For some people, driving in Lanzarote is their first experience of driving abroad, and a few nerves are understandable.
Let’s start off by putting you at your ease – driving here is easy and safe. Our roads are excellent, traffic quite light and visibility is always good. Also remember that locals are very used to tourists not being quite sure of what they are doing, so there’s plenty of time to make decisions. Relax – you’ll be fine!
Here are some key things to note:
We drive on the right
Cars here are left hand drive and we drive on the right side of the road. You’ll get used to it very quickly, but a couple of things might feel odd if you are used to right hand drive. You’ll find the central interior mirror feels as though it’s in the wrong place, and changing gear will feel a little odd with your right hand. If you’re concerned about the latter, hire an automatic.
Also remember on a dual carriageway, you should stay in the nearside lane unless you are overtaking.
The first thing to note is that we go around them anti-clockwise. The rules are also different here – traffic in the outside lane has right of way. That means you will often see people going all the way around a roundabout in the outside lane, even if they are leaving at the 3rd or 4th exit. Just make sure you are in that outside lane at the point you want to leave the roundabout.
If you come to a stop sign at a T-Junction, you have to stop, even if you can see the road is clear. A stop is mandatory here, so make sure you do so, especially if you see a policeman around.
Solid white lines
You must never cross a solid white line, either to overtake or to turn. Note this one, especially when parking – don’t be tempted to cross a solid line and park facing the wrong way.
You’ll see many more bikes on the roads of Lanzarote than in many other places. Of course, they have just as much right to use the roads as car drivers or pedestrians. If they are riding in a group, they will usually ride two abreast in a “peloton” which means their line is shorter for you to overtake. Wait for a moment when there are no solid lines and the road ahead is clear, then pass the cyclists leaving at least 1.5 metres clear on your nearside.
You should park in the direction of the traffic, especially at night so your reflectors are presented to traffic. You shouldn’t swing across the road to park facing the oncoming traffic.
Slip roads onto main roads can be quite short here, and traffic on the main road is not obliged to let you filter in, so be prepared to stop if you don’t have a clear entry into the traffic.
Right turns onto a road
When you turn right from one road to another, you should give way to any on coming traffic turning left into the same road. You’ll see markings which show you where to stop to let the left turner through.
It doesn’t rain often in Lanzarote, but when it does, turn your headlights on, and remember the roads can be slippery if it’s the first rain for months.
A left indicator is often used to show you the car in front is stopping
You may have noticed that when cars stop at pedestrian crossings, they put their left indicator on. That signals the car behind, but also the pedestrian, that they have been seen and it is safe to cross.
All occupants must wear seat belts. Children under 18KG in weight must be in child seats and those under 135CM tall should be in the rear seats on a booster. When you hire a car from us, we supply both types free of charge.
Drinking and driving
The legal alcohol limit here is 0.05% and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence.
The police here maintain a strong presence on the roads and they are permitted to stop traffic for road side checks. Ensure you have your driving licence with you when driving, and if it’s not a photo type, you should have photo ID with you. Also keep a copy of your hire agreement in the car. The Policía Municipal are responsible for traffic control within the towns, outside these areas it becomes the area of the Guardia Civil de Tráfico. The motorcycle police usually patrol in pairs and are trained in mechanics and first aid, they will stop and help any drivers in trouble. The police will often set up a check point and stop random motorists, they want to see your passport or residencia, driving license and vehicle registration papers (permiso de circulación) with insurance certificate (including proof of payment). For hire cars, the copy of the contract covers all these things.
Speed limits in Lanzarote
Residential areas 20 kph
Built up areas 50 kph
Country roads 80 kph
Dual carriageways 100 kph
A traffic ticket (multa) issued should show the vehicle’s registration number, details of the driver, details of the offence, police identification number and time limit for an appeal. Any non-resident driver will be asked to pay traffic fines on the spot and expect to be accompanied to a cash point if you don’t have the funds on you! A resident is given 30 days to make the payment at a local bank or the tráfico office. A discount of up to 30% may be offered for prompt or immediate payment, the fine is to be paid within 60 days otherwise.
The amount of the fine depends on the severity of the offence, they range up to €1,500.
Serious offences include driving at least 30 kph over the speed limit, driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, refusing to take a breathalyzer test and exceeding the number of people legally permitted in the vehicle.
Offences such as driving without lights, parking in a dangerous position, crossing a solid white line, driver or passengers not wearing a seatbelt carry fines from €91 to €300.
There are fixed cameras in some locations in Lanzarote and average speed cameras in others. There is also a radar equipped car and portable radar speed checking equipment which can be set up anywhere.
Take your time, and obey the speed limits!
You are not allowed to tow cars in Lanzarote, if your car breaks down or has an accident then you must call for a grúa (tow truck).
If you have an accident
If anyone is injured or the accident is a serious one, you must call the police on 112, and you will also be able to ask for an ambulance. You should put a warning triangle onto the road behind and in front of a car blocking any part of the road, and passengers should don reflective jackets.
Notify your insurance company or the hire company as soon as possible. It’s common practice for those involved in an accident to complete an accident report form at the scene.
We have a huge range of cars which you can hire at really affordable prices – the small cars are generally less than €80 per week. Our prices include two drivers, full insurance with no excess, free child seats, and the cars all have air conditioning. See the full range here: Lanzarote car hire