Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

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gringonlima
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Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby gringonlima » Fri May 17, 2013 3:40 pm

I have been coming to Lima for a couple of years and have been in a "LDR" that past several months. I'm ready to retire and move to Lima. I know buses and taxis are cheap, but I'm typical American and need my car and the independence it affords. One of my first actions after moving will be to buy a car.

I have searched the site and have not found much about the local driving regulations. In particular, those that might be unique to Peru and/or that are especially enforced or that drivers must be careful about.

Please note, I am not asking about the general "craziness" of driving in Peru, but rather the actual rules and regulations that one needs to be careful to observe. For example, I've been told that it is required to turn headlights on when on a highway and that the rule is enforced. That is one that I would have gotten caught on if not told about it.

Any tips? or can anyone point me to a site that summarizes things nicely? My search has not been helpful, since my Spanish is still very weak.


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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby argidd » Fri May 17, 2013 5:09 pm

HI Gringonlima,

I'm not sure if the other expats can help you with the English info, but I can tell you when you go into the Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones' page http://www.mtc.gob.pe/portal/inicio.html you get a pop-up with various options like the norm, licence norms, etc. Perhaps if you use Google Chrome you can use the automatic translator?

All the best is your move.
Regards,

Argidd
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby bobg » Fri May 17, 2013 8:50 pm

THERE ARE NONE ! AND IF BY CHANCE THERE MIGHT BE ONE HIDING, THERE NOT IN FORCED. IV'E BEEN HERE SINCE 2005 HAVEN'T SEEN A HANDFUL OF TICKETS BEING GIVEN. BY THE WAY, I TO AM RETIRING TO THE GOOD OLE USA, THERE HAVE BEEN TO MANY CHANGES HERE NOT LIKE IT USED TO BE, WISH YOU LUCK.......
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby sunflower » Fri May 17, 2013 8:51 pm

The Reglamento Nacional de Transito can be found here http://www.seguridadidl.org.pe/normas/r ... ansito.pdf
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby richorozco » Sat May 18, 2013 9:28 am

The only laws you really need to know are the ones that will force you to get a fine. That is, headlights on when driving in the Panamericana Sur, not blowing red lights in when in Callao, not speeding in el Callao. These are enforced because there are red kight cameras, speed cameras, and cameras.

Otherwise, 20 soles gets you out of almost anything.

If you follow rules, you will probably cause an accident or you be at fault since the taxi drivers, bus drivers, etc. are used to short cuts and cutting you off to get from A to B quicker.

I am renting a car in Lima/Miraflores and it is like playing a video game, unfortunately. The rule is that you cut them off and speed quicker than the others so that they can not react quick enough and get a chance to scare you or cut you off.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby adrian Thorne » Sat May 18, 2013 12:54 pm

The information you are getting is rubbish, from people who do not drive and advertise the fact. The laws are very similar to the states, but you need to be aware of subtle changes, such as indicators when taking a sharp bend in the road, Head lights on all the time when on a highway, pedestrians have the right of way especially as the crossing points are on the corner of a junction and unmarked arears of restrictions.. The best advice I can give after nearly ten years of driving in Peru is to drive as you were trained! Let the cowboys go and kill themselves if that is their dream, but don´t join the club.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby alan » Sat May 18, 2013 3:21 pm

Great question. One rule that is different from my province in Canada is that there is no right turn allowed at a red light.

There is another area which is not necessarily the rules themselves, but what people generally THINK to be the rules. I am not talking about "craziness" but rather general operating practice. One example is the different interpretations of what "flashing red" and "flashing yellow" means at an intersection. I have found drivers often pass through the flashing red, but stop for the flashing yellow.

Another area is the rules governing car ownership. If you have tinted windows, you need a special permit; all owners are required by law to insure their car with a SOAT policy; and if your car is more than three years old, you need to have it tested for safety and emissions.

