Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in Brazil

Travellers who want to visit Brazil will definitely not go there for its road life. Unless of course, their idea of an adventure is risking themselves in the country that’s notorious for its daring drivers and adverse traffic conditions. You’re going to need to prepare for some serious tailgating and lots of road rage. This is all part of their highly spontaneous and impulsive driving culture – a far cry from the ways of American and European drivers. Add to that the unpredictable visibility of traffic enforcers and there will never be dull moment when you drive.

But Brazil can be a very nice place to visit, so with a little bit of preparation, travelling by car can be worth it. As far as the terrain goes, you’re going to need to brace yourself. It’s only State roads that are well maintained. Things get a little bumpy once you get to the interstate roads, more so when you get to the rural and remote areas where lots of potholes can be found. As if that’s not enough to make you drive carefully, the rainy season makes the road muddy and even more prone to accidents.

Another reason to drive very defensively is all the things you’ll be randomly encountering on the road. You’ll see pedestrians, bikers, and lots and lots of wildlife. Watch out for the zebra crossing signs, because they really mean it.

When renting a car, make sure you get one that can trek the terrain well. Brazil’s road network is fourth largest in the world, so expect to be travelling in long distances. And with all the infrastructure changes the country going through for the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, you can bet that locating places will be a concern. Try to travel with a good GPS system to avoid getting lost.

Anyone above 18 years old with a full driver’s license can drive in Brazil. Your current license will be good for six months when you enter the country, but after that you’ll have to get a local license, which entails a series of tests. Those who have licenses from the US, Europe, Australia, and South Africa, however, do not need to take all of them.

Road signs use international symbols, but be mindful of the mandatory stop signs. You should also keep in mind the speed limits: 90 km/h in the highway, 60 km/h in avenues, and 30 km/h in residential areas.

There are lots of places to park, but you need to be careful where you actually do so, as car theft cases are particularly high and law enforcement to prevent this is not.

Just remember to drive cautiously and keep your seat belt on, even when it’s not mandated by law. Make sure your headlights are kept in check in case of rain or fog, and avoid drinking while driving to avoid facing criminal charges against you. Other than that, enjoy driving in Brazil.

Summary

Be careful! They have a highly spontaneous and impulsive driving culture.
State roads are well maintained, interstate roads are a little bumpy.
Brazil’s road network is fourth largest in the world.
Anyone above 18 years old with a full driver’s license can drive in Brazil.
Road signs use international symbols, but be mindful of the mandatory stop signs.
Speed limits are 90 km/h on highways, 60 km/h in avenues, and 30 km/h in residential areas.
Seat belts are not mandated by law, but its advised to wear them.

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