Driving in Spain is, a lot of the time, pleasurable, smooth new roads with few fellow drivers to look out for, allowing one to take in the beautiful, changing countryside, but at other times it can also be a nerve racking experience, navigating bone shaking routes where you try not to blink in case you cause irreparable damage to body and machinery!
In recent times the Spanish have invested heavily on new toll motorways with the intention of removing traffic from the heavily congested national routes that seem to run through every town no matter where you are heading.
Unfortunately, it seems that the average Spanish motorist resents having to pay for his driving pleasures and continues to use the national routes therefore, allowing the more affluent to benefit from the faster, smoother and obviously emptier toll roads thus avoiding a lot of the Spanish drivers.
Spanish drivers are by no means the worst in the world but they do have many habits and mannerisms that will make you both cringe and chuckle; they possess the same love of the horn embraced by so many other nations’ drivers, (the Italians spring to mind). But their use of the horn doesn’t seem to be for notifying another driver of a serious driving infringement but instead to remind people that they are sitting at a red light or that Real Madrid or Barcelona or whoever they have pledged their allegiance to, has just scored a goal!
I think most drivers would agree that round-a-bouts are quite simple to use, but they seem to be a complete mystery to many Spanish drivers, on many occasions, a happy- go- lucky Spaniard in the right hand lane will decide that he is turning left, often with no indication, the result of this being the screeching of quickly applied foot brakes from vehicles travelling in the left hand lane with the intention of carrying straight on.
Amazingly though, this type of manoeuvre, as mentioned earlier, is apparently deemed quite acceptable by the average Spanish motorist and the barrage of horns one would expect is never heard.
The Spanish have rather a crazy way of overtaking also, or at least the speed merchants amongst them do.
Many of the major roads in Spain are dual carriageways and at times you will need to overtake slower traffic. It is at this time that you are likely to encounter the presence of ‘loco’ driver.
You will go through your overtaking procedure - mirror, indicate, manoeuvre –and then, as if by magic, a quick look in your rear view mirror reveals that you have a car practically riding your bumper with its left indicator flashing like there’s no tomorrow.
My advice, pull in as soon as humanly possible and let the lunatic past!
Strangely enough this is also deemed acceptable practise!!
I would say on the whole though, having driven in the UK, driving in Spain is vastly more enjoyable with far fewer vehicles and far less road rage and once you get used to the quirkiness of the Spanish driver (for want of a better description) it is a lot safer as well.