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

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

2023-11-16 01:02:30

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.


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1. What do these general signs mean?

2. What do those service signs mean?

3. Advice from Adeslas



1. What do these general signs mean?

Mandatory lights on.

  • 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.  

Begin of a priority road.End of the priority road.

  • 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.

Aviso de radar en autopista española. - foto de stock

  • 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 from what 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 prohibited.End of the overtaking prohibition.Overtaking prohibited for trucks.End of the overtaking prohibition for trucks.

  • 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.

Warning for trams.

  • 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.

Road narrowing, give way to oncoming drivers. Road narrowing, oncoming drivers have to give way.

  • 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?

Ilustración de Señal De Tráfico En España Lugar Pintoresco y más Vectores  Libres de Derechos de Anticuado - Anticuado, Azul, Color - Tipo de imagen -  iStock

  • 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.

  • 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 Cars
    • Parking for users of Trams
    • Parking for users of buses



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)


If you would like to know more about this topic, check out one of these other blogs:





[1]Traffic Signs (2023). Retrieved 15 June 2023, from https://traffic-rules.com/en/spain/traffic-signs/prohibitory-signs 

[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 

[3] Spain Road Signs (2023). Retrieved 15 June 2023, From https://practicatest.com/en/book-theory-driving-test/spain-road-signs 


Our content will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 15/06/2023

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