Driving Tips - Brazil
Brazil can be explored by driving but before doing so there are many things that you need to know. The more informed you are about the rules of the road, the less you will need to ask later, when you’re already there and before it’s probably too late. Keep in mind that prior planning prevents poor performance. Follow this advice and it’s unlikely you’ll make a wrong move:
In Brazil, it is obligatory to carry these documents with you at all times when you’re in your vehicle:
- IDP and valid driver’s licence
- Owner’s permission (if the vehicle doesn’t belong to the person driving it)
- Vehicle registration documents
- Vehicle insurance documents, if renting a car
It is also advisable to have your passport in hand.
The age limitations that apply when driving in Brazil are as follows:
- The minimum age for driving is 18 (eighteen)
- Children under 10 (ten) must sit in the back
- Children under 7.5 (seven and a half) have to be fitted in a car seat
- Children that are too small to wear a seatbelt should be seated in the back
Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations
- Driving is on the right-hand side of the road
- Overtaking must be done on the left
- Unless indicated, turning right at red lights is not permitted
- Do not drive wearing flip flops
- It is illegal to drive with your elbow hanging outside of the window
- Right of way is given to vehicles on a roundabout
- You must not run out of gas while driving
- Continual yellow lines indicate that overtaking is prohibited
- Broken lines indicate that overtaking is permitted in that place
- A flashing yellow lights at traffic lights means that they are not working
- Blocking an intersection and causing a traffic jam is illegal
Speed Limits and Fines
You should follow these general speed limits which are broken down into two categories:
- 30km/hour (18mph) in residential/local streets
- 60km/hour (40mph) in urban areas
- 120km/hour (74mph) on open roads
Speed limits that vary to those above will be indicated by speed signs.
Marked radar traps and speed cameras are used in a lot of places to detect speed. If you are found to be breaking the speed limit you will be issued with a ticket and must pay the fine.
There is a zero-tolerance law in force in Brazil. The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.2g/100ml. This is a lot less than a small beer or small glass of wine.
Fines are issued depending on the amount of blood alcohol found in the driver’s system. A large amount will mean a larger fine, suspension and perhaps time imprisonment.
Police cannot force a person to be breathalysed but they can arrest them.
Safety when parking in some places in Brazil can be an issue therefore it is important to park securely and follow all the rules in force:
- When parking on the street, you should not park facing traffic
- It is illegal to block hospital or fire station routes
Brazil Driving Guide - Spend less, do more
As the largest country in South America, Brazil has much to offer the intrepid traveller. It is a popular tourist destination thanks to the allure of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most famous cities in the world.
Brazil is a country of contrasts, however, as beyond the tourist cities lies abject poverty for many of its citizens. Tourism, however, plays a major role in bringing in much-needed revenue into the country.
Most tourists tend to spend their time in Rio. There are many attractions here including the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Sugarloaf Mountains and the world famous Copacabana beach. Visit in February and you can see the Rio Carnival, a festival of floats, colours, music and dancing.
There is more to Brazil than Rio however, so be sure to get in your rental car and explore a little!
Scenic Drive — Serra do Rio do Rasto via SC-438
This might be a little difficult to arrange, but it is well worth the effort. Depending on where you spend your time in Brazil, a trip along the SC-438 road that hugs the Serra do Rio do Rasto mountain range is one of the great driving experiences in South America.
As the road zig-zags along the mountains, you will find spectacular views, travel through beautiful canyons and see a number of magnificent waterfalls. Once at the top of the mountain (a height of 1,459m), on a clear day, you may even be able to see the Atlantic Ocean, over 99km away.
Scenic Drive — Transpantaneira via the MT-060
Another incredible drive through the State of Mato Grosso, the Transpantaneria links the city of Pocone to the town of Porto Jofre. Although the road can be a little rough at times, there is no need for a 4x4.
The journey along the Transpantaneira is a great way to see the wildlife in this area of Brazil. The road itself travels through areas with a lot of birdlife in particular but if you keep a lookout, you might spot the odd Jaguar as well. At night, a few creepy crawlies come out including the famed Tarantula spider.
The road crosses over many wooden bridges throughout the route, there are close to 150 of these in fact. These bridges can be bypassed in the dry season. There are many traditional Brazilian plantations along the way. These are called fazendas. Some sections of the road can be a little scary with a number of potholes. It is imperative that you drive slowly here to avoid any flat tires or damage to your rental car.
Rio de Janeiro to Buzios
2 hours 30 mins (176km) (109 miles) via BR-101 and Via Lagos
The town of Buzios, located a few hours east of Rio is well worth a visit. This has quickly become a very popular tourist destination and what was once a small fishing village, is growing rapidly.
Daytime attractions include beautiful beaches, excellent shopping opportunities and mouth-watering local food while at night Buzios comes alive with many bars, clubs and restaurants open till late.
Adrenaline junkies will also love Buzios. There are plenty of surf spots along its 23 beaches while kite and windsurfing are extremely popular. There are a number of snorkelling and dive spots along the coastline not far from the town. The local Emerencias Reserve is also worth a visit, especially to see the endangered golden lion monkeys.
Accommodation in Buzios includes hotels, backpackers lodges and guest houses.
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