Documents required when driving in Europe - Mon 05th December 2011

 Of all the years travelling to and from Spain I neglected to take my vehicle registration document. Stopped on a routine police check in Spain I was asked for it. Yes, I had the driving licence in paper format and in plastic card format too, as well as the original MOT and the insurance certificate to hand and all in my name, but no vehicle registration log book, which I had left back in the UK.
As far as the police are concerned it could be a stolen vehicle I was driving, and informed that any child could copy the other documents presented. Showing the tracking device paperwork that the car had cut no ice.
It was nicely explained to me that they could impound the car and be retrieved upon the registration document being shown, plus a fine for their trouble.
A lesson learned from the helpful Guardia Civil and they very kindly let me on my way, but just as he did so the nice policeman noticed that the GB sticker I thought was on the number plate wasn't there. A 5 year old car that has gone through France and Spain every year went unnoticed and unpunished.
A possible on-the-spot fine would be 200 Euros for this misdemeanour, but the Guardia kindly let it go. Must have been the pending xmas goodwill.
I had the document posted out to me in Spain toot de suite, along with the missing GB sticker, just in case. What documentaion is required when driving in Spain and France?

• Driver's license in plastic card and paper format
• Insurance document (original)
• GB sticker on bumper or a 200 Euro fine
• Vehicle registration (original) document (or rental documents), otherwise you risk car being impounded.
• Wearers of spectacles should carry a spare pair
• Fluorescent jacket (for each occupant of vehicle)
• Two warning triangles for Spain to allow for front and rear warnings.
• Spare light bulbs, even if you cannot fix them.
• Fire extinguisher (recommended)
• First-aid kit (recommended)
What is nice about Spain and France, apart from the usual enjoyments of being abroad, is that they pre-warn you of radar, so if you happen to be over the limit, by any chance, then at least you have been warned. The exceptions are when the police have a hand operated radar unit. One place notorious for this in Spain is on the Teruel to Zaragoza road around the turn off for Monreal del Campo (normally always under the bridge).

Posted by Bruce Gibson

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