Driving is the easiest way to get around Ibiza and access its best beaches and attractions. It is also one of the quickest ways to come to grief on the island, if you’re not careful. Each season has its challenges: flooded roads during winter rain, jam-packed motorways in summer. With Ibiza getting more crowded every year it is increasingly important to drive right. That means carrying essential safety gear and adapting your driving to the unique environment.
What to carry
Hi-viz vest: You are required by Spanish law to have a high-visibility vest or jacket in your car to wear in case of breakdown. Police issue on the spot fines if you are caught without one. This might sound draconian but it is a safety essential. Being visible can make a life-and-death difference if you were to break down on a dark country road.
Warning triangles x2: Another piece of safety equipment required by law. In case of a breakdown position them behind and in front of the car to alert other drivers. You can buy them at a Recambios (auto parts shop), or one of the discount general stores.
Replacement tail & headlamp bulbs: There is little or no artificial light on most Ibiza roads after dark so functioning headlights are a must. Not only do you need them to see, you need them to be seen. Check your lights regularly, carry spares, and know how to change them if need be. This is another thing the police or Guardia will pull you over for.
Torch: A small, inexpensive halogen torch is a great addition to your glove box. If you need to look under the bonnet, change a tire, or walk late at night you don’t want to risk or rely on your smartphone – especially if it is raining.
Bottle of water: You may think you’re never far from a shop in Ibiza but if you ever overheat on the way to Cala Llenya market, say, you’ll see the value in having a spare bottle of water in the boot. Also useful for topping up windscreen washer fluid, or rehydrating people or pets on a hot day.
What to do
Indicators: Using indicators often seems like a lost art in Ibiza. We’ve all followed an uncertain tourist with a left-hand indicator on who passes several left turns before pulling off the road to the right, or vice versa. The Spanish also have a confusing habit of signalling what the person in front of them is doing, so you may see someone signal a turn then zip ahead. Most common are the people who don’t indicate at all. The best way to avoid trouble is to give other vehicles plenty of space and always expect the unexpected.
Overtaking: There are times, especially in summer, where everyone else on the road seems to be competing for a spot in Formula One. Double yellow lines, hills and blind curves are no deterrent to high-speed overtaking. The best bet for not getting caught up is to keep a regular eye on your rear-view to anticipate anyone shooting up from behind, and approach the crest of hills with extra caution.
Motos: Two-wheeled vehicles are both the causes and victims of many accidents in Ibiza. Despite their extreme vulnerability many summer visitors ride as if the laws of physics don’t apply to them. Be extra-alert in slow traffic when a lot of mopeds drivers will pass on either side. Give motos plenty of clearance, especially on wet roads.