Another difference is the frequency of arbitrary pull-overs. You don´t have to be doing anything wrong at all in order to be pulled off to the side of the road. I think this is a leftover from the times of terrorism, but which has unfortunately turned into a fishing expedition for bribe hungry cops. Best to have all your papers in order. Knowing that you are not contributing to the corruption of the system can bring a lot of personal satisfaction.

Good luck.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby bobg » Sat May 18, 2013 3:58 pm

ADRIAN I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU BEEN SMOKEN, BUT YOUR ADVISE IS RUBBISH ! YOU STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS AND MOST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO IS 4 OR 5 AROUND A LEFT TURN COMMON IN THE US?
OR RIGHT LANE. LEFT TURN HIGH ON THE TO DO LIST ? JUST DRIVE LIKE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE IT'S A CHAOTIC EXERCISE IN FRUSTRATION ................
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby sunflower » Sat May 18, 2013 5:12 pm

@bobg
WHY ARE YOU SHOOTING AT US ALL THE TIME??? IT'S REALLY ANNOYING.

adrian Thorne wrote:... pedestrians have the right of way especially as the crossing points are on the corner of a junction ...


This might be the law. But have you ever been a pedestrian in Lima?
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby vivaperusurf » Sat May 18, 2013 6:23 pm

Ill relate some of my driving experiences...

Pay attention to the directions of the roads, they paint arrows and sometimes it is easy to get going contra on a one way road. Most folks will let you know but if not then the police will happily let you know for a small fee.

One might ask how does this happen? Well when you go to places you are not familiar with and start asking directions from people who dont know any better, you can end up like that. If you need to ask directions, always best to ask a taxi or a few people just to confirm.

Its ok to speed but just go with traffic. If you are driving like a madman calling attention to yourself they wil pull you over. This is also easily resolved with a small donation to the officer.

Always wear a seatbelt, always have your lights on, but dont forget to turn em off! Its not always easy to find folks who can help, and they usually want some money.

Be very careful about what you have in your car, never open the windows in bad areas, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Best to blow the horn going around a blind turn, etc. At night also good to flash your lights.

If you happen to get caught in the plaza de armas on sunday while they ar doing their ceremony, just wait there. I once went to ask permission to turn around, contra, to leave the plaza. Well this gu didnt have enoug authority and another officer pulled me over and was screaming at me, of course a donation took care of it.

Ask about peajes, if there is gas, etc. Be sure to carry enough money and maybe a spare tank. Sometimes they have peajes....tolls....and just make sure to carry enough money for gas,tolls, and unofficial tolls from police.

Watch for rocks or debris in the road.

Best to always drive defensively but be agressive. Does that make any sense? It did for me.

Be very careful of taxis stopping randomly in unexpected spots. Or not stopping at intesections, or making turns without notice. Had some cloooose calls there.

When entering traffic circles...use caution! There is a right of way, but seldom is it respected.

There can be unpainted large speed bumps. Pay very close attention to the road, brake lights, signs etc.

In rural areas dont always expect the bridge to be there. Driving at night be extra careful of this!

While night driving you can expect to run into all types of vehicles without lights!

In general be as tranquilo as possible, and be patient too.

Watch for people passing in oncoming lanes, sometimes on hills and curves this can be frigtening.

Ok sorry for the long post:-) be safe and gook luck!
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby chi chi » Sat May 18, 2013 6:27 pm

adrian Thorne wrote: The best advice I can give after nearly ten years of driving in Peru is to drive as you were trained! Let the cowboys go and kill themselves if that is their dream, but don´t join the club.


Fair play to you. I stick to the rules too. I am never in a hurry as I leave plenty of time when I have to go somewhere but sticking to the rules isn't always safe.

Before driving through a green traffic light, I always slow down as so many idiots that come from the other direction drive through the red.
Before stopping at a red light, I look behind me if nobody is driving to close. Sometimes a car was tailgating me so I had to drive through the red light.

