol can affect younger people below the age of 18 and those above the age of 65 more, so they should drink even less or better still, none at all, if they are planning on driving. New drivers at whatever age are also at greater risk.  

Drinking with or without food: The DGT warns that drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea and you should always eat something too.  

Time of day: The elimination of alcohol from your blood is much slower when you’re sleeping, so if you drink right before bed, it is possible that you could still fail a breathalyser test the next morning.

Personal circumstances: If you are tired, anxious, stressed or ill, it can also affect your blood alcohol level if you drink.  

What are the fines? 

If your alcohol level is between 0.25mg/l and 0.50mg/l you will be fined €500, plus have four points taken off your licence.

If it’s between 0.50mg/l and 60mg/l, you will be penalised by having to pay €1,000, plus have six points taken off your licence.

If you are found to be over 60mg/l, according to article 379 of the penal code, you could face between three and six months in prison, have to do one year of community service and have your licence taken away for a period of between one and four years.

Those who are repeat offenders and have been caught drink driving before will automatically be fined €1,000 and have either four or six points taken off their licence, depending on the level, providing it’s below 60mg/l.

If you refuse to take a breathalyser test, you could be sentenced to between six and 12 months in jail and have your licence taken away for between one and four years.

The DGT also warns that popular myths such as drinking coffee, consuming oil, doing exercise, chewing gum and smoking excessively will not help lower your alcohol level. 

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