Traffic Regulations

While the traffic in Tenerife has continued to increase in recent years as tourism and the population has grown, in general people drive to a very reasonable standard and the road conditions are either acceptable (in the mountains), or very good, especially as many of the roads have recently been improved. Traffic rules have also been standardised by the EC so you will not encounter many differences. Despite this there are still some things to remember:

Traffic regulations that may be different from home

  1. Speed limit inside towns : 50 km/h
  2. Speed limit outside town : 90 km/h
  3. Speed limit on highways : 120 km/h

Towing is not permitted! If there is a malfunction or accident a breakdown-van (Spanish: “Grua”) must be called for assistance. There is comprehensive insurance cover included in your contract with us. Please be aware, this insurance may NOT pay if:
The police have not registered the incident if there was an accident. You should always call the police if you have had an accident. You must do this even if no one else is involved. After 9:00pm the police will undertake a field sobriety test.
The insurance also might not pay if:

The Police

In Tenerife the police are generally friendly and helpful. In the case of foreign drivers breaking traffic rules however, they won’t show mercy. There is no point trying to discuss the incident or pleading ignorance as this will lead nowhere, and if you overdo this the police will simply confiscate your car. They will also do this if you don’t pay the fine on the spot.
Don’t underestimate the fines in Tenerife which can be drastically high for minor misdemeanors. For example taking a left turn where prohibited could cost you 60€ and exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 km/hour will cost you 140€.
Due to the high number of tourist in Tenerife it is probably understandable that the police insist on instant payment. They will even grant you a 30% “discount” if you do so. Don’t be surprised though if the officer refuses to give you change. It is not an obligation for officers to do this, so it is is up to them whether they do, or not.

In Tenerife there are two police organisations relevant to traffic

Policia Local (white cars with blue decoration)

These officers are responsible for maintaining order in the community. Generally they don’t pursue traffic offenders, but will issue tickets for incorrect parking and will order for your car to be towed away.

Guardia Civil (olive/beige-coloured cars)

These officers are responsible for maintaining the general order and you will mostly encounter them while you are driving. They use speed traps and can pursue your car. They also check licenses and car papers, so it is very important that you always have the car rental contract with you. If not, this could mean a long walk to the police station to present it later on.
Very important: never drive without your rental contract. The police will check it during routine traffic controls. Without it your car will be confiscated and will only be handed over to you if and when you produce the missing papers. Your car hire agency is unable to help you with this problem unfortunately, so it won’t be any use calling us in this situation. This also applies if you are caught driving without your driving license.