MADRID – Overtaking on the left is the norm. However, overtaking on the right in Spain is allowed in three specific situations. There is also a situation where left-hand driving on is fined up to €200. These (updated) rules are good to remember before you hit the road in Spain.
The Spanish traffic regulations allow overtaking on the right in three situations. It is allowed to overtake in the right lane within the city. Here people often drive on the lane that is most convenient when a turn has to be made further on. If a road user indicates that he/she wishes to turn left and uses his/her own lane to accelerate and then take the left turn during traffic and traffic jams. In these cases, overtaking on the right does not count as an overtaking manoeuvre.
Left-hand driving is not always allowed in Spain
However, the DGT draws attention to the so-called ‘left lane syndrome’, illegal left-hand driving where fines can be up to €200 and up to 4 points deducted from the driver’s license.
Drivers who continuously drive on the left are also wrong, whether this is done consciously or not. The left-most lane often has less traffic and allows cars to drive faster. However, driving on this lane for miles is an offence, unless there is traffic. Furthermore, this action can impede traffic and lead to risky situations, such as having to overtake on the right when someone occupies the left lane.
For this reason, it is only justified to drive on the left when overtaking. In all other cases, road users should keep to the right as much as possible.
Spain scraps speed margin during overtaking
Another situation that road users must take into account is that it is no longer allowed to drive a maximum of 20 km/h faster than the maximum permitted speed during overtaking. This extra margin has been abolished since the last amendment to the traffic regulations in 2021. This rule was not yet applied in any other EU country, which is why Spain announced at the end of 2020 that it would no longer apply it.