South America’s largest country, Brazil is one of the most colourful and cosmopolitan nations on Earth. Nothing quite reflects Brazil’s vibrancy like Carnaval, the country’s most famous festival which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and some of the other major cities. While the country is also famous for helping to make football, the national sport, beautiful. Brazil isn’t short of amazing landmarks, the most famous being the open-armed statue of Jesus that sits atop Corcovado Hill in Rio. The administrative capital, Brasilia, is home to some unique examples of modernist architecture, while the Amazonian rainforest is there for anyone with a love of nature to explore by foot, canoe or mountain bike.
Driving in Brazil
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
In order to prevent being a victim of crime on the roads, you must keep your doors and windows locked at all times while driving.
In some instances, drivers choose to keep the bare minimum distance between themselves and the car in front. Be wary of this when in a traffic jam.
The safest region to drive is the south of the country, especially in and around Porto Alegre and Florianopolis.
Driving culture in Brazil
What are the roads like in Brazil?
As you might expect for a country of its size, the major routes in Brazil are in good condition. The road networks in the southern and eastern parts of the country are better, but further inland near the Amazon, you’re more likely to encounter gravel and dirt roads, which can become almost impassable during the rainy season from November to March.
What are Brazilian drivers like?
Some drivers in Brazil don’t always stick to the rules. It’s common to see some drivers overtake at short notice, while one or two motorists might be tempted to take shortcuts by driving in the reverse lane in the wrong direction! Some drivers are also known to drive through red lights if there’s no traffic coming directly across them.
What are the best times to drive?
Driving at night is something that is best avoided here, especially in the big cities of Rio and Sao Paulo. The reasons for that include the risk of being subject to crime, especially when stopping at traffic lights. It’s also wise to avoid the rush hour, as rush hour traffic in Brazil is renowned for being among the worst in the entire world.
What are the driving laws?
In Brazil, you must have a valid driving licence and passport as proof of ID. Also, it’s mandatory for drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts at all times. Children under the age of 10 are not allowed sit in the front passenger seat, and must have a safety seat if under 7½ years of age. An international driving permit is also required.