Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Argentina?
Driving is on the right with overtaking on the left. Traffic signals are the same as in most countries though the drivers are very aggressive. Running red lights is commonplace. On main roads left hand turns are not allowed unless specifically stated. When arriving at an intersection in Greater Buenos Aires cars honk their horns and the first one to honk gets right of way.
In the country areas you should drive carefully in case there are any potholes or rocks in the road. Driving at night should be avoided where possible due to the lack of visibility. When you get to rural areas you should expect to find gravel and even dirt paths so plan accordingly. A four wheel drive car is usually a good idea and you should always travel with a good map. Quite a few tourists have rolled their cars on gravel and accidents can be expensive to fix due to the current economic climate. To drive in Argentina the following are requirements: a fire extinguisher, two warning triangles, a rigid tow bar, a first aid kit and a working handbrake. Before you collect and return your car you should check for any scratches or damage. Having a credit card is usually the preferred way of making bookings. Be sure to advise us if you plan to take the car across the border. At police check points they may spray the underside of your car with a pesticide and expect a small amount of money for it.
Watch out for auto theft in cities such as Buenos Aires and avoid it by parking your car in a well lit area. Around Buenos Aires the police sometimes set up road blocks in order to extract bribes. In some tourist areas small children will offer to guard your car for a tip.
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone in the car must wear a seatbelt and the driver will be fined and may receive points off their licence if they don't comply
Drinking and Driving
The legal limit for blood alcohol in Argentina is 50mg per 100ml of blood - less than the UK limit. For motorcyclists, the limit is 20mg. You will be arrested, charged and have your car impounded if over the limit. You'll get a court case and a ban together with a sizeable fine.
Must Have Documents
You need to have a driving licence and, depending on the country of issue, an international drivers licence. UK licences are interchangeable with Argentinian ones so British drivers should encounter no problems. Whilst it's not a legal requirement to have any other documentation, the registration and insurance documents are useful to offer if stopped.
- 40 km/h in residential streets
- 60 km/h on urban main roads
- Up to 110 km/h in the countryside
- Up to 120-130 km/h on highways (semiautopista and autopista)
Minimum Driving Age
Argentina sets the minimum age for drivers at 18 and if you've passed at 17 in the UK, you'll have to wait! There are also age restrictions for car hirers – check with us before you rent.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Warning devices are not illegal for use in Argentina but the speed limits are there for a reason – please abide by them!
On the Spot Fines
There are officially no 'on the spot' fines in Argentina and if you're asked to pay one, it's a con. Fines vary and can be negotiated down if you're polite and calm. You should be issued with a ticket and be able to pay at a police station or a bank. The north east of the country is notorious for traffic fine scams.
Child Safety Rules
Argentine law says that children under the age of twelve must be suitably restrained in cars. This means car seats for small children, booster cushions for older ones and no travelling in the front until they're twelve.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Argentina
Rules of the Road
Standard driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
You must have two warning triangles, a rigid tow bar, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher and a red reflective sticker for the rear of the car. Hire car companies usually make sure these are included but you can buy them at most garages.
You must only use a rigid tow bar if towing and must make sure hazard lights are lit.
There is increasing use of safety cameras in Argentina. The majority are hand held and used in speed traps but there are fixed cameras around the main towns and cities.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
You cannot use a mobile phone without a hands free kit in Argentina.
No parking zones are clearly marked in cities and major towns. You must park only in the direction of the traffic.
There are many municipal and privately operated car parks in the major towns and cities in Argentina. Parking is relatively inexpensive but increases dramatically towards the CBD. You'll also find metered parking on some roads, again, not overly expensive but with restricted times.
Enforcement of parking is often done by the police and whilst a little haphazard, if they see what appears to be a tourist car illegally parked, you can receive a ticket or if towed away, a substantial fine.
Argentina has a blue badge scheme for disabled drivers and many places displaying the sign will also accept European disability badges so it's worth trying to use your badge, if only for more convenient parking.
Motor Way Signs
Motorway signs have a green background, similar to American and European signs.
Highway – Autopista
Mountain pass - Paso
Buenos Aires residents - Porteños
Police checkpoints -Controles policiales
Paved unlit two lane road – Ruta
Stop - PARE
I have broken down - He roto
Where is the police station? - Dónde está la estación de policía?
I have a flat tyre - Tengo una rueda pinchada
I have been in an accident - He estado en un accidente
Where is? - Dónde está?
Where can I buy petrol? - Dónde puedo comprar gasolina?
Traffic lights overall in Argentina are fairly standard. You mustn't turn right on a red light unless an arrow indicates you can. In Buenos Aires you'll find a new system of 'intelligent' lights that aim to improve the flow of traffic so don't get confused if the phasing seems strange.
National Route A9, the Autopista Pascual Palazzo and National Route A003, the Tigre access road are the only toll roads. Tolls are inexpensive and paid at booths along the roads.
The emergency number in Argentina is 101 for the police, 100 for fire and 107 for ambulance.
What to do in an emergency
In an emergency, you must display a warning triangle 30m from the vehicle to the front and rear of the car. Hazard warning lights must be lit. If someone has been injured or property or cars badly damaged, the police must be called. Stay calm and polite – tourists are almost always seen as being in the wrong and you could find yourself in trouble by arguing. If possible, take photographs to support your case and seek independent witnesses where possible.
As of April 2014, the price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Argentina is £0.81 whilst diesel is £0.69.