Safety equipment required to drive in Portugal
In Portugal, the vehicle you drive must have at least one warning triangle and one high-visibility safety vest. Use both if vehicle is immobilised in the road.
The law only calls for one safety vest to be in the vehicle. The vest is usually yellow/orange in colour and reflective (high visibility). Typically in a transparent plastic wrapper inside the glove compartment. It is simply much better if the vehicle has at least 2 vests (driver plus one passenger) and preferably 4 vests (driver plus three passengers). The vests are not expensive to buy.
Anyone leaving the vehicle (driver or passengers) that is immobilised in the road should immediately put on a safety vest. Or better still, try to put it on before exiting the vehicle. This is good general advice - not just in the case of an accident. If your vehicle has safety vests, use them immediately if your vehicle is stationary and obstructing other vehicles using the road. If the police arrive, the first thing they are going to do is ensure that everyone is using the vests.
Usually found in a small kit in the boot of the car. Has supporting stand (legs) to enable the sign to be placed upright in the road. Must be used if the vehicle is immobile (broken down or involved in an accident). The triangle must be put at least 30 meters (about 30 paces for an adult) behind the vehicle so that it is clearly visible to a distance of at least 100 meters beyond the sign. The law is not clear exactly where the sign should be placed. It must certainly be in the roadway, not on the pavement. It can be close to the pavement, not necessarily in the middle of the road. The important thing is that the sign is visible.
The person placing the warning triangle must be wearing a safety vest.
Some vehicles are exempt from carrying a vest and warning triangle. These are agricultural vehicles, 2-wheeled or 3-wheeled motorcycles and 4-wheeled motorcycles (quad bikes) that do not have a sidecar.
The important thing to remember is that you are trying to avoid an accident if your vehicle is unexpectedly immobilised in the middle of the road. That is, another vehicle approaching from behind crashes into your parked vehicle or you or your passengers. Use safety vests immediately - it alerts oncoming traffic to potential danger. Deploy the warning triangle immediately. If your passengers exit the vehicle, have them move away from possible danger. That is, walk a short distance away from your vehicle along the line of travel. If you are travelling with a pet dog, immediately put the dog on a leash so that it does not run out into the road.
If your vehicle is immobile because it has been involved in an accident, then there are extra issues. Call the emergency number (112) and prioritise the treatment of anyone who is injured. See more details under the accidents section.
The fine for not having the required equipment in your vehicle is €60-€300. The fine for not using the equipment when your vehicle is immobilised is €120-€600.