Being stopped by traffic police, documents & glasses
During our many visits to Spain with three children we often hired a car, although sometimes we used my parent’s second car. Like many others back then we used the well known larger hire car companies, all of whom have advertising for their company on the back of the car.
On one occasion we were driving back along the motorway towards the coast after visiting friends who live inland for the day. Aware that there was a Guarda Civil traffic patrol car behind us, Dave was carefully ensuring he was within the speed limit. The youngest was squashed in the back between his brother and sister and lent forward to ask me a question just as the Guarda Civil pulled out and overtook us, clearly scrutinising the car. They immediately indicated to us to pull over.
Dave duly stopped the car and wound down the window, his two week’s worth of tan fading to a sickly white. I took the hire card documents from the glove compartment, put Dave’s spare glasses on top and then rummaged in my bag for our passports. Spare glasses are required to be carried in the car for the driver if they are dependent on glasses for seeing. As the policeman looked into the window I put a passport on top of the other items, clearly seen by the policemen.
The man spoke in Spanish, pointed to our youngest and said he had not been wearing his seat belt. I replied in Spanish saying yes he was, all the time. Then he said something about he had taken it off, I said no. I had an inkling that at least one of the men spoke some English so turned and asked the children in slow, clear English if they he had been wearing his seat belt all the time – three confused teenagers answered yes. I then asked the youngest to lean forward and he did, and the policeman smiled. He looked at the documents on my lap and in perfect English told Dave to drive off.
I asked Dave to pull off the motorway as soon as possible and stop at a local café. It was only then that I informed the passport that had been on my lap, visible to the policemen, was in fact mine, not his – his was back at the house, for some reason we hadn’t taken it with us that day! Fortunately they never asked to see it, so we avoided a fine, and I drove the rest of the way back to the house!