Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Uruguay?
Uruguay is one of the smaller South American countries but is still quite large. Hiring a car will get you to some amazing, uncrowded beaches or the the beautiful landscapes inland.
Driving is relatively straightforward and the country's infrastructure is modern. It's only way out in the wilds that you'll find a 4 x 4 is necessary.
Seat Belt Laws
All people in moving vehicles in Uruguay must wear seat belts.
Drinking and Driving
The maximum permitted amount of alcohol per 100ml of blood is 30mg in Uruguay. This is less than half of that allowed in the UK and means that one drink is likely to take you over the limit. For that reason, don’t drink any alcohol then drive. The penalties are harsh including removal of your licence for a minimum of six months.
Must Have Documents
In Uruguay, drivers must carry their driving licence; international ones are necessary for some countries, their registration document and proof of a minimum of third party insurance.
The speed limits for Uruguay are as follows:
Open roads and highways 90/110 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Uruguay. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 23 and you’ll need to have at least a year’s experience of driving. If you’re less than 25, a young drivers’ premium will often apply.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are not illegal in Uruguay but it’s always best to stick to the speed limit rather than try to beat the system.
On the Spot Fines
If you are stopped by the police for committing a traffic offence you’ll be issued with a ticket detailing the offence and the penalty for it.
Child Safety Rules
The only law protecting child occupants of a car are that those under twelve must travel in the rear of a car. There are no regulations on child safety seats but tell us your requirements when you book and we’ll ensure the correct seats are fitted for your arrival.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Uruguay and you must carry proof of it for the police by way of a valid certificate.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• Driving is on the right hand side of the road
• You must use dipped headlights at all times, day or night
• When driving, both hands must be on the steering wheel.
There are no specific regulations for towing; just make sure you have good visibility and that what you’re towing is securely attached.
There are very few fixed speed cameras in Uruguay but there are regular mobile speed traps. Generally, Uruguay’s roads aren’t conducive to speeding, except on the motorways so it’s a better idea to stick to the limit.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone whilst driving in Uruguay unless you have a hands free kit.
Uruguay’s main cities are often very busy, especially in summer, and you’ll find that parking isn’t easy to come by.
There is plenty of paid parking in the towns and villages but in the cities, especially near the centres you’ll find that parking is at a premium. Use the parking garages or lots to save lots of time travelling around. Many are conveniently located and they are patrolled and well lit. Roadside parking can often be in bays which are controlled by meters or parking ticket machines.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police but it’s not often that people are fined for bad parking. If you cause an obstruction however, you may well get towed!
There are no concessions for disabled drivers when it comes to parking but you’ll often get a sympathetic attendant at parking lots and garages who will do what they can to help.
Motor Way Signs
Motorway signs are green with white writing
- Give way - Ceda el paso
- Traffic lights - Semaforas
- Right of way – Prioridad
- Exit – Salida
- Danger – Peligro
- No parking - Prohibido aparcar
- Slow – Despacio
- Lane – Un carril
- City centre – Centro ciudad
- Carretera – Local Highway
- Roadworks – Obras
- Where is the nearest petrol station? – ¿Donde es la gasolinera la más cercana?
- Excuse me, I’m lost – Por favor, estoy perdido…
- Go straight on – ‘Siga todo recto’
- Turn right – ‘Toma el giro a la derecha’
- Turn left – ‘Toma el giro a la izquierda’
- Detour - Desviacion
- Road Closed – Cerrado.
- Road Open – Abierto
- Motorway – Una autopista
- One way street – Direccíon unica
- Dual Carriageway - Autovia
In Uruguay traffic lights follow the sequence set out by the Vienna Convention and so should be familiar to all. You cannot turn on a red light under any circumstances.
There are a few toll roads in Uruguay, mainly the newer motorways. Tolls are low compared to Europe and mean that you can make fast progress across this country which is bigger than it looks.
The emergency number in Uruguay is the US standard 911 for all emergency services.
What to do in an emergency
If you have a problem with your car you can call the number given to you by the car hire company or found inside the windscreen. If you’re going to drive your own car we’d suggest you research for an emergency assistance organisation before you leave home and make sure you have their number to hand.
In the event of an accident you must stop. You only need to involve the emergency services or police if there is substantial damage or someone is injured. Whilst awaiting the arrival of the police, exchange insurance details and take photographs of the scene. If you can, get details of any witnesses.
As of October 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Uruguay is 99p whilst diesel is 87p. Prices can vary between the towns and the smaller villages.