Stopping in Lima at a red light (especially at night) is risky as you might get car or bikejacked.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby fanning » Sat May 18, 2013 10:37 pm

It is basically very simple. Everybody who drives in front of you has the preference, and everybody behind you gives you preference. Following that rule and the most chaotic driving situations are simple legsaw puzzles following this simple rule.
If a car passes you from the right or left and is in front of you he has the 'right' to cut your corner and even make a right to left turn, while you are just driving straight.
But for some reason you don't see the aggressiveness as seen in the 'road rage' videos on Youtube in Russia, as Peruvians follow and respect this simple rule.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby adrian Thorne » Sat May 18, 2013 10:46 pm

bobg wrote:ADRIAN I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU BEEN SMOKEN, BUT YOUR ADVISE IS RUBBISH ! YOU STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS AND MOST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO IS 4 OR 5 AROUND A LEFT TURN COMMON IN THE US?
OR RIGHT LANE. LEFT TURN HIGH ON THE TO DO LIST ? JUST DRIVE LIKE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE IT'S A CHAOTIC EXERCISE IN FRUSTRATION ................


bobg I am sure you must be an experienced driver of many years like myself and you would never encourage people to kill themselves on the roads. I am not suggesting you stop and give way to pedestrians, but you injure somebody on the road, you are automatically the guilty party, whoever is at fault.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby gringonlima » Sun May 19, 2013 11:01 am

Thank you for all the quick responses. You have been very helpful and have alleviated some of my concerns. I really appreciated gaining from the experiences of those of you who have been here for a few years and have driven extensively.

One thing that has not been mentioned, and I really did not ask specifically is parking.

Can one pretty much park on any street that is not marked or posted as no parking?

I've noticed on some streets there are people that put stickers on windows and collect a fee. Are these official? Are the fees set or arbitrary?

Are parking lots a good choice? Are they safe?

I've read that car thefts are very common in Lima. Should I be worried about parking on the street? (There will be some neighborhoods that will be obvious to avoid, and I'm not likely to be driving in them, anyway.)

I will buy a new car with a factory alarm, but I'm not sure they are really effective. Would something like a Club steering wheel lock be good to get?
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby bobg » Sun May 19, 2013 11:53 am

Adrian ; that might be a good rule of thumb to follow, I have some very close relatives who hit and killed one of two people she hit on the pan american sur, of course it was a awful thing to happen they were two older women crossing the highway . there families tried to sue (?) but it didn't happen you can not sue for illegal activity of course my cousin payed for medical bills. People are hesitant to do something they don't normally do by stopping for them to cross unless at a light( which pedestrians will cross at any red or green) they are confused as are the other drivers around you. You have to drive like you have the eyes of a fly.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby bobg » Sun May 19, 2013 12:08 pm

gringonlima; The answer to all is generally yes those stickers are put on by the municipality and are legal they are intended to stop the street people from charging you to watch your car.try not to park on the street overnight, I think alarms only annoy your neighbors , they next best thing is to instal a couple of devices on the car that will not let the car start , and if they get it started there is a thing that will turn off the car in a few feet, also you can get a device that as long as the car is running and some one opens the door to pull you out it will be disabled.
As for a new car buy chinese there usually not desirable to be stolen.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby panman » Sun May 19, 2013 12:38 pm

bobg wrote:As for a new car buy chinese there usually not desirable to be stolen.


That's the most ridiculous piece of advice I've ever read.
How about buy something decent and make sure it's fully insured.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby rubble » Sun May 19, 2013 1:11 pm

"...but you injure somebody on the road, you are automatically the guilty party, whoever is at fault."

Speaking from experience, this is not the case. Anyone not crossing on an oficial crossing is at fault NOT the driver.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby chi chi » Sun May 19, 2013 4:43 pm

gringonlima wrote:
One thing that has not been mentioned, and I really did not ask specifically is parking.

