The driving laws for Gran Canaria are the same as in all Spanish territories. Motorists can hire a vehicle with a valid driving licence, passport/ID card and a credit card.
The new Traffic Reform Bill came into effect in May 2010 and introduces tougher rules for motorists. Under the new legislation, average-speed cameras are now legal in Spain. The camera measures the speed of a vehicle at two points and calculates the average. The camera is triggered if the legal speed limit is broken and a fine will be issued.
Handling a GPS while the vehicle is moving is classified as a serious offence and using a mobile phone is strictly forbidden, even if the car is stationary. To use a phone, motorists must pull off the road and be away from any other traffic.
The speed limit on motorways is 120 km/h, while in towns and cities it’s 50 km/h, unless otherwise indicated. Parking is prohibited on white or yellow lines and blue lines indicate a restricted parking area where you must purchase a ticket from a pay-and-display machine. Parking in a disabled spot is against the law and could result in a fine.
Breath tests for alcohol are carried out randomly and non-residents may be subject to on-the-spot fines. The blood alcohol limit is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood (meaning 0.05% of alcohol detected in a blood sample). For drivers who have held their licence for less than two years, the limit is 0.1 milligram per millilitre (0.01%). Helmets are required when riding motorcycles or mopeds and the use of headphones when driving is strictly forbidden. Cyclists should wear a helmet and must have lights to ride in the dark.
In Gran Canaria they drive on the right-hand side of the road with steering wheels fitted on the left side of the car. The use of seatbelts in the front and back is compulsory. Children under the age of 12 may not travel in the front seats of the vehicle, unless they are more than 150cm in height.
Driving in the mountains can be a challenge with winding roads and narrow bends demanding the utmost concentration, so make sure to plan enough time for your journey. The only fast roads on the island are the GC1 motorway from Las Palmas to Arguineguín and the GC2 from Las Palmas to Agaete.