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Police checkpoints and random stops 

Any person who has driven on Spanish roads will no doubt have seen or passed through a Spanish Police Road Block Check point. These are normally carried out by the Guardia Civil, who are the Traffic Police, but here in the Tenerife the relatively new police department the Policia Canaria also carry out these checks.

Sometimes these checks are being carried out in line with a campaign being run by the DGT such as a one to combat drinking and driving, driving with no insurance, no licence, current ITV etc. On other occasions they are being carried out due to intelligence that relates to a specific threat or where they are searching for a car that has absconded from the scene of an accident. Do not be daunted or frightened by this, most people who have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide are allowed to go on their way quite swiftly. Remember that the police are responsible for ensuring the safety of road users and they are doing their job.

The best thing to remember when you are stopped is not to panic, stay calm and be polite. Follow the instructions that the officer gives you and if you do not speak Spanish say so at the beginning but in a polite manner. Often the members of the Guardia Civil speak good English, but do not assume that this is the case as after all we are in Spain. Once they have indicated where they wish you to pull over they may then approach the vehicle and ask you to step out, do not be alarmed by this, they may merely wish to check the contents and possibly passengers in the car as well as the documentation of the car and your own personal documents for identification i.e. Passport, Driving Licence, Residencia etc. Make sure that you give the officer the correct documentation requested and ensure that it is returned to you.

It is important that once you have been allowed to leave the check point that you should not warn other road users, i.e. by flashing of your lights for example as you may find that there is another officer down the road who will stop you and fine you for this “offence”.

Another useful tip is to know exactly how the Police will order you to stop, when it’s not in a checkpoint situation. It is the duty of Guardia Civil Officers to ensure road safety and to prevent offences being committed that would endanger other road users. They are also tasked with providing assistance if necessary. If you are approached by a police car with flashing blue lights AND A RED FLASHING LIGHT, this is their indication that they want you to stop. You should then at the earliest possible opportunity, which is safe and convenient stop and wait for the patrol car to stop behind you. All occupants of your vehicle MUST remain in the car until such time as the officer has approached you on the right hand side and advised you as to the reason why you have been stopped. When they have finished they will assist you in re joining the flow of traffic.

If you are driving safely, doing nothing that is against the law, not driving drunk or having had alcohol outside of the permitted limits, then you really should not have anything to worry about.

Happy Driving .