Traffic and Road Conditions in Chile

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Chile, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States:

Right-hand turns are prohibited at red lights unless otherwise posted.

Major highways in and around Santiago collect tolls through the use of an electronic transmitter (available at ).

Secondary and mountain roads may be poorly maintained, poorly lit, and may lack guardrails.

Many drivers do not signal lane changes and rarely yield to merging traffic.

Many drivers exceed posted speed limits, do not maintain safe distances, and do not observe posted road signs.

Major arteries in Santiago may switch directions during morning and evening rush hours.

Drivers must carry sufficient Chilean pesos to pay frequent highway tolls.

Chile has modern infrastructure. Taxis and public transportation are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Avoid using unmetered taxis; if you do use an unmetered taxi, agree to a fare before embarking. To use the public bus system in Santiago you need to obtain the prepaid “Bip” card. This card can also be used when traveling on the Santiago subway.

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Chile is severely punished (“Zero Tolerance” policy) and can result in incarceration.

Visitors for fewer than 90 days can rent a car and drive with a valid U.S. license, though insurance may not be available in some forms for drivers without a Chilean or international driver’s license. Visitors to Chile for more than 90 days must have an international driver's permit and their U.S. driver's license to legally drive in Chile. An international driver's license must be obtained in the United States before traveling to Chile. The police may fine foreigners for driving without a valid international permit.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, and health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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