Driving in Brazil

Speed Limits in Brazil

Speed limits vary depending on where you are driving in Brazil. The speed is measured in kilometers per hour (kph), which might be a bit confusing for someone who's not used to the metric system. Speed limits in Brazil are:
  • Urban areas: 60 kmph (40 mph)
  • Open roads: 120 kmph (74 mph)
In general, speed limits in Brazil are widely ignored and rarely enforced, but it is still important to follow these limits especially because you are driving in a foreign country.

Many roads have radar traps and speed cameras to photograph violators in the act. A ticket is issued if you break speed laws. Be very careful as Brazilians tend to brake suddenly if they spot such a device.


The road conditions in Brazil really vary throughout the country. The state roads are quite well maintained and are excellent. However, the federal and interstate roads are extremely poor because of low maintenance. The areas that are governed by the municipality, signs, shoulders and exits are quite haphazard and confusing. The roads are not very smooth as there are many potholes and uneven surfaces. Many roads have speedbumps which at times are not indicated clearly and are therefore quite dangerous. Outside the big cities, dirt roads are common and can become dangerous to travel on after dark and especially during the rainy season.

The inter-city roads in Brazil are world-renowned as being dangerous and unsafe. A combination of bad driving skills, horrible road conditions and an abundance of trucks makes driving down these roads almost next to impossible. Most of these inter city roads have only two lanes which are forever crowded with trucks. There is no law in brazil which requires truck drivers to make compulsory stops to rest and therefore many drive for long distances. This can prove to be quite dangerous as accidents due to fatigue and drowsiness are common.

Driving age

The minimum age requirement for driving in Brazil is 18 years.

Drinking and Driving

The amount of legally allowed alcohol in the blood is 0.6 mg/ml, which is a bit higher than many other countires.

Mobile Phones


Remember to carry important documentation with you at all times. Documents you should have with you:
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) - must be accompanied by a valid driver's license from your home country.
  • Inter-American Driving Permit (IADP) - May be obtained by US residents from AAA offices, and used instead of an International Driving Permit. An IADP should be accompanied by your valid home country driver's license.
  • Driver's license - The information in your driving licence must be written in a Latin alphapet or accompanied by a translation by a reliable source or an international driving licence. If your license does not incorporate a photograph, ensure you carry your passport to validate the license.
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Owner's Permission - If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Right of way

Safety Belts

Brazil requires the use of either seatbelts or a safety seat for everyone in the car, both at the front and back.

Driving with Children

Children under 10 years of age are prohibited from travelling in the front seat, and must be seated at the rear with a seatbelt tightly fastened or in a safety seat (depending on the child's age). The law in Brazil requires children car seats for all children under the age of 7.5. The safety seat should be a rear-facing seat, a forward-facing seat or a booster seat based on the exact age and weight of the child.

The Police

Additional Required Equipment

All cars in Brazil must be equipped with the following equipment:


Additional Issues