Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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Rules of Roundabouts in Portugal

Having lived in Portugal for 7 years now, I have observed that there are many unwritten rules on roundabouts in Portugal so here is my understanding.


Recently (1 January 2014) the Road Authority released a video showing how to use the four lanes (????) approaching a roundabout and where to position your vehicle through the roundabout as you enter, manoeuvre and exit the roundabout.

The main problem with the video is that it assumes you are the only vehicle on the roundabout, so if anyone has worked out how to do these manouvers yet, please post on any social media forums as no one else knows.

Having learned to drive in the UK and not Portugal I have spent years observing Portuguese drivers in order to learn the local "rules-of-the-road". Finally here are some of the rules that I think apply to driving on and around roundabouts, based on my observations of what must be Rules as I see them happening so often.

  • If you are taking the first exit (turning right) make sure you get to centre of the roundabout and then cut across all the traffic

  • If you are taking the third exit, drive all the way round in the outside lane

  • Whichever way you are turning, make sure you indicate in the opposite direction

  • If you see a lorry on a roundabout, they have right of way regardless of whether you think they do or not

  • Buses can only travel in straight lines and so will use all the lanes – and they are bigger than you !

  • You are permitted to park on a roundabout at any corner that looks like a curb no matter if you are blocking traffic or not

  • If you think you have missed your turning, you may slam your brakes on and then make your turn – you may also reverse if there are not more than 3 cars behind you. (This rule also applies to motorway sliproads.)

  • If you are approaching a roundabout and think you can get onto it before a car that is already on the roundabout, put your foot down as the car on the roundabout will probably brake.

  • If you are on the roundabout and a car is approaching from one of the entrance slips roads, they will always pull onto the roundabout without stopping using the "I-was-here-first" Rule.

  • Council workers may park on the inside of a roundabout (near the centre) and may open the vehicle doors at any time without consideration for life or limb - they do not need to erect a safety triange if they have a lawnmower, mini digger or other large equipment ( shovels, forks and rakes count as large equipment)

  • If you are parked on a roundabout and wish to set off, completely ignore all other road users and just go for it

Please feel happy to email us with other rules that appear to apply and we will add them to this article - so there is no confusion!!!

Please not that none of this email should be taken out of context and reported partially and without the express agreement of the editor of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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