|Thursday, April 19, 2018
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Driver Obligations In Spain 

We all know that the driver of the car is the person “in charge” whilst the vehicle is moving but there are various things that the driver and passengers are either prohibited to do whilst travelling or are recommended that they should or should not be done.

We are going to look at various points. Firstly, as we are all well aware, even though you still see many people doing this whilst driving, the use of a mobile phones or headphones for listening to music is strictly prohibited. Both of these cause a distraction to the driver who, may not be able to concentrate sufficiently and thus there is a much higher risk of an accident occurring. There are now fines and sanctions imposable for these infractions and the Guardia Civil Traffic Police take a very dim view of this and often if you are caught they will not stop at just giving you a fine for it they are quite likely to go through the car and its papers, and those of the driver with a fine toothcomb. Some may feel that this is petty but the Police are legally obligated to make the roads as safe as possible for all road users and will use opportunities such as this to drive the message home.

When we have passengers there is often a lot of chatter going on and whilst no one is saying that you should travel in silence, we must all be mindful of the driver’s concentration. For example if someone tells a really funny joke and the passengers erupt with laughter the driver is likely to do the same and a seconds momentary loss of concentration can have fatal consequences.

Children, toddlers and pets also cause distractions to the driver and whilst in the majority of cases the former cannot be controlled, you must ensure that any child is travelling in the appropriate seat or booster for their age/height and that they are securely strapped in. For animals they too should be securely strapped in the rear of the car not only for your safety but also for theirs as they could be thrown forward towards the windscreen in the event of a severe crash or impact.

With the high temperature that we experience here in the Canary Islands we should do our best to make sure that our car is kept as cool inside as possible before we use it. If you have a garage or garage space use it, if not try to park in a shady area, under a tree perhaps and use a sunshield when leaving the car to assist in keeping the inside of the car cooler. It is always advisable to wear loose fitting clothing so that you are comfortable when driving and wear appropriate footwear, after all your feet and eyes are the main parts of the body we use when driving. Wearing good sunglasses (those that are recommended for driving) is also highly recommended.

You should always make sure that you stay hydrated because dehydration can lead to fatigue which in turn could be a cause of an accident. If you are feeling that you are becoming overheated stop as soon as possible and drink some cool water to rehydrate yourself, of course do not forget your passengers either. Particular care should be taken when travelling with infants, small children and old people for whom the excess heat can be worse.