Driving in Spain vs Driving in Australia: things you must know

Driving in Spain vs Driving in Australia: things you must know

2023-07-12 01:35:06

Are you an Australian Expat that wants to drive in Spain? Remember that since Australia is not an EU/EEA country, you can only drive with your Australian driver’s license and an international driver's permit for less than 6 months. But if you want to stay longer than 6 months, you need to take the Spanish driving test and get a Spanish driver’s license.

In general, Australian and Spanish traffic rules have a lot of things in common. For example, they have the same driving alcohol limit, fines for having a hand or arm outside the vehicle while driving, and compulsory safety belts for all passengers and drivers. However, there are still regulation differences that you need to be careful with before hitting the road.


1. Things you need to bear in mind while driving in Spain:

2. At Adeslas, we care about your mobility and safety



1. Things you need to bear in mind while driving in Spain:


Road signs in Spain


  • The most obvious and important difference is that you should drive on the right-hand side in Spain. It could be hard for Australian drivers to adapt because changing driving habits requires time and patience.


  • Speed limit: This is highly dependent on the area and the traffic signs. But generally:
    • On motorways and autovías, cars usually can drive 120km/h at most.
    • In interurban rural roads, the speed limit for cars is usually 90km/h.
    • In built-up areas, the speed limits are:
      • 50 km/h on urban roads with two lanes per direction
      • 30 km/h on urban roads with one lane per direction
      • 20 km/h on urban roads shared with pedestrians


  • Mobile phone use: Mobile phone use while driving is also different from Spain. The Australian regulation prohibits mobile phone use for all learners, P1 and P2 license holders. However, the Spanish regulation is looser in this sense, while it prohibits the use of a hand-held mobile device, it allows the use of the hands-free, blue-tooth device. You can even talk to the device. But you are not allowed to use any earphones or headphones.


  • If you have children in cars, you need to beware of the following terms:
    • Includes all seats for babies from just born up to when they have 105 cm in height. These baby seats must be attached with Isofix, with the only exception of seats for children of 15 months old that can be strapped with the car seatbelt. 
    • Includes all seats for children with a height over 100 cm, the boosters must have a rigid back to improve child protection in case of an accident.
    • An obligation to put all baby seats in the opposite direction for children under 80 cm of height or under 15 months old, can be made mandatory.
    • According to DGT regulations in 2015, all child car seats, boosters, etc must be placed in back seats when the children’s height is not bigger than 135 cm, but there are some exceptions: 
      - When the car only has two seats
      - When all back seats are already occupied by other children
      - When there’s no possibility of placing the child's car seats in the back seats.


If any of these exceptions apply, the child could be seated in the front seat but always in a baby seat following his/her weight and size. If the seat is in the same direction as the movement of the car there must be an active airbag. In case the seat is in the opposite direction the airbag must be inactive. Lateral airbags may be kept active. 


  • You cannot drive in flip-flops or open-backed sandals. Not only is this dangerous but also the police may fine people for this once detected, especially in holiday seasons or specific areas. So some people do not get fined if they drive without shoes.


  • Driving with one hand or arm outside of the vehicle can lead to a fine of €100. Article 18 of the General Traffic Law states that the driver and passengers must maintain a sensible position inside the vehicle.


  • When parking on the beach, be careful about the signs because it’s illegal to park in an area under environmental protection. Because you may end up with a fine.


  • Touching your make-up or eating food when waiting for a red light may lead to fines if you are caught.
  • Blasting music in quiet places like hospitals or early morning can lead to fines because the noise is preventing the neighborhood from sleeping.


  • Do not take your eyes off the road because once caught you may face fines.


  • Both hands should be on the steering wheel while driving, which means you cannot bite your nails, nor can you insult other drivers through hand gestures.



2. At Adeslas, we care about your mobility and safety


At Adeslas, we consider your overall safety and also offer the best accident insurance offers. You can contact us to know about our car insurance 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]European Commission - Road Safety - Going abroad. (2021). Retrieved 6 August 2021, from https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/going_abroad/spain/mobile_telephone_en.htm#:~:text=Going%20abroad%20%2D%20Spain&text=The%20use%20of%20mobile%20telephones,or%20earphones%20may%20be%20used

[2] Know the rules - Mobile phone use - Staying safe - NSW Centre for Road Safety. (2021). Retrieved 6 August 2021, from https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/mobilephones/know-the-rules.html 


Our content will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 12/07/2023

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