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Driving in Portugal can be very different to driving in England and this will take quite a while to get used to. Apart from driving on the other side of the road you also have to get to grips with the different legalities that are enforced.
Before I begin you should always remember that after 90 days you are uninsured to drive an English car in Portugal on English Insurance.
Whilst driving around Portugal it is absolutely essential that you keep your eyes on the road and are concentrating all of the time. When I tell you that the standard of driving in Portugal is probably the worst in Europe you will understand what I am talking about.
If you have never had the pleasure of driving in Portugal before then please take notice of the following advice.
You will find that driving around Portugal can, for the unwary, be a case of taking your life in your own hands, and your passengers for that matter.
I would strongly advise that you drive carefully and be in control at all times. When you first witness the chances that Portuguese drivers take when they try to overtake it will quite frankly take your breath away and when you realise how close they travel behind you, well, to say you will be slightly shocked would be something of an under statement.
Always expect the unexpected on the roads of Portugal and don’t be surprised to see cars parked in the most unusual and also the most dangerous of places. The Portuguese drivers seem to think that as long as they have their hazard warning lights on it doesn’t matter where they decide to park.
The standard of roads can vary greatly from being absolutely perfect to virtually impassable and there are many narrow roads that don’t have any passing spaces which often means that there are many long delays.
When driving in Portugal don’t even think about speeding and whatever you do don’t be tempted to use your mobile phone whilst at the wheel, the penalty is an instant fine and please believe me when I tell you that the Portuguese police will not mess around, they will not be interested in any excuse that you may or may not have and you will be fined, and an instant, on the spot fine as well.
As far as drinking and driving is concerned, don’t even go there. The legal limit is far lower than the UK [only 20mg per 100ml maximum] so where you may have thought you could get away with it in the UK you will most definitely not be able to get away with it in Portugal. When you bear in mind how cheap alcohol is here you really do have to be extremely careful.
This can only be described as a good thing and perhaps other countries should take notice of these lower limits which may result in fewer accidents.
If you do get caught drink driving it is only fair to warn you that it is often the case that you will be taken straight to the cells at the police station and kept their until you have to go to court.
It is noticeable that police patrols have greatly increased over the past few years and the amount of people that are being arrested for motoring offences and drinking driving have increased immensely.
Seat belts do have to be worn in Portugal and it should always be remembered that children are not allowed to travel in the front seats if they are under the age of twelve.
The speed limits in Portugal are higher than the UK and many experts believe that this is one of the main reasons for the poor accident figures compared with the UK.
The speed limits in Portugal are:
Motor Insurance is compulsory so always check that you are adequately covered and a valid EU licence is perfectly acceptable.
Now I have probably painted a picture of absolute horror on the roads of Portugal and you may be thinking that you might be better off leaving the car at home and walking everywhere instead but I have just put forward the worst case scenario so that you are at least prepared. When you get used to the different habits of the drivers on the roads of Portugal and you drive carefully you won’t have a problem at all.
You will also find that driving costs are a lot cheaper in Portugal than in England so enjoy the wonderful savings.