Can one pretty much park on any street that is not marked or posted as no parking?

I've noticed on some streets there are people that put stickers on windows and collect a fee. Are these official? Are the fees set or arbitrary?

Are parking lots a good choice? Are they safe?

I've read that car thefts are very common in Lima. Should I be worried about parking on the street? (There will be some neighborhoods that will be obvious to avoid, and I'm not likely to be driving in them, anyway.)

I will buy a new car with a factory alarm, but I'm not sure they are really effective. Would something like a Club steering wheel lock be good to get?


Nobody, will do anything if your caralarms sounds. Nobody is going to risk their life for your car.
And those steering wheel locks can be removed in minutes. (A professional removes it in a few seconds).

Don't interfere if you see someone stealing or breaking in to your car. You will likely get stabbed with a screwdriver.

Drugaddicts (fumones) will approach you when you park your car and offer to look after your car if you give them a tip. Best things is to pay them. Off course, they won't look after your car but if you don't pay them you might find your car scratched when you come back or parts might be removed or in the worst case, your car might be gone.

There are guarded parking lots but they aren't 100% safe either.

Keep doors locked and windows closed when driving and put valuables out of sight. It's common to smash a carwindow at traffic lights to grab a handbag.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby bobg » Sun May 19, 2013 7:29 pm

panman............. first of all you have to have insurance, second you need a humor pill what country are you from? have you heard of tongue in cheek humor ? lighten up besides it's
not that far off...................... :D
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby panman » Sun May 19, 2013 7:39 pm

bobg wrote:panman............. first of all you have to have insurance, second you need a humor pill what country are you from? have you heard of tongue in cheek humor ? lighten up besides it's
not that far off...................... :D

Thank god for that. For a moment I thought you were serious.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby metal moth » Mon May 20, 2013 11:20 am

I'm an American born without the driving gene.
Absolutely hate it.
I'd much rather take a bus, train or plane.

I have great admiration for those bus/combi drivers.
Must be a lot of stress trolling those congested streets and never knowing what danger lurks around the next corner.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby panman » Mon May 20, 2013 11:48 am

metal moth wrote:I'm an American born without the driving gene.
Absolutely hate it.
I'd much rather take a bus, train or plane.

I have great admiration for those bus/combi drivers.
Must be a lot of stress trolling those congested streets and never knowing what danger lurks around the next corner.

I share the same admiration as a passenger, but that turns to absolute hatred when I'm the one behind the wheel.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby caliguy » Mon May 20, 2013 3:58 pm

i like my independence too. i dont like to rely on buses and taxis because you are limited on where you can go. i own my car here in Lima and drive it often. obviously, the worst part of driving is in the city. if you abide by all the rules and traffic signs you will stand out like a sore thumb, not to mention getting honked at, yelled at and cut off, and probably getting pulled to the side of the road by the police! people will take advantage of your driving etiquette. i consider myself a very good driver in the U.S. but that all changed when driving in Lima. my suggestion is to not drive like all the other crazies, but somewhere in the middle between crazy and sane :D
every place has it's own spirit. you just need to tune into it.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby panman » Mon May 20, 2013 6:58 pm

Driving in Lima definitely requires a subtle blend of skill and lunacy.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby oliver.polden » Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:56 am

I realise this is an old thread but thought it's important to draw attention to the laws around having your headlights on.

I personally do not believe it is a legal requirement to use your headlights. I believe it is a con made up by car rental companies and the police.

I too have experienced this con. You're told by the car rental company to keep your headlights on. You get pulled over and while you're looking away, getting the ID the police ask for, they turn your lights off. I was a passenger to quite a feisty lady to almost shouted at them saying she had the lights on and that they turned them off. The policeman looked a bit confused for a second and then just said we could go on.

I think all this stuff posted online is by people that don't actually know the law, unwittingly posting what they have been told by car rental companies.

