Roundabouts in Portugal
Portugal roundabouts law is different! Special rules to enter / exit a roundabout, when you must give way. Often 30 km/hour speed limit.
To exit a roundabout (rotunda) in Portugal
You move into the right-hand lane to take the exit, but only after passing preceding exits. You stay on an inside lane until you approach the exit you want to take, then only move into the outside lane to actually take the exit. If you are in the outside lane and reach an exit, you must take the exit.
Put another way, in Portugal the inside lane has priority, not the outside lane. If you are in the outside lane and pass an exit then another vehicle inside you can cut across you to take the exit. This is the most common cause or accidents on roundabouts in Portugal.
There is an exception to this rule. Slow-moving traffic (horse-drawn carts, bicycles, heavy goods vehicles...) may drive in the outside lane and pass an exit, but must still give way to other vehicles trying to take the exit. This can be a difficult situation - drive carefully !
To enter a roundabout in Portugal
you give way to traffic already on the roundabout - approaching from the left. Be careful with vehicles moving from inside lane to outside lane on the roundabout as you prepare to enter the roundabout.
Between €60 and €300 for violating traffic laws on roundabouts.
The law in Portugal for driving on roundabouts is not like the law in many other countries:
- When you enter a roundabout, always give way to traffic already on the roundabout (approaching from the left).
- If the roundabout only has one lane, things are simple. Enter the roundabout then take the exit you want to.
- For roundabouts with more than one lane:
- If you want to take the first exit from a roundabout, keep to the right-hand lane as you approach the roundabout. Otherwise move to the left-hand lane as you approach the roundabout then move to an inside lane on the roundabout.
- Stay on an inside lane on the roundabout until you approach the exit you want to take. Then move to the outside lane and take the exit.
- You are breaking the law if you are on an outside lane on a roundabout and pass an exit without taking it.
- Be very careful with slow-moving traffic (for example, a heavy goods vehicle) driving on the outside lane of a roundabout. If you are on an inside lane and there is any doubt about taking an exit, simply go round the roundabout again.
- You may see signs reducing speed limits as you approach a roundabout. For example, from 50 km/h to 30 km/h. Respect those reduced speeds absolutely.
- The law in Portugal governing exit from roundabouts changed in 2013. On balance, this was probably not a good change and easily confuses foreign drivers. The police are active in enforcing this law here and will frequently park on or near roundabouts issuing fines to drivers who do not use a roundabout correctly.
- Whatever the speed limit is, watch other drivers either side of you carefully on a roundabout. They may cross your path - from your left or your right - unexpectedly.