For driving in Panama, any foreign visitor needs to have the driver license of his country of origin and International driving permit. Panamanian law allows foreigners to drive in Panama using their foreign driver license for 90 days. After that term, foreign drivers must be exchanged for Panamanian driver licenses.
The main Panamanian road traffic rules:
- Traffic in Panama moves on the right side of the road.
- The minimum driving age is 18 years.
- The speed is 50 km/h (30 mph) within cities and 80 km/h (50 mph) outside cities.
- Talking on a cell phone is prohibited while driving.
- Drinking and driving is not permitted. The legal blood alcohol level is 0.0%.
- Drivers and passengers in front seats are mandatory to wear seat belts.
- Third party liability auto insurance is mandatory.
- Children under 5 years must be transported in the rear of the car in special child seats.
- The police phone number is 911.
Driving Overseas - Short Information
- Driving in Panama is often difficult due to heavy traffic and poorly maintained streets. Night driving should be especially approached with caution on account of poor lighting.
- Drivers involved in non-injury accidents should take a photo of both cars and then pull their vehicles off the roadway.
- The rainy season is from April to December; some city streets are impassible in that period.
- When traveling on the highway, drivers should be aware of possible roadblocks.
- Panamanian drivers use their car horns as the method of communication.
- When driving in Panama, drivers must have their passports. The police always ask to see a driver's passport or his ID before asking for a driver license.
- Any driver should have in the car a vehicle registration document, proof of identity, insurance documents, valid driver license (International driving permit) and accident report form.