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DRIVING IN SPAIN

Driving in rainy weather in Spain: Five reasons police can fine you

Rainy or stormy weather involves even more cautious driving than usual, but there are certain driving mishaps in wet weather than can result in stiff fines and the loss of points for drivers in Spain.

Driving in rainy weather in Spain: Five reasons police can fine you
Driving in the rain in Spain. Photo: Clay LeConey / Unsplash

It’s not always sunny and dry in Spain. In fact, some parts of the country get quite a lot of rainfall throughout the year. 

As a result, some drivers in Spain may forget that they need to drive differently when the roads are wet.

Running a red light, not respecting zebra crossings or speeding are of course immediate fines whatever the weather, but there are certain mistakes that apply when there’s rainy or stormy weather. For all the latest news and information for drivers in Spain, check out The Local’s Driving in Spain section.

Splashing pedestrians when speeding through a puddle

Let’s face it – there are some drivers who secretly enjoy soaking pedestrians as they drive past them, but they could be in for a nasty surprise as they face a €600 fine if caught.

Spain’s traffic laws specify that road users must behave in such a way that they do not hinder traffic circulation, inconvenience people or damage property. If the police believe that you’re doing any of the above by speeding through puddles and splashing passers-by, then you could receive a hefty fine.

Not respecting the safety distance

A safe distance must always be kept between cars, but on a rainy or foggy day, the distance doubles as braking can take longer and skidding and sliding can occur more easily. You should keep a minimum distance of 100 metres or four seconds between you and the car in front. New rules also came into force this year to say that when overtaking cyclists or motorbikes, drivers must keep a safe distance of at least 1.5 metres. 

Some drivers tend to be cautious on wet roads, slowing down more than usual, but this will annoy other drivers who are in a hurry, overtaking and getting too close, forgetting to respect the necessary distance. Not sticking to the right safety distance can cost you a fine of €200 and you could lose four points off your licence.

Having a broken or damaged windshield wiper

While you may not have much rain for a while in your part of Spain, it’s still important to make sure that the parts of a car that deal with the rain are in good working order, such as the windshield wipers.

If your windows are fogged up or there are too many raindrops on your windscreen for you to see out properly and your wipers aren’t working, you can be fined up to €200.

Not keeping your lights on

In adverse weather conditions, such as rain, lights are essential, even if it’s during the day. In rainy weather, you should have your dipped headlights on (luces de cruce). If there’s persistent and thick fog, you should have the fog lights on.  If you are caught without these on you can be fined €200.

Your tyres are in poor condition

Tyre condition is even more important in wet weather as your wheels need to have enough grip for driving, braking and turning when it’s slippery. The tyre thread cannot be worn down or be below 1.6mm or you could incur a fine of €200 for each wheel, totalling €800.

READ ALSO: The new driving rules and fines in force in Spain since March 2022

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BREXIT

CONFIRMED: Deal on UK licences in Spain agreed but still no exchange date

The UK Ambassador to Spain has confirmed that “two outstanding issues” delaying negotiations have now been resolved, although he didn't confirm how many “weeks” it will be before in-limbo UK licence holders can exchange and get back on the road.

CONFIRMED: Deal on UK licences in Spain agreed but still no exchange date

UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott on Friday November 18th took to the embassy’s social media channels to announce some promising news that will give hope at the very least to the thousands of UK licence holders who haven’t been able to drive in Spain since May 1st.

“I can tell you today that we have now made a very significant step forward,” Elliott began.

“You will recall that we have been in discussions with the Spanish for some weeks over two outstanding, complex issues and I’m pleased to tell you that we have now reached an agreement on those two points.”

The British Embassy has never explicitly explained the reasons why negotiations have gone on for over two years without much progress, with the only hint being that Spain asked for the provision of UK licence holders’ data to be part of the deal, something the UK did not want to agree to.

“So we will now take forward the remaining steps including legal checks, securing ministerial approval on both sides, which for Spain is by the Consejo de Ministros (the Spanish Cabinet), and the necessary treaty processes and formal exchanges,” Elliott added. 

“What I can’t tell you today is exactly how many weeks those final steps will take. 

“But I can tell you the process is already underway and once those legal and political approvals are done, confirmation will be published in the BOE, or state bulletin.”

Some Spanish laws have to receive approval from the Spanish Parliament and the Senate before they can come into force, extra legislative steps that can add months to the process. 

The fact that Elliott has said that this post-Brexit agreement on the exchange of UK licences in Spain will go from the Spanish Cabinet straight to the BOE is positive, although the “weeks” the ambassador mentions could end up adding up to a couple of months in a country known for its slow bureaucracy.

However, all the British drivers residing in Spain – as well as Spaniards and other foreign nationals who have a UK licence – at least now have the peace of mind of knowing that they won’t have to sit their driving exam again in Spain.

“At that point (when the law comes into force) you will then have six months to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one and during that time you will be able to drive using your existing valid UK licence. 

“Now I know this has not been an easy time for those of you who have been unable to drive,” the ambassador acknowledged once more about the mobility issues affected drivers have faced for months, especially those in rural areas. 

“But I hope that this latest news gives you some reassurance and helps you consider your next steps. 

“We will keep you up to date on further developments and provide more information on the process for licence exchange itself,” Elliott concluded.

Spain and Italy remain the only EU countries that have not implemented laws which allow for the exchange of UK licences for Spanish or Italian ones by residents. British tourists in Spain are not affected by the UK driving licence debacle.

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