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Tips for Expats Driving in Curitiba

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Curitiba.

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Curitiba, like many other Brazilian cities, can be a challenging experience for foreigners. The traffic can be heavy, especially during peak hours, and local drivers are known for their aggressive driving style. It’s important to be alert and cautious at all times. Also, be aware that motorcycles often weave in and out of traffic, which can be startling if you’re not used to it.

2. Car Recommendation

Compact cars are recommended for driving in Curitiba due to the city’s narrow streets and heavy traffic. They are easier to maneuver and park. However, if you plan to travel outside the city, a car with a more powerful engine might be more suitable.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in Curitiba can be difficult, especially in the city center. Most parking spaces are paid, either on the street or in parking lots. The cost can vary, but it’s generally not overly expensive. It’s advisable to use a parking app to find available spaces and compare prices.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Brazil with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for up to 180 days. After this period, you will need to obtain a Brazilian driver’s license. It’s important to always carry your IDP and your original driver’s license when driving.

5. Obtaining a Brazilian Driver’s License

To get a Brazilian driver’s license, you will need to pass a medical examination, a psychological test, and a driving test. The process can be lengthy and bureaucratic, so it’s advisable to start it as soon as possible. You will need to provide several documents, including a proof of residence and a CPF (Brazilian tax ID). It’s recommended to seek assistance from a driving school or a professional who can guide you through the process.

6. Familiarize Yourself with Local Traffic Laws

Brazilian traffic laws may differ from those in your home country. For example, it’s mandatory to always drive with your headlights on, even during the day. Also, using a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws to avoid fines and penalties.

7. Be Prepared for Random Police Checks

Police checks are common in Brazil, so always carry your driving documents with you. If you’re stopped by the police, stay calm and cooperate. If you don’t speak Portuguese, it might be helpful to have a translation app on your phone.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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