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At a glance: Driving in Portugal

How much do you know about the Portuguese rules of the road?
When planning to drive in any overseas destination, it’s crucial to understand the rules of the road first. And even if you have been to the country in question before, it’s always worth taking a second look as a reminder – and to see whether any new rules have come into force.

Today, we will give you a quick rundown of the most essential things to know when driving in Portugal.
Like most European countries, in Portugal you drive on the right and overtake on the left. The bulk of Portuguese motorways are toll roads, which come in two key forms. The older toll roads will be fitted with booths, where you can pay for using the road, while the newer routes will be kitted out with an automated system.

This automated system uses transponders fitted into cars for automatic payment. Typically, hire cars will feature these, but if yours doesn’t (and you ought to check), then you will need to go to a post office or pay shop within five days in order to settle up. It’s worth remembering, though, that you cannot do so until 48 hours have passed.
In terms of what you need to have in/on the car, it’s essential to carry both parts of your driving licence with you, as well as your passport, as it’s not uncommon for foreign drivers to be stopped to have their ID checked. Also carry a warning triangle and reflective jacket, as well as spare glasses or contact lenses, should you wear them.

Petrol stations are usually open from 8am to 8pm, though on motorways and in large cities, some are open for 24 hours a day. In terms of driving etiquette, it is worth bearing in mind that this often differs from what you’re used to in the UK. For instance, if a driver flashes his or her lights at you, they expect you to give way to them – not the other way round.

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