Spain's road system is made up of motorways and main trunk roads. Numbering systems were updated in 2004 for clarity, and maps produced before this date may not be accurate.
Motorways (autopistas) are marked with and A or E and the road number. Toll roads (autopistas de peage) are marked with AP and the road number. Exits (salidas) are numbered.
To use toll roads, drivers take a ticket on entering the toll road system and pay at an exit booth. Toll fees vary depending on the location and can be higher at peak times. Payment can be made in cash or by credit or debit card. When paying by card, drivers should use the exit marked “Vias Automaticas”.
Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) is available on almost all Spanish toll roads. Designed for frequent users, cars fitted with an On Board Unit can move through the tolls without stopping. Payment is taken directly from the associated bank account or card.
Different minimum and maximum speed limits are set according to different types of road. Speed limits may be lower on some roads and will be signposted. Minimum speed limits are indicated on a round blue sign. Maximum speed limits are indicated on a round sign with a red border. On motorways, speed limits may also be indicated on overhead electronic signs.
Speed cameras and traffic police surveillance teams ensure that drivers stay within the speed limits. Speed-detecting radars are signposted, but random control points are not.
Speeding fines may be given in person by a traffic official or sent to the address of the registered owner of the vehicle. The police may choose to impound the vehicle on the spot if the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or to have committed a severe driving offence, such as driving without a licence.
Fines which are paid within 20 days of being issued benefit from a 50 percent reduction. Within the same 15-day period drivers may contest the fine, but those who chose to do this will lose their right to a reduction. Fines can be paid at post offices (Correos), local traffic departments, by telephone (with a credit/debit card) or through the Traffic Department (Dirección General de Tráfico, DGT) website.
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