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Driving in Peru

Traffic in Peru drives on the right side of the road. The speed limit is 100 kph (62 mph) on the highways and 35 kph (22 mph) in urban areas, but no one in Peru follows this, driving as fast as possible. The minimum driving age is 18 and seat belts should be worn at all times, both in the front and back of a car. You can drive for up to six months on a photo driving licence for most countries and up to a year with an International Driving Permit. Do carry your passport with you at all times when driving.

Peru has three main roads which run from north to south: the fully paved Panamericana (RN 1) which passes through the whole country; Further east is the Carretera de la Sierra (RN 3) (Highland Road), which is mostly paved and the Carretera Marginal de la Selva (RN 5) (Jungle Road). Some sections of these roads are toll roads. Joining the main North/South highways are 19 numbered East/West routes linking major urban areas. Many minor routes are unpaved and are prone to flooding in the rainy season of November to April. Landslides are also common and can block even major routes for lengthy periods.

Driving standards in Peru are poor, with stop signs and traffic lights often ignored. You should drive defensively and always expect the unexpected. Avoid driving at night if you can, as road hazards will be multiplied on poorly lit roads. Take care when passing or being overtaken by buses. Peruvian buses tend to be driven badly by tired drivers and the chance of errors is high. Also take care after rain on mountain roads which can deteriorate rapidly and may not have adequate guard rails. The coastal areas are prone to fog and you should drive ultra defensively if this is the case – other drivers may not. Local protests and street demonstration are common and often involve blocking roads . You should monitor local news and ask locals advice before attempting to pass a blockade.





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