For visitors to Lanzarote, driving can be a great way to get around as the island, generally speaking, is a pretty safe place to drive. There’s much less traffic on the road than in urban parts of the UK and the roads are well signposted and of good quality – so it’s not that daunting a challenge for tourists who want to explore the island’s main attractions.
However, there are both cultural differences and anomalies in the Spanish Highway Code that foreign drivers should be made aware of before they take to the road. Not least as Spain also recently introduced some tough new driving laws which carry hefty fines for unwary tourists. Read on to find out more about safe driving and cheap car rentals on Lanzarote.
If you’re thinking of driving during a holiday on Lanzarote, it’s important that you’re aware of any changes to the Highway Code, as awareness of new laws remains pretty low amongst visitors. The most pertinent points include not allowing children to travel in the front seat of your hire car. In Lanzarote, any under 12 found anywhere other than the back berth will result in a fine of 200 euros for the driver. The law doesn’t in fact explicitly state age, but size, so in fact anyone measuring under 1 metre 35cms should avoid sitting in the front seat of the vehicle.
When it comes to drink driving on Lanzarote, tourists should also beware that fines for exceeding Spain’s 0.5mg limit have been doubled to 1000 euros. Drivers can also be saliva tested for drugs and this offence also carries the same monetary penalty. And the Guardia Civil don’t even need to stop vehicles in Spain in order to impose fines, as they can simply rely on taking a car’s registration number.
In fact, you don’t even have to be in charge of a vehicle to get drink or drug tested, as even pedestrians who don’t adhere to the Highway Code can be liable to prosecution in Spain – something worth keeping in mind! Finally, footwear choices matter, too. Wearing flip flops when driving on Lanzarote will result in an instant fine, so be sure to pack sensible shoes for driving. One of the benefits of driving on Lanzarote is that parking generally isn’t an issue, with larger resorts like Playa Blanca often offering free parking areas. From speed limits and paying fines to assistance following an accident, make sure you’ve done your research on driving in Spain before you arrive.
There are a few important differences between driving on Lanzarote and driving in the UK that tourists should take on board before taking to the roads.
Firstly, indicating on Lanzarote is deemed optional by most drivers. So, always leave plenty of room between you and the car in front to allow for sudden, unindicated manoeuvres. Contrarily though, drivers will often use their indicators to signal that they are slowing down as a result of an incident in front of them – most often slowing traffic.
British drivers will also find that lane discipline is pretty poor, which only really becomes apparent when you attempt to negotiate one of the few roundabouts on the island. Local drivers will think nothing of taking the outer lane and then cutting in to take their desired exit, again often without indicating.
Using the horn is almost totally unheard of here, and more often than not just earns you a friendly wave or beep of recognition in return.
Spanish drivers can also stop the traffic, quite literally, for up to two minutes. Which is why a drive around the capital of Arrecife can be quite enlightening, as motorists slowly say goodbye to their departing passengers in the middle of the road, whilst the traffic queues patiently behind them.