If you’ve recently moved to Spain and you want to drive in the country then, thanks to Brexit, you can no longer simply utilise your UK driving license. Instead, you must now both take and pass your Spanish theory and practical driving tests, which can be incredibly challenging and time-consuming, particularly for foreign nationals. Whilst the Spanish theory exam can be conducted in a variety of different languages, including English, French, and German as well as in Spanish, the practical driving exam can only be carried out in Spanish.
This could pose a huge barrier if you’re not a native Spanish speaker: whilst there are a huge number of driving schools that will teach you to drive in English (particularly if you live in an area with a huge number of British ex pats) when you sit behind the wheel and the pressure to pass your test is on, the DGT examiner will only be able to communicate with you in Spanish, even if they are able to speak some English too.
If you don’t have much Spanish, or your Spanish language skills are rusty, then have no fear! With the following language guide here is some of the most useful phrases and vocabulary for you to learn in order to understand your examiner and pass that test:
The Vocabulary You Need to Pass Your Spanish Driving Test
To start with, here are some basic phrases that you’re likely to hear your examiner use, and these are also phrases that you will need to respond to quickly. If your instructor is teaching you in English, ask them to deliver these instructions in English so that your response becomes second nature:
Acelera : Speed up
Frena : Brake
Reduce la velocidad : Reduce your speed
Detente/Para : Stop
Pisa el embrague : Step on the clutch
Before your test begins, you are likely to hear your examiner say the following phrases, but you may be able to circumnavigate having to learn these instructions by instinctively adjusting your mirrors and putting on your seatbelt as soon as you get in the car: this is good practice anyway!
Asegúrate que tienes bien colocados los retrovisores : Make sure your rearview mirrors are correctly positioned
Ponte el cinturón (de seguridad) : Put on your seatbelt
Key Instructions Every Driver in Spain Should Know
Unfortunately, the rest of the instructions you will need to get through your driving test will need to be learnt and understood by heart. You will need to understand and be able to react to all of these phrases, or you won’t pass your examination.
Arranca el coche : turn on the car
Pon el intermitente : Put on your indicator
Pon las luces cortas/largas : Put on your headlights/brights
Gira el volante a la izquierda/derecha : Turn the steering wheel to the left/right
El semáforo está en verde/en rojo/en ámbar : The traffic light is green, red, yellow
Da marcha atrás : Reverse
Pon las luces de emergencia : Put on your emergency lights
Aparca en batería, en línea o en paralelo : Park at an angle, in line, parallel park
Pon/Quita el freno de mano : Pull up/down the handbrake
You shouldn’t need your instructor or your examiner to tell you what gear to go into if you’re ready to take your examination, but if you do then you will hear them say one of the following phrases:
Mete primera, segunda, tercera, cuarta, quinta marcha : Go into first, second, third, fourth, fifth gear
Mete la palanca de cambio en punto muerto : Put the gearbox in neutral
If you hear your instructor say any of these phrases then these should be taken as a precaution. These are all warnings that you need to do something to adjust the way you are driving, or your attempt to pass your test may not be successful. They include:
Asegúrate que no vienen coches en el cruce : Make sure there’s no oncoming traffic at the crossing
No superes el límite de velocidad : Don’t go over the speed limit
Ten cuidado con la curva : Be careful with the turn
Deja pasar al peatón en el paso de cebra : Let the pedestrian cross at the zebra crossing
Finally, here is another batch of instructional phrases that you will need to master in order to ensure your test is successful. With these phrases in the bank, all you have to worry about is the skill of your driving!
Circula por esta carretera de sentido único : Drive along this one-way road
Cede el paso : Give way
Adelanta a la furgoneta : Overtake the van
Incorpórate a la autopista/la rotonda : Merge onto the motorway/roundabout
Acuérdate que es una carretera de sentido único/dos sentidos : Remember it’s a one-way/two-way road
Toma la primera/segunda/tercera salida : Take the first/second/third exit
Échale un vistazo al punto ciego : Check your blind spot
Mira por el retrovisor : Look through the rearview mirror
Cambia de carril : Change lane
Métete por el carril de dentro/fuera : Take the inside/outside lane
Toma la siguiente salida : Take the next exit
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