Driving in Portugal


What do you think of the way people drive in Portugal? How different is it from your home country?

Respecting the road safety rules, driving etiquette such as general courtesy, speed excess… what are the characteristics of the driving style in Portugal?

Share with us the difficulties one may face when driving in Portugal: peak hours, road conditions, accident, etc. and your advice to drive safely in the country.

Thank you in advance for participating,


When it comes to driving in this country it is truly a "ME" culture. All a matter of  "I will do what I want when I want" without consideration, courtesy or respecting the rules of the road.  I know I am not totally blameless and most probably make some errors, however:
I do not park in roundabouts to drop off or pick up my children.
I do not double park, especially when parked across an empty parking space
Use of  indicators and roundabouts - why ever would one want to be in the right lane or indicate?
Buses, who although indicating to come out, just do so.  Do they not look to see if a car is passing them (when they in a lay-by picking up passengers)?
As for cellular usage whilst driving - well they obviously do not know the law, but then again they do, they just ignore it.
One just has to see the news in the past week to realise how badly they drive.
Even the AA guide book advises people of the bad driving in this country.

Sorry to say that many foreigners in Portugal, me included, opt out of driving here whenever possible. Thank heavens most of the public transportation, with the exception of the buses, which you must wait and wait for, is very good. When the Portuguese drive here, they have absolutely no respect for you  or anybody else. They drive for blood! Also, it's hard to read the city signs, expecially when it comes to parking. It's so easy to end up with tickets. They do lock your wheel and tow your car too.

Generally speaking, if I had my choice, I would pick another country to live in. The people here are only surface friendly when you are a tourist. It's best to live in Lisbon, because there are more internationals than in Oporto and its surrounding áreas. I would say that for the most part, the people here are rude, unfriendly and quite self-centered. Sad but true, because most foreigners I know here feel the same way as I do.

I fuly agree with what has been courageously said about Portugal, totally exact, one of the reasons I do not leave overthere. This being said, the attitude you describe, you will find it in most southern latin countries of Europe.
In term of rights, if political situation move to chaos, white or color: You have almost no rights.
This is also the price to pay if you decide to live outside of you own country. I am not much in love with my own country, but finally I may finish my life at "home" for the reasons said above.
I am too old now to plan a big move in a "retirement paradise" that probably do not exist, but one thing I agree with one of my freind (ex-diplomat) : If you live in Europe (CEE), stay where you born or relocate ouside Europe.

Yes indeed, the attitude here in Portugal is totally disgusting! In fact, if I were in my own country again, I would return the pleasure of the horrible 10 years I have had here in Portugal hell. I have never been prejudiced until I moved to this horrible country, but now I'm a hopeless case of get even!!! I was taught this by the Portuguese professionals. If they are mistreated in the USA, it is well deserved! What goes round comes round!

Finally the essential is to move out. The difficulty is to find the right place.
In my case, my major mistake was to concentrate too much on my job. The result: Since I did not prepare my retirement when I was active, it is too late to complain. The East coast of the USA is probably the best place on earth, moresespecially if you have a boat. This also allow you to go to the Bahamas, quite nice in winter. The problem with the USA is its administration: If you want to retire overthere, you are considered just as if you came from Mars or Jupiter. There is no visa for retirees, but a charge of one million Dollars if you want to obtain a green card. If France had the courage to apply such a rule, we would get rid of all unproductive migrants!
Otherwhise, there are many places better with freedom, but generally with poor medical assistance (like Portugal), and when you are retired this is a major point to consider before thinking of putting a foot in the country you are looking at.

I can live in the USA, but the medical is way too expensive, and so are the rents. A boat isn't a bad idea, but storms can be horrible in the USA and many other places. Also the taxes are horrible! In short, the USA is friendlier than Europe, by far, but the rents, taxes, dangers such as shootings etc. make it not user friendly. Portugal is peaceful so far, but is xenophoibic to the max!

