On the road – by Mercedes Escudero

by Susannah Grant posted on 2 February 2014

Mercedes Escudero shares tips and hints for “The Expat Experience” in Spain:

On the road – by Mercedes Escudero

Easter is around the corner, only two months left! Easter always means a short break before the final sprint towards the summer. Even though this year’s winter weather is showing itself quite mild, by the middle part of April we all will be longing for some vacation under the sun, near the beach, having our drinks on a nice TERRAZA over a nice conversation. This fact leads me to one of your concerns that I received via email: Travelling by car basic lingo.

In order to have a nice trip, it would be nice if we could have it planned in advance, especially if you are driving.

One of the things you want to know if you are traveling by car and you enjoy driving is the Spanish driving regulation, CODIGO DE CIRCULACION. The valid driver’s license CARNET DE CONDUCIR in Spain is either the EUROPEAN LICENSE if you are an EU citizen or the International license that has to be brought by you validated before you come to Spain. Otherwise you will have to get your Spanish one going through both theorical and practical examinations. The organism encharged of the driving regulations is the DIRECCION GENERAL DE TRAFICO “D.G.T”.

Another thing to have into consideration is the fact that, in Spain we drive on the right line and that may be confusing for drivers from the UK.  Our roads are CARRETERAS NACIONALES, our motorways are AUTOPISTAS -toll- Y AUTOVIAS -toll free-.The traffic authority is the GUARDIA CIVIL DE TRAFICO.  You can reach them dialing 112, the general emergency number which is valid all around Europe. Using this number you can also reach the rest of the emergency services such as ambulances o firemen. In the 112 call center they speak Spanish, French, and English. This no charge emergency number can be dialed even if your phone does not reach your operator signal, FUERA DE COBERTURA.

The car insurance usually includes the on-road assistance service GRUA or ASISTENCIA EN CARRETERA.  You may want to check first if the service is valid from the km.0, DESDE PUERTA DE CASA, and which repairing garage they can use to deliver your broken car. Find out also if you have the COCHE DE SUSTITUCION, additional car, included. If your insurance policy does not meet your needs,  you may want to check the on the road assistance companies such as RACE, RACC, or the international ones you have in your own country and that, in some cases, they can cover these incidents while staying abroad.

This dialog with an Assistance Service’s operator is an example of  flat tire RUEDA PINCHADA situation.

TENGO UNA RUEDA PINCHADA.:  I have a flat tire.

– DONDE SE ENCUENTRA? : Where are you now (location)?

EN EL KM 25 DE LA CARRETERA N-1. In the km 25 of the “nacional uno” ENTRE ALCOBENDAS Y SAN SEBASTIAN DE LOS REYES between Alcobendas and San Sebastian de los Reyes.

– DIGAME UN NUMERO DE TELEFONO. Give me a telephone number.

MI TELEFONO MOVIL ES…..my cell phone number is….CUANTO VA A TARDAR? How long are you going to take?

– MEDIA HORA. Half an hour

LA RUEDA DE REPUESTO ESTA DETRAS. The spare tire is on the back.

If your car is broken the assistance service will take it to a garage. Depending on the Insurance Company policies, the car could need to be checked by a PERITO DEL SEGURO in advance. If he gives the ok, the car will be repaired ARREGLADO.

What happens with the car in the garage and other issues is for future matter.

Until then, have a save Easter trip.


Thanks for all your e-mails. For further questions on this subject, feedback or new questions, e-mail me with the subject line “tips and hints” at mer@ayudantia.com.


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