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Licensing laws

Renewing your Spanish driving licence requires a hand/eye coordination test which involves a computer screen and a capricious little dot you have to control

PETER EDGERTON / WWW.PETEREDGERTON.COM

Heaven's above, it's that dreaded time again. On the last occasion, I looked like a four-year-old playing Grand Theft Auto IV which, I'm sure you'll agree, is an alarming image on many levels.

Renewing your Spanish driving licence requires a hand/eye coordination test which involves a computer screen, a capricious little dot you have to control and - in my case, anyway - an adjudicator who begins by tutting lightly under her breath and ends up shrieking "No! No! No! No-one fails this bit! You'll have to try again". She probably still wakes in the night, in a cold sweat, begging forgiveness for letting me pass against her better judgement.

Anyway, I'm clinging to the hope that things have moved on to such an extent in the last ten years that the test has evolved into merely juggling twenty lightly buttered hen's eggs for six hours on the bounce without breaking a single one. It would certainly be an easier task.

When I first began using the roads in Spain it came as a great surprise to be told that anyone who wears driving glasses is required to carry a spare pair in the glove compartment. It's one of those things you hear and think "That's totally ridiculous" and then, two seconds later, you think "That's totally brilliant". Well, of course anyone who needs specs should carry a spare pair with them in the car in case the first ones break/get lost/are snatched from their nose and thrown out of the window by a recalcitrant toddler in the back seat. I'm not sure if that rule still applies these days but dearly hope it does; it's a beauty.

One major change for drivers in Spain that is definitely happening is the phasing out of the warning triangles that have always been required in case of an emergency/breakdown. This must be a good thing - the placing of the triangles is frequently a much more dangerous activity than the original hazard. They are gradually being replaced by a flashing light which you simply pop onto the roof by sticking your hand out of the window like those US cops did on 1970s TV shows, simultaneously throwing their steaming coffee and half-eaten hot dog in the direction of some unfortunate passer-by and yelling "It's a 10-98, Bob". We've been spared the hot dog/coffee/yelling shenanigans but will be required to slap the light on roof which, I think, is a positive step forward.

Well, anyway, I'm off to train for my licence renewal test - Pac Man in a blindfold should do the trick.