A lot of drivers in "Portugal" (speaking only about the island I am in) drive over the middle dividing line onto another side of the road. Rearing into the main road without first looking (including me until recently) is frequent. Beeping at you while overtaking you is not rude, it is just a friendly warning to watch out. Overtaking before hills and dangerous overtaking is frequent but nothing tragic. Sometimes people smile at you while you're driving. I always show concern for other drivers. I have seen some real drunkards on the road not letting me pass, but I believe it was not intentional, he was just too drunk. Not as polite or helpful drivers as I've seen in the US when I visited there. Yet in the US there's an attitude of I OWN THE ROAD and driving slow on the speed lane of an expressway or racing and not letting you pass. Usually no problem here in the Açores and I see no big problems. There are helpful people in every country, more or less. If you run out of gas or break down in the Azores, just go to the nearest house. Chances are they also speak English. Regarding Portuguese proper, it is advised to learn to speak basic Portuguese before visiting the country. In the Azores it is often requested that I speak Portuguese and I do try, but there are no language courses, no language school, not even a phrasebook to be found anywhere on the island.I was lucky to find one EN-PT-EN dictionary at the Post Office, but since then none on the horizon. The only source of my "Portuguese" is Google Translate which gives me Brazilian Portuguese version and while Azoreans tell me it is the same Portuguese, I get into situations and misunderstandings using it and people usually switch to English after watching me kill myself trying to speak or learn Portuguese. Be nice and considerate on the road and always carry a medical emergency box, jumper cables, a pump, basic tools, in cased if you or someone else needs help. Although it wasn't easy to find a medical emergency kit box here. Had to go through all the pharmacies (stores don't have them) to find one that had it for sale. It's like one day I struggled to find any lemons in the grocery stores here (or great tasting bread), and this is an orange and lemon country. When you see a lemon on the road, don't drive over it, pick it up, cause you never know when you get to find yet another one. The local guys suggested "just go and steal some from someone's yard"... yeah, right.... Still "Europe's Last Paradise" with low crime (not sure about number of thieves though if flower planters get stolen with all the soil in them). The most painful one is to employ a thief (who has repeatedly stolen from you) and have no choice but to keep them, as there may be no other willing or skilled workers around. Watch out for swopped natural gas cylinders, no wonder your gas cylinder that should have lasted you months has become empty overnight... :-) Lock them up or at least mark them clearly. This is about the driving (people nuts) in Portugal.... and don't forget that expats are frequent targets of nasty burglaries. Drive safe and sober. I haven't found one thing out yet, can one bribe the traffic police here? :-) (I never tried nor needed to, but in the past, in another country, it was easy as well as show them a middle finger). Don't be a hero on the road, be nice, humble and considerate. And stop telling me that fodas thing... hahaha.

By the way, this is a nice video and the music is nice, you maybe see this on the roadside as well; do share if you see something like that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3QmxSWNkc4

Their driving here is a disgrace! Many internationals I know, including myself, will not drive here. The drivers here don't even know how to drive their own cars, and the parking signs are an invitation to have your car towed, because you can never find them. I came from New York, and I always drove there, no problema, but it is disgusting here.

I spent a few years (driving) in the U.S. I liked this and that and I disliked this and that. People told me good for you, for the dislikes alone, go packing, if you don't like the food or the colour of the sky or the poly~ticks. Actually that's what I did, that's why I did it. I packed and left. So did many others, not just because of insane property taxes and greedy corporations and landlords. This rule can be applied to anyone hating Portugal: Suitcase »»» Airport »»» Motherland. Portugirl is not perfect, but it is one of the greatest countries in the world, despite being not a very rich country, which is a delight for me. I find very rich countries, boring. Driving in Portugal seems like more fun to me. And the atmosphere and energy of the place is refreshing. Overwhelming commercialism kills places.

You sound soooo Portuguese! Portugal is far from the greatest country in the world unless you have a lot of Money, and even then... I come from the USA and I have lived here for 10 years. My husband is Portuguese or I would escape from here asap. Most foreigners I have met feel the same way I do. I'm so happy you like your country. I have lived all over the world. I find the USA a difficult country to live in in so many ways, but it is easy to make friends who are really nice there, and it is an interesting country. The people in Portugal are only friendly on the surface, and they always think they are brilliant because they think Portuguese is difficult to learn which I find to be quite funny. Oporto is extremely boring, and the food sucks. Even my Portuguese husband thinks so. Lisbon is better, because it is more international. Both places are horrible to drive in and to find parking in. Frankly, I would prefer living in a friendlier country such as Spain. The food is much better there too, and so is the driving. Sorry to disagree with you, but we are all entitled to our opinion.

You are right brother. I'm agree with you. I'm also foreign & living in Lisbon,Portugal.

