Warning triangle no longer compulsory on some Spanish roads from 1 July

by Lorraine Williamson
warning triangle

From Saturday 1 July, the Spanish traffic authority DGT is going to exempt drivers on motorways and trunk roads from the obligation to place triangles on the road when they need to stop. The aim is to prevent people from being run over when they get out of their vehicles. 

The decision was taken because of the “high number” of people who have died on high-capacity roads (motorways). It was found that driving on the hard shoulder, staying on the hard shoulder, trying to fix breakdowns or even placing and then removing the warning triangles ‘significantly increases’ the risk of being run over. 

Number of road casualties in 2022 

In 2022, 1,746 people died in road traffic accidents, 14% more than the previous year and 9 fewer deaths than in 2019, the year before the coronavirus pandemic, according to DGT data. Of these 1,746 fatalities, 1,270 occurred on roads, or 73%, and 476 in cities (27%). A total of 42 people were victims of road accidents in 2022 because they got out of the vehicle.  

Furthermore, there were also 8,503 hospitalised injured, 119,354 non-hospitalised injured and 129,603 casualties.  

And although the number of casualties has dropped compared to 2019, Director-General of Transport Pere Navarro announced that he is legally studying the possibility of waiving the obligation to stop placing the triangles on highways and motorways this summer with the intention of “preventing accidents”. ‘Something had to be done. Getting out and putting the triangle 50 metres away is a risk and even more so on highways, where there is a lot of traffic,’ he said. He added that “in the UK, the use of triangles on fast roads has already been abolished and other countries are looking into this”. 

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Navarro pointed out that, except in special situations, it is mandatory to place the triangles, meaning it is dangerous to get out on high-capacity roads. ‘This means we waive the obligation to dismount and place the triangle. This is an instruction to all police forces,’ he said. 

What is the alternative to the warning triangle? 

The alternative to the triangle is to place the V16 beacon, which, although only compulsory from 1 January 2026, is recommended because it means you do not have to get out of the car. 

The V16 sign is ‘a small yellow beacon equipped with connectivity and capable of emitting a high-intensity 360º light intermittently and continuously for at least 30 minutes,’ according to DGT’s website. It has ‘a battery with a useful life of at least 18 months, whether rechargeable or not’. 

Also interesting: Spain is preparing for first holiday crowds on Spanish roads 

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