Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in El Salvador, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning El Salvador is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Major highways and thoroughfares are among the best in Central America, but road conditions throughout El Salvador are not up to U.S. standards. Even within the city of San Salvador, it is not uncommon to see missing manhole covers and large objects in the roadway marking the danger. Road travel at night is particularly dangerous outside the capital as there are few road lights and many vehicles lack adequate safety lighting or reflectors. The Embassy advises against driving outside the capital during night time or periods of low visibility. Mini-buses, regular buses, and taxis are often poorly maintained. Drivers are frequently untrained and unlicensed, and generally do not adhere to traffic rules and regulations.
Because of inconsistent enforcement of traffic laws in El Salvador, drivers must make an extraordinary effort to drive defensively. Passing on blind corners or across several lanes of traffic is commonplace. Two lane traffic circles are common in El Salvador and can be especially dangerous to navigate as it is generally understood that the traffic in the inside lane has right of way.
Although the law in El Salvador requires all parties involved in a vehicle accident to stay at the scene until the police respond, it is not unusual in minor traffic accidents for both parties to simply drive away especially if one or both drivers are uninsured. Salvadoran law requires that the driver of a vehicle that injures or kills another person must be arrested and detained until a judge can determine responsibility for the accident. This law is uniformly enforced.
Visitors to El Salvador may drive on their U.S. driver’s license for up to 30 days. After that time, a visitor is required to obtain a Salvadoran license.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the web site of El Salvador’s national tourist office and the national authority responsible for road safety. Further information on traffic and road conditions is available in Spanish from Automovil Club de El Salvador (ACES).
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, 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.