Despite the overall preference of locals towards public transport in its cities, those who opt to travel to Argentina by car are greatly rewarded by over 4,000 km in scenic drives across the geographically elongated country. But motorists will inevitably have to go through cities, and will need to keep a couple of things in mind when they pass by.
Most driving regulations in Argentina are similar to those observed in the US and Europe. But like most South American countries, drivers are required to keep their headlights on all the time – something that needs a bit more remembering on the part of drivers who aren’t accustomed to that rule.
Insofar as documentation is concerned, it’s enough to keep your driver’s license with you at all times. Of course, having an international driver’s license will further lessen the chances of complications. Also, take note that crossing borders in and out of the country with a rented car will entail some documentation involving permits with the companies involved and costs amounting to about $200.
You also won’t have much problems with the terrain as the roads in Argentina are generally well maintained. The country also thrives in a series of expressways connecting one place to another, so accessing different points, regardless of distance, won’t be much of a problem.
What drivers do have to be more mindful of in Argentina is its driving culture. It’s important that travellers be extra cautious with driving than usual because traffic is known to be very aggressive in the country. This is exacerbated by the fact that you’ll be sharing the roads with a large number of taxi and cars with drivers who are bold enough to take sharp turns and cuts when given the chance. The number of taxi drivers in Buenos Aires alone amounts to 40,000. So it’s best to keep your eyes open and drive defensively to the best of your ability to avoid untoward incidents.
Most people who live in the cities prefer to take public transport for two reasons: First, it’s very difficult to find parking space and, secondly, maintaining a car can be very expensive. Petrol prices are at a reasonable average of $3. 5 per gallon (as of 2014), so it’s actually the other costs of maintenance that foreigners have to be concerned with, should they intend to reside in the city longer than most travellers.
Learning a couple of Spanish driving-related jargon will greatly help you deal with authorities more efficiently. But in case you don’t know what a traffic enforcer wants from you when he or she pulls you over, the safest thing to do is to hand over your license, since that’s what most officers will want to see anyway. Otherwise, that would at least show them that you’re a foreigner.
Argentina uses most of the universally understood traffic signs, although there might be some crossings that won’t have lights to warn drivers, so travellers have to keep an eye out for those as well. Speed limits roughly average at 60 km/h in the city and 110 km/h outside. Keep that in mind as many sign posts along the road vary, and travellers will be surprised to see speed signs of 70 mph at one point and 25 mph right after. What makes this difficult is that other drivers won’t heed these signs much so be careful with tailing other vehicles when the speed limits on the signs suddenly change.
Lastly, try to travel with a 4x4 so that you won’t have issues with roads that become deep with rainwater because of the rainy season. In the end, getting out of the busy city traffic will be all worth it when you finally find yourself enjoying the country scenes of Ruta Nacional 40 and so many other breath-taking travel routes in Argentina.
|Driving regulations are similar to those in the US and Europe|
|Drivers are required to keep their headlights on all the times|
|It's enough to keep your driver's license with you at all times|
|Be extra cautious with driving as traffic is known to be very aggressive in the country|
|Petrol prices are at a reasonable average of $3. 5 per gallon (as of 2014)|
|Most of the universally understood traffic signs are used|
|Speed limits average at 60 km/h in the city and 110 km/h outside|