Compared to the larger Spanish cities of Barcelona or Madrid, driving in Malaga is significantly more relaxed. Malaga's idyllic coastal locale draws tourists from all over the world, and more often than not, the roads are primarily populated by foreign drivers - individuals who are decidedly more cautious when touring through Malaga.
Despite the slower-paced, mostly stress-free driving environment characterized in Malaga, there are still plenty of helpful tips and tricks that will help provide you with a positive travel experience, free of unnecessary tension.
Spain's breathtaking southern coastline, home to a series of charming seaside towns, including Malaga, is generally considered to be a much quieter and easy-going vacation destination than the larger urban centers like Barcelona. Malaga's relaxing nature is not without a few caveats, though, as the roadway system is less developed, and marked by small country roads connecting to parallel expressways. Navigating through Malaga isn't all that difficult; rather your options are more limited, as there is less access to expressways or highways to take you to your destination efficiently. If you find yourself pressed for time, attempting to get from location to location on a schedule, then planning your route ahead of time is paramount.
Much like many other major Spanish cities, many local motorists in Malaga are known for their obvious disregard of traffic laws in Spain, this is especially apparent with motorcyclists in the region. When traversing the streets of Malaga in your rental car, be aware that motorcyclists have been known to ignore red lights, and narrowly skirt around traffic at breakneck paces. It is strongly recommended when crossing through intersections, whether on foot or behind the wheel, that you wait a few seconds after the light has turned green, and exhibit hyper-awareness of your surroundings to avoid potentially fatal accidents.
Roundabouts are commonnly encountered when touring Spain by car, and Malaga is no different. One good rule of thumb for properly navigating roundabouts is that the driver who is already in the roundabout has the right of way. Be careful when entering and exiting any roundabouts in Spain, and be sure to use proper turn signals, as changing lanes to exit can be a hectic experience. If you miss your turn-out, don't hesitate to go around the circle until you can safely change lanes and make your way towards the exit. Many times traffic can be heavy, forcing drivers to make multiple rounds before exiting.
Spanish road signs are notoriously difficult to comprehend and lack consistency, even for natives. Tourist destinations, lodging, food offerings, and gas stations are only sometimes marked on road signs. If you are feeling lost or confused, don't hesitate to ask local pedestrians. People in Spain are known for their friendliness, and under almost all circumstances can point you in the right direction.
At this day and age, it has become standard for cell phone usage to be prohibited while driving, as it is proven that misguided attention leads to more car accidents. Despite the seemingly world-wide understanding of cell phone driving laws, there is a slight grey area in regards to which "hands-free" devices are allowed to be used while driving. In Spain, the laws surrounding hands-free devices are more specific than those in the States. Wearing headphones, or using the speakerphone function while driving in Malaga is strictly prohibited, as all hands-free devices must be truly hands free, which basically amounts to Bluetooth ear pieces or in-car atmospheric microphones. Be sure to follow these rules closely, as it is not uncommon for travelers to be fined by police for even the smallest traffic infractions while driving in Malaga.
In the event that you are involved in a car accident, it is important to know that the injured party must be attended to by all on the scene. If you happen to come upon an accident, regardless of whether or not you were involved, it is mandatory by Spanish law that you pull over (safely of course) and help, contacting police as soon as possible. Spaniards are known for their friendliness, especially towards tourists, and lending a helping hand is part of their cultural identity. Don't be afraid to ask for help, or get involved by helping others while traveling in Spain.
In the spirit of care-free vacation exploration, it is strongly recommended that you pickup a GPS rental from Auto Europe before heading out on unfamiliar open roads. The feeling of security afforded by having top-notch navigation technology at your disposal, helping you discover all of Malaga's many hidden enchantments and major destinations, is priceless.
Why bother traversing back and forth in an unknown territory, spending your discretionary travel money on gas, when you can safely and efficiently navigate to all of your desired destinations in a fraction of the time. All of our GPS units come fully loaded with the most up-to-date maps, car mounts/chargers, and travelers will also enjoy 24/7 technical assistance by calling our award-winning GPS experts at 1-888-223-5555.
Check out our guide to Spain's driving laws before hitting the streets on your next vacation.
Eager to make the most of your car rental in Spain? Don't forget to take a look at our comprehensive Spain Car Rental FAQ.