Think about it, why would you need your headlights on? Is it so the police can easily spot you? Why would YOU, of all the people have been pulled over?

Now I did have a Peruvian girlfriend who I could have asked but unfortunately we don't talk any more. I tried to find some credible documents around this law but I couldn't, either I couldn't find the documents, or this is not a law to be found! I do have pictures and videos of my time in Peru but I think all the ones with cars are at night so that wouldn't help. Instead I just did a quick Google and you'll find that NO cars have their headlights on, plus I don't remember my girlfriend turning on the lights.

So I believe this is how it goes. This is not a law in my opinion. It is a ruse created by collusion of police and car rental companies. The car rental companies get a pay off by police for telling foreigners to keep their headlights on and have ID with them. The police can easily spot the foreigners because they have their headlights on and pull you over. They ask for your ID and while doing that they reach in, turn your lights off and then tell you that you have been driving with your lights off and give you a fine that you "must" pay on the spot.

I don't know for sure that I'm correct so I would urge you to check for yourself. Look at other drivers, do they have their lights on? Does the car rental company have some sort of official rules book that they can point to this rule?
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby alan » Fri Dec 18, 2020 8:43 am

Well, this post is a blast from the past.

I've never heard about the scam you mention, or the law about keeping your lights on while in the city. That said, there IS a law that obliges you to have your lights on when you are driving on the highway. I´ve been pulled over for this infringement a couple times. While they can fine you for this, I think most people consider that an abuse --- but, the pull-over gives the police the opportunity to ask for documents (SOAT, license, registration and mechanical revision). If those are out-of-date, that is a more serious offence. The less ethical police sometimes use this as an opportunity for a shakedown.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby 69roadrunner » Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:43 am

I think you got scammed, too. There is no such law 'obliged to keep your headlights on' in the US.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby gerard » Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:07 pm

Question 162 of the licence test simulator (http://portal.mtc.gob.pe/transportes/terrestre/licencias/documentos/licencias/CLASE_A_CATEGOR%C3%8DA_I%20-%20NUEVO.pdf reads:

El uso de la luz ___________ es obligatorio en __________ , debiendo cambiar por luz ____________ momentos previos al cruce con otro vehículo que circule en sentido contrario.

and gives the answer as Alta - carretereras - baja.

This translates to The use of the high beam is mandatory on highways, having to change to low beam moments before crossing with another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby eugene.in.peru » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:22 am

I've been driving with an international license for 6 months, but then I leave Peru and re-enter, so is my international license valid again?

Now from purely economics standpoint, keeping ethics out of this, is it better to buy my license and is it actually entered in the computer? or do i try to do the whole song and dance of passing the tests? I've been driving for 25 years, with US license so the novelty of passing the tests for it wore off but is it really the best route if I intend to be driving long distances in Peru?
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Re: Help with Peru Driving Laws/Information

Postby alan » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:58 am

eugene.in.peru wrote:I've been driving with an international license for 6 months, but then I leave Peru and re-enter, so is my international license valid again?

Now from purely economics standpoint, keeping ethics out of this, is it better to buy my license and is it actually entered in the computer? or do i try to do the whole song and dance of passing the tests? I've been driving for 25 years, with US license so the novelty of passing the tests for it wore off but is it really the best route if I intend to be driving long distances in Peru?


Hopefully the answer to the first question will make the second answer unnecessary. Your international drivers permit is not a license per-se, but a document that serves as proof (in Spanish) that your home license is valid. That said, the international permit has an expiry date (they are valid for one year) so keep an eye on that, but again, the function of this permit is to validate your home license, not to replace it. It is a good idea to have it handy, especially if you are traveling outside of Lima where police might not have experience dealing with foreigners.

Since you are coming in for more than 6 months the same calendar year, I am going to assume you have a carné. I read once that once you have a carné, your obligation is to get a national driver's license, but if this is the case, I've never seen it enforced.

Good luck.

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