Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Venezuela?
Venezuela is currently going through a crisis which means that a lot of staples aren't readily available. For this reason it's always a good idea to have your fuel topped up just in case.
The cities are busy but the roads are well organised and traffic flows relatively freely. In the countryside, roads become less well maintained and you may find that a 4 x 4 is useful.
Seat Belt Laws
In Venezuela, only the front seat passengers must wear seat belts. If are rear seat belts, we recommend that you wear them.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving laws in Venezuela are the same as in the UK. You must have no more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in your body. The fines for being over the limit are heavy and if you are far over the limit you may face impounding of the car and your licence and a jail term.
Must Have Documents
There are regular police checks of documents in Venezuela. Make sure that you have your driving licence (an international driving licence is not compulsory), your registration document, your insurance certificate and a copy of your passport.
The speed limits for Venezuela are as follows:
Open roads: 80 km/h
In Town: 60 km/h
Highways 120 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Venezuela. Rental car companies will insist that you are at least 21 in some cases, 23 in others. Check the restrictions before you book. In any case, drivers under 25 need to pay a young drivers’ premium.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are legal in Venezuela but we would always recommend that you stick to the speed limit for your own safety and that of others.
On the Spot Fines
If you are stopped by the police in Venezuela, you’ll need to show all of your documents as above. If you have committed an offence, you’ll be given a ticket which will detail it, the fine that applies and where to pay it. More serious offences will lead to a court case.
Child Safety Rules
In Venezuela, there are no regulations for the safety of children in cars and many car hire companies don’t offer child seating systems. Tell us your requirements when you book your hire car and we’ll ensure the correct system is fitted, keeping your family safe.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Venezuela and the police will ask for proof of it by way of a valid certificate if you are stopped.
Rules of the Road
Standard International driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• You must carry a warning triangle and a wheel block
• Pedestrians do not have right of way so if you stop for one you are likely to cause an accident or angry following drivers
• The police may ask for the chassis number so you’ll need to know where you’ll find it
There are no specific regulations for towing in Venezuela, simply ensure that what you’re towing is securely attached and that you have good visibility to the side and rear.
There are few fixed cameras in Venezuela but they are planned for more widespread introduction. Mobile speed traps operate regularly and if stopped you’ll go through the procedure detailed above.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone whilst driving in Venezuela unless you have a hands free kit.
Always park somewhere that’s very public, don’t leave valuables in the car and try to part as close to your destination as possible for crime is rife.
In the cities you’ll find plenty of paid and free parking. It’s best to take the paid parking in attended lots for security reasons. Parking costs are low and safe parking could save you a lot in terms of money, personal safety and inconvenience.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police but they will usually only intervene if you are causing an obstruction or have vastly outstayed your parking time on a road.
There are no concessions for disabled drivers in Venezuela but if you make your needs known to an attendant, they will usually do all they can to help.
Motor Way Signs
Highway signs in Venezuela are usually blue 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 Venezuela the traffic light system follows the system laid down by the Vienna Convention and should be familiar to most drivers. Often you’ll find drivers jumping a red light but don’t be tempted to imitate them.
There are no toll roads in Venezuela.
The emergency number in Venezuela is 171 for all emergency services.
What to do in an emergency
If you have a mechanical problem with your car you should phone the number given to you on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. If driving your own car, call an emergency breakdown company or the police. It helps to find a company’s details before you travel.
In the event of an accident you must stop. The police must be called and whilst waiting, you should get the details of the other drivers involved and any witnesses. Don’t move the cars unless they are causing a danger to other traffic. The police will issue a report for your insurers or car hire company.
As of October 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Venezuela is 5.5p a litre – the cheapest in the world whilst diesel is 3.2p a litre. Prices are the same throughout the country, set by the government.