Any foreign visitor who wishes to drive in Ecuador should have an International driver license which he should obtain before leaving his home county. It is permitted to drive in Ecuador with foreign driving permit during the first 30 days after arrival to the country. It is not required, but recommended to have an International driving permit in case of an accident or problem. If the foreign visitor doesn’t have the International driving permit and has a driver license issued by his country of residence, after 30 days of his stay in Ecuador, he have to attend a course of at the Transportation Headquarters of the National Police to obtain Ecuadorian driver license.

The main road traffic rules:

  • Traffic moves on the right side of the road and overtaking is on the left side.
  • To drive motor vehicles, a person must be over 18 years of age.
  • while driving, all car occupants must use seat belts.
  • Motorcycle riders must wear helmets.
  • The permitted blood-alcohol level is 0.07%.
  • Car insurance is mandatory.
  • In urban areas, the maximum speed limit is 50 km/h (30 mph). If driver drive above 60 km/h (37 mph), he will be taken to jail.
  • On perimeter roads, the maximum speed limit is 90 km/h (55 mph).  Driving with speed from 90 km/h (55 mph) until 120 km/h (75 mph) is an infraction. In case of driving above 120 km/h (75 mph), a driver can be taken to jail.
  • On straight roads, the maximum speed limit is 100 km/h (60 mph).  Driving with speed between 90 km/h (55 mph) and 135 km/h (84 mph) is an infraction.  Drivers can be taken to jail if drive with the speed above 135 km/h (84 mph).
  • On curvy roads, the maximum speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph).  Driving with speed from 60 km/h (37 mph) to 75 km/h (45 mph) is an infraction.  For driving above 45 mph drivers can be taken to jail.
  • The police phone number is 911.

Additional information:

  • To rent a car, a driver normally has to be 25 years of age. A valid driver license with a driver’s photo may be accepted; otherwise, an International driving permit is necessary.
  • Drivers always should be aware of cyclists as they don’t have special lanes only for them and are common on the roads.
  • At traffic lights, drivers always should wait until the light has turned green before going; many drivers sometimes instead of braking accelerate when the light turns yellow.
  • It is recommended to avoid driving at night because it can be dangerous.
  • The rush hours are 8:00 - 9:30 (8a.m. – 9:30 a.m.), 12:00 – 13:00 (12p.m. – 1p.m.), 17:00 – 19:00 (5 p.m. – 7p.m.) from Monday to Friday.
  • A motorist who while driving was involved in an accident in which someone is injured or killed, will be arrested, regardless of whether he/she are guilty or innocent of the accident. The Embassies cannot get foreign visitors out of jail in such situations.
  • It is recommended do not hitchhike, particularly women.

 Driving Overseas - Short Information