I tried to live in Lisbon, but it was way too expensive. You are damn straight I'm right. I have lived here for 10 years too many. I would definitely live somewhere else if I had the choice!!!! Don't as me where. Perhaps Spain as I already said. I would try diferente place until I found one that I liked. Portugal is a waste of life. It is a shame. Oporto is much worse than Lisbon, so you can just imagine. Even the driving is worse.

Hello everyone,

Can we please focus on the topic and discuss only about the negative and positive facts about Driving in Portugal  :)

Thank you in advance,

Driving in Portugal is just like any latin countries (Europe). One of the reason is the huge progress of car technology. In other words today's cars are like sports cars back in the 60's. Contrarily, the brain or IQ of the humains drivers did not progress one inch! They are just limitedd as before or after the second wolrd war.
When a toy become "democratic", it looses its interest.
The only way to control this problem is to limit the horsepower of all cars to 80 or 100HP and monitor the speed automatically by GPS, just as simple as forcing the driver to put on the safety belt...But this will not prevent the stupid to drive on the middle of the street!
The uncontrolled demographic groth where almost everyone as a car is also a contributing factor.
Best way to avoid this: Live in a small island....
The USA is on the deep dive, but do not take for granted the tax advantages of Portugal that may be cancelled anytime by the government, which his only target is to "keep the job".

Now, the Portuguese have standardized the behavior of the drivers. They have the same point system as Canada. HOWEVER, the police prefer the cafés to giving tickets. As the Portuguese always say, "Later we will see." lol!!!

Yes America is on the decline, and now they are taking away 10 percent of the Social Insecurity! Obama is doing a great job, for a moron. Today, I don't think there is a decente country left.

Watching some of the Portuguese drive is lots of fun! Obama is just a puppet. He wanted to do some real change, but was warned: Can Not Do or Kennedy.

Watching driving is fun, as long as you are not one of the casualties!!! Obama is not a puppet! He is a Muslim, and he lies very well!

There is no positive facts about driving in Portugal or any latin countries. The negative side is rendering life a misery instead of enjoying the surroundings in peace.
For those who do not understand, go to Palermo....The hell in its apogee.

My husband read that Portugal wins for deaths on the road due to bad driving. He's the Portuguese person in the family. Whenever I talk to the Portuguese people here about driving and how bad it is here, the jerks laugh. What's funny about death by driving. You tell me! I drove in every state in the USA, but I won't drive here for sure. The people here can't even drive their shopping carts here without blocking you or smacking into you. It's insane! It's also really rude!

Portuguese drivers are very nice, and drive orderly, sometimes a bit funny on the road, nothing miserable, just plain positive fun. Portuguese drivers are not arrogant like USAmericans, who often have a speed lane all to themselves, at slow speed (USA). Bigger part of USAmericans are still very polite and kind on the road although Blacks sometimes overtake you and slam on brakes right a few feet in front of you on an empty expressway for no reason. Regarding Palermo, it's probably too dangerous to get in conflict with the drivers there, as they may be part of the M word. I'll take Portugal over all of these.

Portugal is not a very rich country and it is quite safe and interesting. They did not develop a high level of arrogance like USA or other rich countries did, so living and driving in Portugal is mainly advantages. Now some things can be expensive in Portugal, but some things are cheaper, which is livable, you can avoid buying the expensive stuff. Now it's a different matter in places like the USA where everything is expensive, even food has trippled lately and taxes etc. You can't avoid spending lots over there. I think only the ignorant and the stuck remain in the US. All others have left and are enjoying driving in Portugal, or in Palermo. I've seen rentals in Sicilia 200-300€ a month for an apartment, very good. I was considering moving there. Crazy driving, watching and participating, is very much life and is fun.

Regarding being rude in the store and bumping into you, I think people in Portugal do that because they are natural, they are not pumped up with chemicals and bloated like clouds, and they have not learned yet how to fake a smile or to be fake and arrogant in general. Same probably applies being on the road.

You have to be kidding! They invented the words rude and arrogant. I've lived here for 10 years too many to know the truth!

You are misinformed, and I'm being polite. Please read this and get educated: Portuguese roads are Europe's most dangerous - Europe ...

- independent.co.uk › News › World › Europe

Traduzir esta página22/08/2002 - Holidaymakers who hire cars in Portugal and Greece are driving on Europe's most dangerous roads, ... Friday 21 August 2015 ... The death rate in India, for instance, is 35 per 100,000, nearly six times worse than in Britain.

