Drivers won’t find much difference between the rules on headlight use here in Spain and back home, but it’s always a good idea to revise what’s correct and what could get you a fine.
First published in Gazette Life, March 1st 2021.
Dipped front headlights are compulsory in all conditions of low visibility, from twilight and night-time to tunnels, rain showers, and dust. Nevertheless, Spain’s Traffic Department recommends that all drivers keep them turned on 24 hours a day – something that is already obligatory in other European countries.
Long-beam headlights must only be used on unlit stretches of road after nightfall. This applies to much of Lanzarote, so it’s worth getting into the habit of using them correctly. Full-beam headlights MUST be dipped if any other traffic is visible ahead of you, whether it’s coming towards you or leading ahead. They must also be dipped before turning a sharp right bend.
Take care on roads with speed bumps or humps, as oncoming traffic may be dazzled by the brief raising of headlights.
Hazard lights are highly visible and should only be used when you have stopped your car and there is the danger that it may cause an obstruction – for example, accidents, breakdowns or obstructed roads.
Lights that indicate where your vehicle is. These should always be used when parking on the hard shoulder of a road (as opposed to an urban street).
Rear fog lights are only to be used in heavy fog, which is almost unheard of on Lanzarote. Front fog lights may be used in lighter fog, heavy rain or dust clouds, and should be switched on if you’re on a narrow (less than 6.5 metres wide) road with lots of curves and dips.
Considering the amount of controversy they cause, the correct use of indicators is simple to explain. Basically, they are for you to warn other drivers that you are about to make a manouevre, changing lane or direction.
On roundabouts, indicators should only be used to show that you intend to change lanes or leave at the next exit.
In Spain, it’s fairly frequent to see oncoming traffic flashing you briefly by snapping their longbeams on and off. Usually, this means that they’re doing you a favour and warning you about something ahead – normally a police check, an accident or tailback.
They may also be telling you that something is wrong with your car – usually that you’re long-beam headlights have been left on. Some will even give you a flash to remind you that your normal headlights are on, as the DGT recommends.
Nevertheless, light-flashing is illegal and can be subject to a fine of €80.
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