When you rent a car in Portugal, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the traffic rules, fines, and road police to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
Traffic Rules in Portugal
- In Portugal, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and using a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited.
- Children under 12 years old or shorter than 135 cm must be seated in an appropriate child restraint system.
- Headlights should be used from dusk until dawn, as well as in tunnels and during poor visibility conditions.
- The legal alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC), and it's lower at 0.02% BAC for drivers with less than three years of experience.
- Pay attention to unique traffic signs such as the "Secção de Trânsito" sign, indicating a temporary traffic regulation.
Speed limits in Portugal
In Portugal, the speed limits vary depending on the type of road:
- Urban areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)
- Non-urban roads: 90 km/h (56 mph)
- Expressways (IC): 100 km/h (62 mph)
- Motorways (AE): 120 km/h (75 mph)
Fines in Portugal
Fines for traffic violations in Portugal are as follows:
- Speeding: €60 to €2,500, depending on the excess speed
- Not wearing a seat belt: €120
- Using a mobile phone while driving: €120
- Parking violations: €30 to €150, depending on the severity
- Running a red light: €120 to €600
- Drunk driving: €250 to €1,250, depending on the BAC level
- Children without child seats: €120
Fines can be paid on the spot to road police officers or within 30 days at any Multibanco ATM, Portuguese Post Office, or online.
Road Police in Portugal
Portugal has an extensive network of traffic enforcement cameras. The road police, Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), is responsible for traffic control and enforcement. If stopped by the police, remain calm, be polite, and provide your driver's license, vehicle registration, and insurance documents. In case of an accident, call 112 to reach the emergency services, including the police.