IF YOU'RE VISITING the Orihuela Costa this year it's important to be aware of the most essential Spanish rules when it comes to driving in Spain, if you intend to rent a car or drive during your visit.
The local roads around the Costa Blanca are very safe, but some rules in Spain might be different to the traffic regulations you're used to at home.
So stay safe on the roads around the Orihuela Costa this summer, and check out our top tips for safe driving in Spain this season.
You must have your driving licence with you at all times
All drivers in Spain must carry their driving licence with them at all times whilst driving a car. Motorists from the UK should note that they can still use their British driving licence to hire a car when they're here.
Road users who cannot produce their driving licence on request by a Police officer face delays or even the possibility of being arrested, so don't get behind the wheel of a car without your licence.
It's easy to just “pop to the shops” and forget to take your driving licence with you, but you might find it significantly less convenient if you leave home without it.
Driving a car with cyclists and bicycles on the road
On an open road, you must leave at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) between your car and a cyclist when overtaking. You can cross a solid white line in the centre of the road to overtake a bicycle if it is necessary to do so, if you can see that the road ahead is clear, and if no other vehicles are on the opposite carriageway.
It is not unusual to find large groups of avid cyclists riding around the roads of the Orihuela Costa, but Spanish road legislation treats groups of riders as a single unit. Think of a group of cyclists no differently than a large articulated lorry or heavy goods vehicle.
This is an especially important point on roundabouts, where, as soon as the first cyclist has entered the roundabout the entire group of riders now have the right of way to enter the roundabout, and other road users must give way until the last cycle in the group has passed through the intersection safely before proceeding.
Driving in Spain, using roundabouts on the Orihuela Costa
Roundabouts are one of the most often misunderstood and seemingly confusing elements of the Spanish road network, and using a roundabout improperly can lead to a serious accident or a fine.
National legislation regards roundabouts as nothing more than a curved, dual carriageway road with junctions. This means that traffic can turn left, or go all the way around a roundabout in the outer lane – without indicating.
This can be a nightmare for drivers unfamiliar with negotiating roundabouts across the Orihuela Costa region, but there is a simple solution.
The law states that you must always exit a roundabout in the right-hand outer-most lane. If you drive in the inner lane beside a car in the outer lane, bear in mind that the car to your right has the right of way and may continue all the way around the roundabout.
Our advice is to stay in the right-hand lane when using a roundabout, use roundabouts with great care and at low speed, use your left-turn indicator as a courtesy to other road users when turning left, and always be ready to stop your vehicle if you encounter a driver who is not as familiar with the rules of the road here.
Looking for holiday ideas and travel inspiration? Find out more about our favourite recommended things to do on the Orihuela Costa or join the La Zenia community Facebook group and find out what's going on in the local area.
Photo credit: LaZenia.com