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Driving in Spain Essentials – Don’t Get Caught Without These

Driving in Spain Essentials – Don’t Get Caught Without These

Driving in Spain Essentials – 10 Items You Need in the Car

Driving in Spain requires you to carry several items in your car to stay legal, the Guardia Civil can and do ask for proof of these items should you ever get stopped so it is best to get yourself a kit together and make sure you are covered for everything.

One point to note is that laws in Spain change regularly so some of what you may read online could already be out of date, with that said most of what you need does make sense to have in the vehicle – here is a list of what you should carry:

Warning Triangles (compulsory)

Two warning triangles are compulsory, these are to be placed front and rear of the car (at a distance of 50 meters). There is rumour that triangles are going to be replaced by flashing lights in the future so keep an eye on this one.

driving in spain essentials

V16 Emergency Light – What is this?

As of 2021 you have the option of carrying a V16 emergency light, this light is battery powered and needs to be carried in the glove box. The idea is that if you should be involved in an accident or break down then you simply switch on the light and place it on the roof of the car – this eliminates the need to get out of the vehicle and place warning triangles in front and behind.

Depending on what you read the V16 will become compulsory and replace warning triangles from 2024. Ultimately, with law changes like this it is best to act on them sooner rather than later, it’s always better to know that you’re covered. The fine for not carrying warning triangles/V16 is €200 euros.

First Aid Kit

Part of your overlanding/camping gear anyway, a first aid kit used be compulsory but appears not be a legal requirement now. Always good to have in any event.

first aid kit for the car in spain

Hi-Vis Jackets (compulsory)

High visibility jackets are to be kept in the vehicle at all times – you can be fined for walking on the hard shoulder without one. One jacket must be available for every person travelling in the vehicle.

Spare Bulb Kit

Not compulsory but recommended (used to be a legal requirement but no longer is)

Fire Extinguisher

When we first came to Spain in 2004 a fire extinguisher was compulsory, nowadays it’s not clear but it’s a good idea to carry one anyway, if you’re overlanding then it’s part of the kit.

Compulsory, a spare tyre, for obvious reasons.

driving in spain essentials

DOCUMENTS (compulsory) Driving Licence

Goes without saying that you need your licence on you at all times, if you are an expat and have been living in Spain for more than two years (as of 2013) then you should have renewed over to a Spanish licence, then we have Brexit, should you be from the UK then you will have needed to have changed to a Spanish licence before 31st December 2020, for visitors to Spain from other countries an International driving permit will be required.

Insurance certificate

Your insurance policy should also be carried with you, in the event of an accident you will need your policy number.

ITV Certificate

The equivalent of the UK MOT, all cars over four years old need an ITV orInspección Técnica de Vehículos’. Once passed your car will display a coloured sticker in the windscreen and you will be given a certificate to keep in the vehicle at all times.

Registration Document

The registration document or ‘permiso de circulación’ is similar to the UK V5C (log book), essentially it is the document that has all of your vehicles details including ownership.


Carrying your passport as ID is not compulsory when driving, or is it? This one is a bit unclear so we carry ID with us anyway, if there is one thing we have learned during our time here in Spain that is take everything, covering all bases and being prepared with every conceivable piece of paperwork will avoid a tremendous amount of hassle later.

Note: All documents must be the originals – photocopied versions are not acceptable.

Driving in Spain essentials? What do you carry in your vehicle and what are your experiences of being stopped by the Guardia Civil?

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1800 1197 Mac


K90overland is Mac and Gayle, they lived in Andalucia for 19 years before moving back to the UK. Overlanding since 2019 the pair have built up a 'budget rig' and now enjoy a relaxed approach to discovering Scotland and the north of England.

1 Comment
  • Great, thanks for the up to date rules, things change a lot in Spain.
    Living in Spain I find it difficult to get a lot of these things, they are not readily available, so you need to bring them with you?

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