Away from the main axis of the population between Lisbon and Oporto, much of Portugal is sparsely populated and only lightly trafficked. The exception being of course the region along Portugal's south coast, containing the major holiday centres of the Algarve. It is not unusual still to encounter horse drawn vehicles or animals on the more rural roads.
Driving on the right hand side of the road may be a new experience for some visitors as may well be the use of kilometres to measure distance - one good thing about using a rental car is that it will be adapted to local conditions with the steering on the left hand side and the speedometer marked in kilometres per hour.
The availability of rentals cars is very good throughout Portugal and there is usually no problem in arranging for a hire car to be left at a different location from where it was originally rented.
The speed limits in Portugal are:
On Motorways the limit is 120 kilometres per hour. This equates to about 74 miles per hour. On other roads not showing any lower restriction the limit is 90 kilometres per hour, that's 55 miles per hour. In towns the limit is 50 kilometres per hour, or 31 miles per hour.
Drivers face severe penalties if found driving with more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. This is lower than the limit in Britain which is 80mg per 100ml.
Persons under the age of 17 years are not allowed to drive in Portugal even though they may hold a driving licence issued in another country.
The wearing of seat belts is compulsory. All vehicles must carry a warning triangle, check your hire car carries one before you drive away.
These notes are intended only to draw attention to some of the rules and regulations that apply to driving in Portugal. They are not an exhaustive or complete set of regulations and may be superseded by changes in the law at any time. The publishers can accept no responsibility for any problem that may arise because drivers have failed to satisfy all the relevant legislation in any country in which they may use a vehicle hired through this site. It remains the responsibility of the driver to satisfy himself or herself that they are aware of all the relevant legislation that affects their conduct and the driving of vehicles in any country in which they may find themselves
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