I've never been to Portugal... only to Pico island... :-)

I moved here a while ago from France, so as far i as I see it the standard of the roads and the drivers are soooooo much better than the French.

From what I hear, Italy and France are pretty bad, but compared to ever state in the USA Portugal is horrible. It is supposed to be the worst for accidents and fatalities in Europe statistically.

No, it's not, I think Lithuania is, accordingly to the E.U. stats, yet they don't seem to be the rudest, just the ballsy. Today was another fun day driving here, with drivers overtaking up hill and lorry drivers sticking their trucks well out into the highway and all you can do is just drive around them, at high speed. I love it. Wouldn't be fun without all the "dangers". Oh, and one (westeuro tourist?) waited until I got close, then drove into the main road right in front of me and slowed down to a halt. This is not a first time this happens. WTH? "western" Europeans can't drive? Ever since 1990 I realised how BAD drivers "western" Europeans are.

Eileen, I feel I wanna sponsor you a ticket back home to the Amurrika. That will include one year's free rent at the location of your choice as long as it is not a 5 star hotel. Please take the the rest of the chemtrail-spraying USAF base on Terceira with you.

I believe in Portugal you get what you give, that's all I have ever experienced, so if people have been rude to you, it's possible that you were an idiot to begin with. But agreed the driving here is scary

As a Lithuanian and your neighbour here, on Pico, I just wanted to say 'hello' and yes, we are not rude - just ballsy, indeed :) and yes, our statistics in many self-destructive categories are quite high...
And for the Portuguese drivers I still have this warm memory of driving in Porto - they started beeping only after the third green light at a quite steep cross-walk I managed to fail. :)

Boa tarde Зюм Изюм if you are my neighbour and not a troll, you are welcome to drop by and say hello. :-)

If my counting is right, my two sentences out of three were hard to understand. I don't stand a chance of making that hello chatty :) Have a good night!
And by the way, our language is not Russian..

Hi зюм изюм. Oh those shy Lithuanians... You're right, I couldn't understand what you meant about the green light and the steep crosswalk, but its ok. Perhaps you were climbing on Pico looking for a geocache and saw three green lights, which may have been an UFO and they just beeped at you. Well, let's see: изюм in Russian means "raisins" or passas de uva, if I am not mistaken. Sorry for mistaking you for a Russian-speaking girl from Литуания. I have Russian friends here as well. HELLO, by the way. So tell me, how long have you been living on Pico? I assume you are the old-timer here in comparison to me. Cheers and iki.

Labanakt :-)

Forget Lithuana for a while. Portugal is no much different than other countries, probably a bit more noisy and nervous. However, one must remember that average IQ of the mass is quite low, sometimes I think around 25.....I know it is a bit more but totally insufficient to handle new cars which are simply "sport cars". In fact the car manufacturers are offering machines that are too powerfull for the normal individual IQ.
If the cars power was reduced by law, there will be less accidents. I believe one day, the car manufacturers will be sued like the tobacco industries, and this the best approach to limit accidents often caused by drivers not able to control their machines, thinking they are "pilots" while they are not.

No one has crashed into my house in the Autonomous Region of Portugal for over a year now, plus I don't see any accidents here, which could mean the autonomous regional driver IQ is improving? Must be higher IQ here than the continent. :D

I think the the buses have right of way and we have to watch and let them out on the whole I have found drivers to give way when they should there is the one of two that don't they don't beep much and they wait but drive at speed. While walk my dog I fell down a slope   one car stopped to help and they was a line of cars very quickly they got out to see if they could help me got me up and dusted off did not moved until they were all happy I was OK.

Never deen so many brandnew Mercedes and BMW in my life driven at high speed and no concern whatsoever or the normal crowd. These cars are mostly bought on credit and you may know that Portuguese banks are almost all broke because loan repayment is the worst in Europe.

Also never seen so many overweight and obese women, mostly due to uncontrolled intake of sugary sweetrs and tons o meat.
Apparently Portugal has one of the lowest average wage in EU, but peolple drive flashy new cars that even Germany cannotm keep up with!~

Explanation> 50% of wages not declared and taxed, so this helps them to stuff their pockts with EU cash to build some ridiculous roads or town squares with golden tiles.

To hell with these stupid uneducated and self  entered Portuguese!
I hope 2012 crises will return soon to this country so they all need to emigrate to find a job and hopefully learn some humbleness!

hi, just want to which part of Portugal you live in.  would be interesting to chat with my husband.

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