For driving in Chile, foreign visitors should have the International driving permits. Although some rental car companies may rent cars to customers without International driving permits, the police may fine foreigners for driving without valid International driving permits.
General Chilean road traffic rules:
- Driving is on the right-hand side of the road and overtaking on the left.
- To drive in Chile, a driver must be at least 18 years old.
- To rent a car, a driver must be over 21 years old.
- The speed limit in towns is 60 km/h and outside towns 100-120 km/h.
- Right turns are prohibited at red lights unless otherwise posted.
- Seat belts are mandatory for a driver and all passengers.
- Children from 6 months to 4 years of age while traveling in cars must be secured in an appropriate child restraint.
- Children under 8 years mau not be ridden in the front seat.
- At intersections without traffic lights, drivers must give way to vehicles on the right.
- While driving, smoking is not permitted.
- Whilst driving, using mobile phone without a hands-free system is not permitted.
- Listening to a personal music player with headphones is not permitted while driving.
- The legal blood-alcohol level is 0.05%.
- It is mandatory to have Obligatory Insurance for Personal Accidents.
- The police phone number is 133.
Additional information and advices:
Chile Road Traffic Signs
Driving Overseas - Short Information
- Some major expressways (out of Santiago and some parts of Panamericana) are toll roads. Drivers have to pay toll at stations, but some new highways dispose of an electronic toll system. It is recommended to have Chilean pesos to pay frequent highway tolls
- In Santiago, main roads may switch directions during morning and evening rush hours.
- Major roads are generally in good condition; secondary and mountain roads may be poorly maintained.
- Many Chilean drivers do not signal lane changes. Also some of them exceed speed limits, don’t maintain safe distances and keep posted road signs.
- Foreign drivers should always carry car documents, passports, driver licenses and International driving permits with them.
- It is recommended do not drive at night since heavy fog in rural areas may lead to vehicle accidents.
- It is recommended to avoid driving in rush-hour between 7:00 (7a.m.) and 9:00 (9a.m.) and between 17:00 (5 p.m.) and 20:00 (8 p.m.).
- Distances between destinations in Chile can be huge; it is advised to carry plenty of water and a spare tire.
- All drivers who get into an accident in Chile have to have blood alcohol test.
- Most parking places and streets are narrow, so smaller vehicles may be the better choice.