Proper Seat Belt Use is Vital

Seat belts save lives. This is a simple message, but the design is slightly flawed in that if we choose not to wear them correctly, they can be as useless as not wearing one at all.

The wearing of seat belts can reduce the risk of injury during a car crash. When used properly, they provide drivers and passengers with increased protection. However, when used improperly, their ability to provide this safety is compromised. Proper seat belt adjustments are necessary to allow the restraints to work effectively.

Wear a diagonal belt across the upper chest.
Drivers often complain that this strap is uncomfortable and they sometimes slip this behind their backs or under the arm. However, when you do this, the belt’s ability to protect you from injury is decreased. Seat belts are designed to distribute force upon two areas of the body. Without this diagonal strap in place, this is impossible.

When you put your seat belt on you should make sure that it fits snugly to the body at the front, diagonally across the chest and the waist, gently pulling the straps to make the necessary adjustments.
Although padded seat belt covers can make the wearing of the belt feel more comfortable, they can also reduce the effectiveness, which is also the case for padded clothing such as coats and so these should be avoided. The seat belt needs to make as close a contact with your body at the key protection areas as possible.

In a vehicle, every occupant must wear a seat belt. If a car only has two seat belts fitted at the back seats, then it must only carry two people. Rear seats where three seat belts are fitted are the only acceptable way in which three passengers can be carried.

Children under 135cm in height are not allowed in the front seats and even when in the back must wear an approved restraint suitable to them.

When is it Not 90?

There has been a little confusion over some of the speed limit reductions implemented recently and so we thought we would explain what is causing the doubt and therefore clear up the mystery.

The maximum permitted speed limit on secondary roads is now 90km/hr. If signs were in place that permitted a faster speed prior to the change at the end of January, then these changes are now complete. In the Alicante province, there were no signs that needed changing. Across the Valencia region, the total that did need
changing was just 37.

The reason why there were no signs to change is that this new limit is on roads on which there were most likely no signs in place already. We explain that these roads are the equivalent to those in the UK that we know of where, ‘National Speed Limit Applies’ signs would be displayed. If there are no restrictions in place, then it is up to us as the driver to know these limits, which were, prior to this change, based largely on the width and existence of a hard shoulder. Now, it is a uniform maximum.

It is also true that this restriction has not been placed on all secondary roads. On the N-332, as it passes through Benidorm, there are still sections which are signposted with a maximum permitted speed of 100km/hr. These signs are still valid, despite the fact that this road is classed as a secondary road.

The reason is simple, though not widely published. During the implementation of the change there is also a clause which allows the road operator to maintain a maximum permitted speed of up to 100km/hr on roads where there is a physical separation between the different flows of traffic; a dual carriageway in other words. On that particular section of the N-332, that is the case. The road was only recently renovated and follows all of the latest designs and requirements for a faster flowing road, including that central separation.

As in the case of the N-332, a nationally operated road, hence the ‘N’ prefix, then the national road operator was free to decide if this section should be maintained as a maximum of 100, or reduced to 90km/hr.

There are in fact still some secondary roads where the maximum permitted speed limit is 100km/hr and these will be signposted, as it the case near Benidorm. We must look out for and heed those signs, as they are what dictate the maximum permitted speed of the road, subject to external influences such as the weather or traffic for example and it is only on roads where no signs or restrictions exist that we now know are limited to a maximum of 90km/hr, remembering at all times that any speed limit is a maximum, not a target and it does not mean that it is safe or appropriate to travel at that speed, as many other factors have to be taken into consideration.

What Documents are Needed for the ITV

In order for an inspection centre to carry out the mandatory Technical Inspection of Vehicles (ITV), (the equivalent to the UK MOT), you must present certain documents at the ITV test centre.
These documents are in order to confirm the ownership of the vehicle, its registration and the details on any previous inspections carried out.

Over time, some of these documents are being replaced by digital versions, so if your new vehicle doesn’t have the ITV card for example, check with the dealer because it may well be in digital form. In all other cases, it is mandatory and provides a wealth of information.

In order to have the inspection carried out on your vehicle, you must present the following at the ITV test centre:
The original vehicle technical inspection card, (Tarjeta Inspección Técnica de Vehículos).
The original log book, (Permiso de Circulación).
Accreditation of the obligatory insurance of the vehicle (the last receipt to the current of payment will suffice).

It is also important to note that the ITV must be valid when you drive on the public roads. In other words, unlike the UK, you cannot book an appointment with a vehicle that does not have an ITV and drive it to the centre. The ITV must be valid in order for you to drive there. If you don’t have a current ITV, then the vehicle must be taken to the test centre on a grua, (tow truck) and not driven there.

Recent change in the law also means that you are able to take your vehicle for the inspection up to a month before it is due, without it affecting the expiration date. So, if your ITV is due on 20th of the month and you take it on the 5th, assuming it passes, your next ITV will still be extended until 20th of the corresponding month when the next inspection is due.