Guide to Driving in Brazil

The first you need to know about driving is Brazil is that the traffic is on the right and overtaking is on the left. The road infrastructure varies a lot: roads inside cities are in great shape while interstate roads may have huge cracks and holes. You shouldn’t step on the gas unless the street looks to be recently built or repaired. Drivers are usually friendly and they warn each other about the presence of a police car by flashing their lights. However, it’s not safe to drive at night since the carjacking rate is high. Never stop too close to the car in front of you when waiting at red light at night; you may be boxed in. Drive with your doors locked and try to predict the other drivers’ maneuvers. Road signs are often in Brazilian; in fact there are very few areas in which government installed English road signs. However, the numbers indicating the speed limit and all the other useful signs should be easy to understand since they’re written using Latin characters. Parking is usually free, except for some parking lots where you need to pay an hourly fee. Don’t park on side alleys and never let valuable stuff in your car; car thefts are a real possibility.

Police cars in Brazil can be easily recognized by their light beacons and the word ‘POLICIA’ which is printed on them. However, they come in different color variations: some are white & black while other are white & yellow. When they pull you over they may ask for your documents; here’s what you need to have: an international driver’s permit along with your domestic license, the car’s registration certificate, your identity card and a third-party insurance policy.

Essential Driving Information

  • All the passengers inside a vehicle are required to use the seatbelts, if fitted, regardless of their position in the vehicle.
  • Toll systems are implemented mostly on interstate roads. It’s an easy pay-n-go system which shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes. The price ranges from €2 to €20.
  • Mobile phones can be used while driving only if an appropriate hands-free system is attached to it.
  • Dipped beam should be used only when it’s raining or it’s foggy.
  • As an advice we recommend you to fill up the petrol tank if you’re planning to drive on a long distance. Brazil it’s a huge country and petrol stations are not placed very often.
Speed Limits
Town/City: 60kmh (37mph)
Main Road: 120kmh (75mph)
Motorway: 120kmh (75mph)
Emergency Phone Numbers
Police: 194
Ambulance: 192
Firefighters: 193
General Information (as of 2014)
Min Driving Age: 18
Alcohol Limit: 0.06%
Petrol Price: €0.95/litre
Diesel Price: €0.78/litre
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