As a haulier, it’s great when find that perfect job from your online freight exchange: a full load to take out to Spain and another for your return journey. But before you set off, you should make yourself aware of a few rules and safety guidelines for haulage vehicles and drivers in Spain.
As with travel to any foreign country it is important that drivers make themselves familiar with all the local rules, regulations and by-laws in order to keep themselves, and other road-users, safe.
Getting to Spain from the UK
So you’ve organised your loads via the freight exchange, and now you have to work out how to get there. The most fuel-efficient, direct route is to take a ferry from one of the UK ports.
Brittany Ferries offers a regular service from Portsmouth to either Bilbao or Santander, or from Plymouth to Santander, while DFDS LD Lines offers a service from Poole to Santander or Gijon. If your final destination is one of the Spanish islands, you will need to take a connecting ferry with Acciona Trasmediterranea who offer routes to the Balearics and the Canaries.
Driver Requirements and Restrictions
There are a number of documents you will be required to carry with you when you are driving in Spain so make sure you bring everything you need along with you.
Documents you must carry include:
· Green card insurance
· Vehicle registration documents (or proof of leasing/rental agreement)
· MOT certificate
· A certified copy of your International Operator’s Licence
It is also important that you make sure that you have a copy of your insurance company’s 24-hour helpline number as this is required by law.
Other items you are required to carry while driving include:
· Two high-visibility jackets
· A warning triangle
· Headlamp converters
· Spare bulbs
· A first aid kit
· A replacement pair of glasses/contact lenses (if required)
· Two 9kg powder fire extinguishers (for vehicles over 20,000gvw)
Vehicle Requirements and Restrictions
Your vehicle must display a GB sticker and variable speed stickers to drive in Spain, not having them may result in you being pulled over and fined by local police.
Spain has rigid height and width restrictions on its roads so make sure your vehicle conforms.
· Maximum height 4.0m
· Maximum width 2.55m
· Rigid HGVs can be no longer than 12m
· Articulated HGVs can be no longer than 16.5m
· Road trains can be no longer than 18.75m
· Rigid vehicles with two axles are restricted to 18 tonnes, unless the drive axles are twin wheeled with pneumatic suspension in which case it is restricted to 26 tonnes
· Rigid vehicles with three axles are restricted to 25 tonnes, unless the drive axles are twin wheeled with pneumatic suspension in which case it is restricted to 31 tonnes
· Articulated vehicles with three axles are restricted to 28 tonnes
· Articulated vehicles with four axles are restricted to 36 tonnes, unless the drive axles are twin wheeled with pneumatic suspension in which case it is restricted to 38 tonnes
· Articulated vehicles with five or six axles are restricted to 40 tonnes
Avoid Heavy Penalties
The penalties for non-compliance with by-laws can be hefty in Spain so make sure you don’t fall foul of laws covering everything from the use of hands-free phones to tachograph infringements (the fine for this is an eye-watering €4,600).
Be warned, Spain operates a toll system on some of its roads so it’s worth planning ahead to see if these will apply to your journey. Also remember speed limits vary depending on road size so make sure you are aware of the limit at all times.
That’s all there is to it. So next time you’re browsing the freight exchange and see a load heading for Spain, don’t be put off. Just remember these simple guidelines and enjoy your journey!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their online freight exchange, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching loads and with available drivers. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.