Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Rent a Car Chile | 0 comments

Driving in Chile: Guide and Safety Tips

Chile is a unique country. On the world map, it appears like a strip of land devoid of nothing substantial. However, perception can be deceiving. Chile as a country is blessed with amazing attractions, diversity, landscapes, Volcanoes, beaches, rainforests, and hot deserts. There has never been a better time to visit Chile than now. Chile’s economy is booming, and is currently one of the bullish economies in the world. There are many places to explore in this South American country, and none beat doing this by car. Luckily, car rental business is well established here, you only need to select a suitable car depending on what region you intend to visit as Chile topography is diverse. If you plan to drive around the city and its environs, a salon car is recommended, if you plan to carry out an exploration, a 4×4 car is the most suitable one to have.

Driving requirements

Driving is on the right hand while overtaking is one the left, same as when driving in USA. You must always give way for vehicles on the right. Chilean drivers are well behaved on the road, and courteous. That said; make sure that you adhere to all traffic regulation such as stopping when you see red lights and not using a mobile phone while driving.

Chilean traffic police are very stringent in implementing these rules, and trying to offer them bribes will only land you in more trouble. Majority of Chilean roads are impressive although some sections are in need of repair following the devastating earthquake of 2010.

If you are in town, it is advisable not to drive during the rush hour time of 7am to 9am and 5pm to 8pm. At this time, the traffic is chaotic and you can find yourself in an awkward situation especially if you are driving skills are not refined or you do not have experience driving during rush hour.

If you are in doubt of the right route, contact the Automobile club of Chile for a copy of a detailed road map in Chile. You reach them using the following number: (2) 431 1000 or by visiting there website on

Please note that a 20% tax is levied on each car hired. Check our booking engine below to compare prices among top local providers and get the cheapest quote to rent a car in Chile.

Minimum driving age

The legal driving age is 18 years of age. However, most rental companies only hire to drivers who are at least 21 years of age with at least one-year driving experience.

Important documents required

The following are some important documents a foreign driver should have: international drivers license, car rental documents, insurance documents, and passport. If in doubt of the required documents, seek advice from your preferred rental company.

What to incase of an accident

In the unfortunate case of a road accident, you are supposed to notify the police immediately. If there are any injuries, call the ambulance. Use the following numbers: Police: 133 and ambulance: 132, the fire department: 131.

Safety belt requirements

All passengers and the driver must wear safety belts at all times. If you are travelling with children, special seats should be used. Children less than eight years are not allowed to sit in front seats. This rule is strictly enforced by the police.

Motor way signs

The official language used in Spain is Spanish and as such, all signs are marked in Spanish. They differ from those used in the United States, and United Kingdom, but interpreting them should not be difficult for an experienced driver. It will help if you learn some bit of Spanish.

Alcohol limit

The legal alcohol limit is 0.05%. That said, it is advisable not to drink and drive for obvious reasons.

Fuel cost

Fuel is relatively cheaper in Chile compared to Europe. The current price of unleaded petrol is €1.3 while that of Diesel is €0.96. Please not that fuel prices can change without warning.

Speed limits

Speed limits vary depending on the location and type of road as follows: Two-lane highway: 120km/hr, urban areas: 60km/hr. During bad weather, these speed limits are lowered.

Toll Roads

Chile has few toll roads. Most are concentrated in Santiago, the capital city. Before leaving the car hire premise, ask for clarification on toll roads to prevent surprises.

Important things to have

Make sure you have the following with you in your car: a warning triangle, fire extinguisher, fluorescent safety jacket, and a first aid kit.

Useful phrases

Spanish English
Avenida Avenue
Peajes Tolls
Rutas Nacionales Highways
Carabineros Policemen
Salida Exit



Finding parking space is relatively easy outside big cities like Santiago. Many parking spaces are free. You only need to adhere to the rules of proper planning to be safe, and avoid inconveniences to other road users.

Additional information

1. The best time to visit Chile is during Summer especially if you are planning to explore the interior of the country
2. Learning a little Spanish will help you in dealing with the locals
3. Crime is a problem in big cities and you should exercise more vigilance.

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Mar 14, 2013 by Alejandro

Gracias por esta guia, si bien es en ingles me ha servido mucho, y los precios de aluiler de autos buenisimos!

Well done.

5.0 5.0 1 1 Gracias por esta guia, si bien es en ingles me ha servido mucho, y los precios de aluiler de autos buenisimos!Well done. Driving in Chile: Guide and Safety Tips