What do ‘dragon teeth’ mean on the road in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
dragon teeth and zigzag road markings

MADRID – In some countries we know them as shark teeth, but in Spain, they call them ‘dragon teeth’. White triangles painted on the road as an experiment in the municipality of Nava de Roa (Burgos). Soon we will see these and perhaps more new road markings in Spain. 

The Spanish traffic authority DGT is also experimenting with ‘broken edge lines’ on the asphalt. Both the dragon’s teeth and the broken edge lines are part of a pilot test regarding the new road marking regulations from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda. 

Dragon’s teeth 

Dragon’s teeth are white triangles that are painted on the side of the road. This is in contrast to our shark teeth that indicate you are approaching a priority road. Due to the dragon teeth on the side of the road in Spain, it appears to make it narrower. This, in turn, causes road users to slow down as a precaution.

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The road marking has a length of 30 metres. And is placed in front of a conflicting road section that the driver must drive over at a lower speed and with more caution. 

Broken Edge Lines 

On kilometres 293,652 and 294,356 of the N-122 (which connects Valladolid with Zaragoza and the Portuguese border), ‘broken edge lines’ have been drawn. These are zigzag-shaped road signs that, unlike the dragon’s teeth, are placed and intended at the edges of the entire road to warn of a zebra crossing. And, therefore, alert the driver that he or she is approaching a restricted speed zone. This signalling is mainly intended for the national dual carriageways that cross many small villages. And also areas where drivers often rush through at high speed, posing a risk to the safety of the villagers. 

However, as this is an experimental road signal, it depends on the response of drivers and the effectiveness of the signal whether we will encounter the dragon’s teeth and the broken edge lines in other parts of Spain. Time will tell. 

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