DRIVING IN THE CANARY ISLANDS

Last Summer, I wrote a post about driving in Cyprus as driving abroad can be quite an eye opener. Currently, I am driving in Gran Canaria so it’s all change again and you have to adapt quick. It’s not my first experience of driving in the Canaries. Three weeks after passing my test, I was whizzing away in Tenerife. Let me tell you, it takes a bit of getting used to.

One way systems

You will drive up and down the same road a million times a day because of the stupid one way systems. You always have to drive all round the houses just to get to where you need to be. The one way systems are not always clearly marked either so be careful, you can sometimes find a tourist going down a one way system the wrong way.

Pedestrian crossings

The regular white crossings, legally, you don’t have to stop. The red and white ones legally you do have to stop. However, stop at all of them, trust me. All pedestrians assume you’re going to stop and don’t wait or look before stepping out. If you hit a pedestrian in the Canaries, you pay their medical bills for the rest of their life. Be prepared to constantly be hitting the brake because there’s a ridiculous amount of them and they’re all close together. They are also in ridiculous places like on exit of a roundabout and as you turn a corner so be careful.

Indicators

Whilst no one uses their indicators for what they are meant for, the Canarians are good at using them for one reason. You will often find there are two lanes of traffic and sometimes, if you’re on the inside lane, it can be difficult to tell if a pedestrian is at a crossing. The driver in the outside lane will indicate left to warn you someone is crossing. I don’t know if this is a unspoken universal rule but it’s something I’ve only encountered here and I think it’s good.

Motorways/dual carriageways

Don’t asssume that when you are pulling onto a motorway or dual carriageway the oncoming traffic will let you out, they won’t. They will stay in the same lane you need to be in either driving too fast or too slow for you to merge.

Parking

In Tenerife, parking is relatively easy. Most outdoor parking is free, it’s only really multi-storeys you have to pay for but it can also be a bitch to find and you usually have to park a distance from where you need to be.

In Gran Canaria, it’s a different story. White parking bays are free but you won’t find many of them in resorts. Blue parking bays you have to pay for. In Puerto Rico, pay for it. In Playa del Ingles, you can get away with it. The parking bays only get checked like twice a day and if you do happen to get a ticket, it’s only a 1.80€ fine… and you also never get chased for these fines.

Most parking in the Canaries is parallel so spruce up your skills and be prepared to ignore the witnesses!

Cyclists

They are everywhere and are the absolute bane of my life. You constantly get stuck behind them and it’s an absolute ballache. They also don’t give any fucks and will just pull out on you, particularly at roundabouts.

Roundabouts

Oh dear God, roundabouts. Whilst roundabouts also have two lanes here, do not use the inside lane!! You will constantly be cut off and it’s not worth the hassle. In the Canarian driving test, it is taught that the outside lane always has priority, if you go to pull off the roundabout from the inside lane and crash into someone, it’s your fault. Stick to the outside honestly, it’s so dangerous trying to pull out from the inside. It may mean you occassionally cut an unsuspecting tourist off but just make sure you’re checking your mirrors. I only ever go on the inside lane if I’m stuck in a one way system and have to go all the way round the roundabout but even then, it can still be a risky business.


This blog post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way. All opinions are my own and just that: opinions.

8 thoughts on “DRIVING IN THE CANARY ISLANDS

  1. Helen Christie says:

    “If you hit a pedestrian in the Canaries, you pay their medical bills for the rest of their life.” – WHAT?! Oh my gosh! I think I’d struggle driving in the Canary Islands, I’m still quite a nervous driver here until I’ve done a route a few times, and even then I don’t love driving. This was really interesting, roundabouts sound terrifying!
    Hels xxx
    http://www.thehelsproject.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephanie Dring says:

      I think I’m ok with it because it was my first experience of solo driving so I don’t know much different. I’ve spent more time driving in the Canaries since passing than anywhere else. You just have to be prepared to adapt and adapt quickly because the standard rules don’t apply! x

      Like

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