The Foreign Office is warning drivers of ‘highway pirates’ targetting foreign-registered cars and hire cars, especially those towing caravans. There have been sometimes forceful attempts to make drivers stop, claiming there is something wrong with your car or that you have damaged theirs.
If you stop to check the condition of your vehicle in such a situation, do so only in a well-lit public area such as a service station, and be extremely wary of anyone offering help.
There are also warnings about bogus, plain clothed police officers in unmarked cars. The Foreign Offfice advises that, in all traffic-related matters, police officers will be in uniform, and that all police officers, including those in plain clothes, carry official ID.
A genuine police officer will only ask for your documents – not your bag or wallet – and a genuine unmarked police vehicle will have a flashing sign showing Policia (Police) or Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) in the rear window.
Talk through the car window if you're in any doubt about your safety and contact the Civil Guard on 062 or Police on 112 and ask them to confirm that the registration number of the vehicle corresponds to an official police vehicle.
What you must carry
Driving offences abroad
Low Emission Zones
Toll roads, bridges and tunnels
Safety in road tunnels
What documents to take?
Radar detectors in France
Blue badge parking abroad
Hiring a car abroad
Camping Card International (CCI)
International Certificate for Motor Vehicles (ICMV)
Driving abroad in winter
Winter tyres and snow chains
Foreign & Commonwealth Office