The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Brazil

Brazil is becoming a very popular country for many tourists. Whether they want to spend time on the beach, or they want to visit the rainforest, there is plenty to do and a veritable treasure trove of attractions to enjoy. Some of the places you might want to visit include Iguazu Falls, the gorgeous and fun city of Rio de Janeiro, Parque das Aves, the Municipal Theater, and Carneiros Beach.

Rent a vehicle

If you want to see as much as possible on your vacation, you should consider renting a vehicle for your trip. It is a convenient way to get to where you need to go with more comfort and less hassle than public transportation. Always get the phone number and emergency number for the rental agency.

Road conditions and safety

Brazil has the largest network of roads in Latin America, measuring more than 1.6 km. Most of the roads you will find in the larger towns and cities, as well as the highways, are paved and in good condition. The is true in the north and south parts of the country. There aren’t generally potholes, cracks, or other potential problems that could cause issues with your car. However, Brazil is a large country, and there are plenty of areas that have unimproved roads and dirt roads, particularly around the Amazon area. If you plan to go into any of the rural locations, be sure you have the right vehicle for the job.

You need to have your national driver’s license, as well as an international driving permit. Drivers have to be at least 18 years old to drive, but most of the rental companies will not rent to anyone who is under 21 years old.

Drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones while they are behind the wheel. Turning at red lights is not allowed. The only time you can turn on red is when there is a sign that has an arrow pointing to the right and the words Livre a Direita on it.

There are a number of checkpoints through the urban areas where drivers are randomly chosen to take a breathalyzer test. At night, drivers should make sure to keep the windows up and the doors locked, even when they are in the vehicle, as there is a high instance of robbery and carjacking at traffic lights.

The drivers in Brazil do not always pay attention to the traffic laws. They will often turn or change lanes without signaling. They may cut you off, stop without warning, and go well above the posted speed limit. You have to be careful when driving, so keep an eye out for what the other drivers are doing.

The traffic flows on the right side of the road, and you need to use seatbelts while in the vehicle. Children from seven to 10 need to be in the backseat and they need to be wearing seatbelts.

Speed limits

Always follow the posted speed limits. In Brazil, the typical speed limits are as follows.

  • Highways – 120 km/h
  • Countryside – 80 km/h
  • In the cities – 60 km/h

Renting a vehicle can be a fantastic way to see more of Brazil on your next vacation.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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