Driving in Spain: confusing Spanish road signs and what do they mean?

Driving in Spain: confusing Spanish road signs and what do they mean?

2021-08-27 22:00:05

Each country has some differences when it comes to traffic laws. As an expat continuing driving in the new country, some of the road signs may seem confusing to you. This article is for you, where some of the most interesting and confusing Spanish road signs will be explained.

1. What do these general signs mean?

  • short-range lighting obligation (alumbrado de corto alcance): This shower-shaped sign is usually seen at the beginning part of a tunnel, which reminds the drivers to activate the short-range lighting. While the one with a question mark means the end of the light-required area.  
  • circulation with priority (calzada con prioridad): It indicates the priority of drivers of vehicles traveling on a road at intersections over vehicles traveling on or coming from another road. The second sign with a thick black line above marks the end of the circulation with a priority area.
  • control de radar (radar control): This is a radar control reminder sign that we might see on a highway or other kinds of road.    Different to most people might think, this sign does not tell us exactly when/where will we encounter a radar control. But it does tell us that this part of the road is a little dangerous and there might be speed controls.
  • overtaking is prohibited (atelantamiento prohibido): The following 4 signs all transmit a message that overtaking is forbidden here. But the first 2 signs are for all the vehicles while the last 2 signs are only aimed at trucks, which means that trucks cannot overtake.
  • crossing of tranvías (cruzce de tranvía): In Spain, there are ground trains (tranvías) in many major cities. This sign can alert the drivers of the possible danger of upcoming ground trains.
  • signs of driving in the contrary direction (sentido contrario): These two signs are both about driving on the contrary direction. However, when seeing the first sign, you shouldn’t drive on the contrary direction because it’s prohibited, while the second sign indicates that driving in the wrong direction has priority.

2. What do those service signs mean?

  • Picturesque place (Lugar pintoresco): This sign can be interesting because you can never figure out its meaning. It means that there is a picturesque place or a place where you can see.
  • Water (agua): This sign is cultural as it means that you will encounter a Roman water fountain near the sign. In places that used to be ruled by the Roman Empire, you might see this sign which leads you to get some free freshwater.
  • Area of rest (Area de descanso): This is a sign which indicates that you are approaching a rest area. Usually, this sign is often understood and explained as a picnic spot
  • Parking for users of … (Estacionamiento de Usuarios de …): These three signs mean parking for users of a certain type of public transportation.
    • Parking for users of Ferrocarril
    • Parking for users of underground Ferrocarril
    • Parking for users of bus
图形用户界面, 应用程序


3. Advice from Adeslas

If you want to know about other traffic signs, you can consult here.

In Adeslas, we consider your mobility as well as your safety. Therefore, we want to present you with our medical insuranceaccident insurance, and car insurance offer to ensure your health and safety. You can contact us to know more information by phone call (+34 911746191), WhatsApp (+34 640048309), or email (info@innoinsure.com)


[1]Norms y señales reguladoras de la circulación (2021). Retrieved 27 August 2021, from https://www.dgt.es/Galerias/seguridad-vial/formacion-vial/cursos-para-profesores-y-directores-de-autoescuelas/XVIII-Curso-de-Profesores/Normas-y-seniales.pdf

[2] know your traffic signs (2021). Retrieved 27 August 2021, from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/519129/know-your-traffic-signs.pdf

Our contents will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 28/08/2021

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