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Driving in the Algarve - Part 2: Safety first

by Almonds & Oranges    

Always keep to the national speed limits

Speed limits are enforced by unmarked police cars and radar traps.

The national speed limits are:

  • 50 KPH in built up areas
  • 90 KPH on rural roads
  • 120 KPH on motorways (with a minimum speed of 40km per hour)
  • 70/80 KPH for cars towing trailers

The conversion from kilometres to miles per hour is 1 kilometre = 0.62 miles. Therefore the speed limit in Portuguese towns is 30 miles per hour.

Algarve coast driving

Follow the safety rules

  • It's compulsory to wear seat belts (both front and back seats if fitted). It's the driver's responsibility to ensure all passengers wear their belts (and it's the driver who'll be fined if the passengers aren't belted)
  • Children under 12 years of age may not ride in the front passenger seats unless they're over 150cm tall. If possible, special child seat belts should be used
  • It's illegal to drive with headphones connected to a sound device
  • Mobile phones may only be used with a handsfree system
  • Dogs must be restrained in a moving car
  • Suitcases and baggage carried on the vehicle mustn't exceed the vehicle's length by more than 45cm at the rear and 55cm at the front
  • It's illegal for a motorbike to carry passengers under the age of seven
  • Should you break down and attempt to carry out repairs you're required to wear a reflective jacket. It’s also necessary to put out a warning triangle (motorbikes excluded)

Motor bike riding Algarve

If you breakdown on a motorway

There are free emergency telephones at roughly three to five kilometre intervals along the roadside. To use an emergency telephone, simply press the SOS button and wait for an answer. Should you break down on the motorway, wear your reflective jacket and place the reflective triangle 30m behind your vehicle to warn other drivers.

driving through almond blossoms Algarve

Know how to deal with an accident

If involved in a car accident, the driver is obliged to stop and help injured people, collaborate in avoiding danger and other possible accidents, and call the police on 112 if there are injured people or the vehicle is blocking the road and cannot be moved.

Your vehicle insurance company should issue you with a standard form (Declaração Europeia de Acidente) which should be used to record details in the event of an accident.

If you would like to take a look at the Algarve's roads in real-time, don't forget you can see most of the Algarve's towns with Google Street Views on Meravista's map!  

Do you drive a car or a motorbike in the Algarve? Any tips for new drivers or those not used to driving in Portugal?


Do you want to find out more about driving in the Algarve? You can read about it on Meravista’s blogs:

Driving in the Algarve - Part 6: Owning a car in Portugal

Driving in the Algarve - Part 5: Using Toll Roads

Driving in the Algarve - Part 4: Driving Licenses

Driving in the Algarve - Part 3: What to have with you

Driving in the Algarve - Part 1: Rules and Regs


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