Despite seemingly long, hot summers, just like any other country, Spain can get a covering in snow during winter, and over the last couple of weeks or so, we have seen wintery conditions in various parts of the country.
If there is a risk that you will be driving in snow, you really need to consider purchasing snow chains for your vehicle.
Carrying snow chains is not a mandatory requirement, but in some areas, where snow packs the road, it becomes compulsory to use them, and so having them ready is advisable.
The Guardia Civil, police or other authorities responsible for the road can impose a restriction without warning, placing signs on the roads indicating that the use of snow chains compulsory, and if you don´t have them with you, you have just one option, to wait until the road has been cleared by a snowplough or naturally, wait until the restriction is lifted, or turn back, if that route remains open.
Failure to adhere to the mandatory use is not only extremely dangerous, you risk a fine. If you see the “cadenas obligatorias”, or variant thereof, you must stop driving if you don´t have snow chains on your vehicle.
It might also be wise to take additional equipment with you, such as warm blankets, emergency food and drink, and always advise somebody of your journey and route, as mobile phone signals are not always as reliable as we might hope.
If you do find yourself driving in snow, either whilst it is falling, or just on the ground, please slow down and take extra care, making no sudden movements, in any direction.
Another tip, strange though it might seem, is to carry a bag of cat litter in your boot. This is not in case you stumble across a cat desperate to use the toilet, but rather the gravelly texture can be used to provide temporary traction on a slippery road, and can get you out of an emergency situation.
It is also advisable to check the route of your journey before you west off. The DGT provides information on road conditions, including those affected by the weather, in their interactive, national map. You can see this map on their website, https://www.dgt.es/inicio/, where you can also see pages of information about traffic status and restrictions.