It is hard to see through all the claims and counter claims as to who is really
responsible for the bottleneck on the N332 as it passes through Torrevieja.
However, it does seem as though we might be moving towards a resolution of
the debate surrounding this controversial road.
The mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, has reported that the Ministry of
Development has once more taken up the issue and is prepared to set the
project in motion again. The mayor has received a letter from the Minister,
Inigo de la Serna, which indicates that the General Directorate of Highways
has decided to order the drafting and construction of the N332 through
The mayor displayed to the press on the 12 th September the number of letters
and other forms of communication that have been made by the present local
government. The expressed aim is to secure the reopening of the issue and a
commitment from the Spanish government to solving the problem once and
There has been debate over a period of years as to where exactly the
responsibility for the modifications to the N332 lie. Finally it would seem that
the national government is prepared to take responsibility and move ahead
with the much-needed changes. The citizens of Torrevieja and surrounding
areas will now wait anxiously to see if this commitment is acted on any time
Do We Have to Wear a Hat?
This week, we received a question from Costa Blanca People reader, John Bevan, from Quesada.
John asked, “Is it true that drivers of open top cars must wear some sort of hat to protect them from the intense rays of the sun?”
The answer is, according to law, no, you don´t. In fact, there is a chance that wearing a hat would prove dangerous as if it is not worn correctly, the wind could catch it, and blow the hat away and this could then become a potential hazard to other road users, especially the most vulnerable such as cyclists. However, the likelihood of this happening is slim, it is still a potential risk.
Of course not talking legally, it does make sense to wear a hat in order to protect yourself from the sun and its damaging rays as you say, but it is not a legal requirement.
The question does open up other points for comment, however, regarding open top cars. As much as possible, the manufacturers of these vehicles design them to be as safe as cars with full roofs. They are often fitted with strengthened supports around the windscreen for example, and roll bars, although these are not often as clearly identifiable as those fitted in rally cars, for example, in commercially available vehicles they are often integral to the structure.
So long as we are positioned correctly, sat down, wearing our seatbelt in the correct manner, open top cars are usually perfectly safe. Like all vehicles, It is when we don´t follow the design and safety guidelines when things go wrong.
Sometimes, vehicle occupants are seen with their hands held up or out of the cars, on a rare occasion even standing. Only recently, a vehicle was observed driving along the N-332 with the passenger standing up. This was not an open top car but it had a sunroof. We don´t need to be so graphic as to describe the likely outcome if that vehicle was involved in a collision of some form. You must keep your extremities, arms, legs etc., well within the confines of the vehicle for the roll bars to provide protection.
On the subject of legs, it is an increasingly common sight to see passengers with their legs up and feet on the dashboard. This also occurs in all types of vehicles and seems to increase with the summer months. It is an extremely dangerous practice. It is also illegal. The legs and feet can obscure the driver´s view, but worse than that, in the event of a collision there are two very common injuries, both of which often result in such serious injuries, amputation is common.
In the event of a collision, the airbags are normally deployed. If a passenger´s legs are over these airbags they will feel the full force of that deployment, which normally results in fractures to the legs, sometimes pelvic damage. If airbags do not deploy it is easy for the body to be thrown forward, underneath the seatbelt, an action known as submarining. This forces the body, feet first, like a torpedo through the windscreen, resulting in severe lacerations, often accompanied by fractures.
The only safe way to sit in any vehicle is within the design of the seat, with seatbelt securely fastened. You can read more about this on the n332.es website where we have a number of articles explaining in more detail.
Back in October 2015, the Costa Blanca People began featuring our Driving in Spain column where readers were invited to ‘ask the Guardia Civil’ about motoring in Spain. The column was run in conjunction with the N332 volunteers – the group behind the hugely popular Facebook page and website.
We are delighted to announce this week that after over a year and a half working together, we have decided to further concrete our good relationship and along with our partners at Moneycorp currency exchange, the Costa Blanca People will be official sponsors of the N332.
Pride of Spain award winner, Francisco Morales, is a Guardia Civil Traffic Officer and along with his Guardia Civil colleagues and fellow N332 team member Mark Nolan, the group spends great time and energy replying to people’s questions about motoring laws. Francisco told us, “Some driving laws are universal – like obeying the speed limit, or not using your mobile phone while driving. However, some are unique to Spain – for example, did you know that if you are towing a trailer, you are obliged to carry a fire extinguisher? My colleagues and I from the N332 advice group want to ensure that drivers aren’t fined unfairly because of lack of local knowledge. We can do this through our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DrivingSpain) and the website N332.es which is run by Mark Nolan to help us spread the word. However, as not everyone has internet access, or Facebook, collaborating with the Costa Blanca People is a great way for us to get the message out to the English speaking community on the Costa Blanca.”
What does this new collaboration mean for our readers? You will have access to more regular advice with a weekly Driving in Spain column by the N332’s Mark Nolan. Not only that, but the Costa Blanca People and N332 will be working together on a number of events and projects during the year to raise even more awareness of motoring laws in Spain among international drivers here.
The Facebook page has grown immensely in the last 18 months having increased its followers from 14,000 to 101,377 (and counting!).
The team at N332 are also holding a series of talks and presentations and recently, met with the children of Phoenix International School (See Mark’s article, below).
These local presentations are invaluable as a means of spreading correct information. Francisco told us, “There is a lot of misinformation around – for example, people think it is the law to carry spare bulbs in the car with you and that you will be fined if you don’t. However, this is not always the case as in some cars, the lights can only be fixed by a mechanic and in this case, it is not obligatory to carry spare bulbs. Bit by bit, we are trying to make sure everyone has the most up to date, correct information.”
Managing Director of the Costa Blanca People, Claire Richards said, “We are thrilled to announce this important collaboration with N332 and Moneycorp. We have always been great admirers of the hard work and dedication of the team of volunteers and are excited at the prospect of working together in the future to ensure safer roads.”
Send your questions about driving in Spain to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget you can find more advice about driving in Spain at www.facebook.com/DrivingSpain and from the website N332.es