The good, the bad and the useful information about driving on Motorways in Portugal.
With a very extensive program of rebuilding and creating roads over recent years, most roads in Portugal are quite good condition, there are of course exception when you get into the rural areas. The accident rate in Portugal has reduced each year since 2000. From 2000-2008 the number of fatal accidents fell by 47% and is still going down, however general driving skills and road awareness are below what a UK driver would be used to, so take care when driving but mostly be aware of other drivers.
Driving on motorways in Portugal is a very different experience to the UK. Here are some examples;
Something you need to know about driving on the motorways, if you are new to Portugal and do not have a toll ED (electronic device) fitted in your vehicle.
At the toll booths on the Motorways you will always see a Green lane (Via Verde) DO NOT USE THIS LANE. You must collect a ticket at the first booth then when you come off the motorway you need to pay the person in the booth, you can use cash and Multibanco cards or Portuguese Bank credit cards. If you use a non Portuguese credit/debit card you will be charged for using it.
If you do go through the Via Verde without realising then you will have to pay the toll for the whole motorway from the start, no matter where you got on, this can be up to 40€ and you will have to pay when you get to the exit booth, if you miss the exit payment you will be sent a large fine either via your car hire company or via UK DVLA if you are in your own car. If you go through a Via Verde lane by accident then pull over straight after the toll booths on the right hand side, there is usually parking, and you can usually get someone’s attention to explain you have either not picked up the ticket or not paid.
On a lighter note this is an excellent blog from Silver Coast Life about drivers in Portugal...please read it, you will laugh lots.
Hey Portugal wishes all our readers safe driving!