Your first time driving in a different country is a nerve-wracking experience. Especially if you are coming from the UK to another European country. You grasp for the gear stick with your left hand and find the door handle instead. You try to put on your seat belt and reach for thin air. And when you drive on unfamiliar roads you are constantly on edge – where are the cars going to come from, why are they driving so fast, where can I find a safe space to park? Driving in Portugal can be stressful, particularly if your first experience is in a hire car. If everything feels like it’s the wrong way round and back to front, don’t panic. It will get easier, particularly if you follow these top Car Driving Tips in Portugal.
1. Focus on the road at all times. You can’t drive on autopilot here – you need especially intense powers of observation and concentration, both because you are unused to the driving rules and also to avoid clashing with other drivers’ fast and loose driving styles.
2. Indicator lights are used less frequently, and more randomly, in Portugal than in the UK. Don’t assume a driver won’t turn just because he didn’t put his blinker on.
3. Be careful with drivers overtaking you at high speed and squeezing themselves into the small gap in front of you. Be prepared to brake, or to slow down – it is better to give in to their demands rather than cause an accident. Drivers tend to overtake more frequently here.
4. Check your mirrors ten times before you even consider overtaking or passing a stationary vehicle. Just because the car behind you doesn’t want to overtake doesn’t mean that a car six back won’t decide he is impatient to get past you and the slow-moving vehicle.
5. Be careful on hills and on bends. Drivers may decide this is a good place to overtake.
City driving rules
6. Beware of pedestrians everywhere. Many people don’t use the pavements to walk on because there aren’t any, or because they are in a poor state of repair. Be prepared for pedestrians to walk out in front of you at any moment. When driving in the city it pays to go slow and don’t get distracted by talking to your partner, or switching on the radio.
Patience is a virtue with an aluguer de automóveis portugal
7. Don’t get distracted by your mobile phone. Apart from the possibility of causing an accident, using a mobile phone while driving is not advised because it is illegal. If caught, you will be fined.
8. Remember that roundabouts are anti-clockwise in Portugal.
9. Park carefully in the city as it is common for drivers to squeeze into spaces, resulting in scratches and scrapes. If you can, park next to the most expensive nicest-looking autos – these drivers will be less inclined to scratch their cars when leaving their spot.
10. If you find yourself getting stressed by the differences in driving styles then take a moment at the side of the road to collect yourself then continue with an open mind – and eyes in the back of your head.
Taking an aluguer de automóveis portugal when you are on vacation is a great way to see the country but driving takes patience and care until you a used to the different experience on the roads.