DRIVING IN PERU
RULES AND REGULATIONS
The best way to avoid any accidents is to know what you’re getting into first. Peruvian driving is, well, crazy. While there are delineated lanes for driving, no one adheres to them. Instead, you’ll find four cars driving side by side on a two-lane highway. These are the situations that you must prepare for. Peruvian drivers are also very aggressive—let’s say a rule of thumb is that they err on the side of aggression. Knowing this is half the battle because you can know when to pick your battles and what they will do. If you don’t also drive at times aggressively you’ll never get to where you want to go, especially in cities.
Horns are a ubiquitous sound when driving on a Peruvian city street or highway—it wouldn’t be Peru without hearing someone just randomly honking his or her horn. To drive well in Peru you need to learn how to utilize the liberal use of the horn, but within context. The horn signals everything for a driver from, “I’m passing” to “you can go” or “get the hell out of my way.” It is especially important to honk when turning a blind corner on a mountain road because large trunks and motorcycles also share these narrow passes.
Standard legal limits when driving in Costa Rica, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers are:
Unless otherwise indicated, the minimum speed on highways is 40 km/h. The speed limit varies and is posted by the road.
On highways 120 km/h
On secondary roads, the speed limit is 60 km/h, unless otherwise indicated.
In urban areas, the speed limit is 40 km/h, unless otherwise indicated.
Around school zones and in front of hospitals and clinics the speed limit is 25 km/h
This can be summed up in one word, Lima. Lima is home to 1/3 of Peru’s entire population and all those people need to get around, which means that streets are constantly clogged. While there are certain times of intense rush hour, every hour of the day in Lima you’ll find traffic. If you want to spend all your time in a car, then drive in Lima, otherwise take a cab or the express bus. If you do want to rent a car, choose to rent it when leaving Lima. You don’t want to drive the panic-attack inducing streets of Lima.
You’ll have to pay for the mandatory car insurance, which is important. You won’t want to get caught without it. Outside of that you’ll need your driver license from home and your passport at all times. If you get pulled over you won’t want to be missing either of those, especially when dealing with Peruvian police, who have been known to be corrupt and like take money from travelers.