Driving in Portugal
In order to plan your trip, here his a detailed map with the distances in Kilometers between the major cities in Portugal.
Driving in Portugal
Driving is on the right with overtaking on the left and you can be fined more than 1,000 Euros for passing a driver on the right. On the motorways there are three lanes with the middle one being for overtaking.
Give priority to traffic from the right unless otherwise stated. Vehicles in roundabouts have priority over those which are about to enter. There is also a large fine for failing to stop at a stop sign.
Roads and some cars are not that well lit at night so you should drive carefully. Should you break down and attempt to carry out repairs you are supposed to wear a reflective jacket to do so. It is also necessary to put out a warning triangle if you have broken down. If your hire car does not have this equipment and you get a fine then the rental company should be able to pay it for you. At night in rural areas look out for horse drawn carts. When a tram stops and there is no island for passengers to disembark at, drivers must give way to them. Avoiding rush hour traffic in the cities is to be advised.
A fine of 600 Euros can be imposed on anyone found to be using a mobile phone while driving, as can a 300 Euro fine for littering while driving. Fines can be collected on the spot. It is also possible to lose your licence if you ignore a policeman, cross a white line or jump a red light. It is safest to drive defensively in Portugal, which has one of the less impressive driving safety records in Europe.
You need to have an international driving licence or an approved translation of your existing driver’s licence. Old style EU licences must be accompanied by an international driving permit.
A driver’s blood alcohol level may not exceed 0.5% and there are large fines of more than 1,000 Euros and possibly jail time for doing so.
Most of the highways in Portugal have tolls. There are also tolls on the south bound side of the 25 de Abril Bridge which links Lisbon with the south bank of the Tagus River. You will find the standards of toll roads to be good, with the E15 Mediterranean Coastal road being particularly pleasant in terms on scenery.
Speed limits are enforced by unmarked police cars and radar traps. Cars towing trailers can only travel at 70/80km per hour. The speed limits are:
- 50 kilometres per hour in built up areas
- 90 kilometres per hour on rural roads
- 120 kilometres per hour on motorways (with a minimum speed of 40km per hour)
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