All You Need to Know About Puerto Rico’s Highways

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Puerto Rico’s Highways
Staying safe on the highway
Wrapping up


Puerto Rico’s Highways

Puerto Rico has several highways as you might expect and there are both similarities and differences between them and the highways in the United States. They help motorists across the island navigate between the northern coast and the southern coast and to all points in between. In Puerto Rico, the highways all have speed limits that fall between fifty and sixty-five miles per hour which is pretty similar to some US states such as New York.

True highways in Puerto Rico breakdown three ways:

  • Expressways – These highways allow for mostly unimpeded access by traffic. “Unimpeded access” means there are no traffic lights, railroad crossings, tolls or other things that routinely slow/stop traffic.
  • Freeways – These highways allow for completely unimpeded access by traffic.
  • Autopistas (toll roads) – These highways are freeways that have unimpeded access with the exception of tolls. Thus, they cannot be considered “freeways.”

The following is a list of all major highways in Puerto Rico:

  • Expreso Kennedy
  • Roberto Sánchez Vilella
  • Expreso Río Hondo
  • Baldorioty de Castro
  • Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Expreso Las Américas
  • Expreso Rafael Martínez Nadal
  • Autopista José de Diego
  • Expreso Román Baldorioty de Castro
  • Expreso Cruz Ortiz Stella
  • Autopista Luis A. Ferré
  • Autopista Dr. José Celso Barbosa
  • Avenida Dionisio Casillas
  • Autopista Roberto Sánchez Vilella
  • Expreso El Caño


Staying safe on the highway

Highway driving is always more dangerous than driving on residential streets because of the increased speed limits and lack of traffic lights and stop signs. However, in Puerto Rico driving on the highway can be even more dangerous than normal. This is primarily because traffic enforcement by police in Puerto Rico is much more lenient than it is in the United States or most other places. Police in Puerto Rico often do not pull drivers over for any minor offenses and will even let some more major offenses slide as well. For example, much fewer people use their signals, especially changing lanes and almost none of them will end up being pulled over for it. Speeding is also much more prevalent in Puerto Rico.

So, you will want to drive on Puerto Rico’s highways with as much focus and caution as possible. You are more likely to have another driver change lanes in front of you without notice and a higher number of drivers will be traveling above the posted speed limit.

A few ways you can stay safe while driving on a highway in Puerto Rico are:

  • Stay out of the left lane – Much like in the United States, the furthest left lane is reserved for vehicles that are constantly passing vehicles in the lane to the right of it. This is what makes it the “fast lane.” To avoid a speeding motorist tailgating you, stay in the middle or right lanes.
  • Take extreme caution when switching lanes – Be sure that you always to a clear but quick look to check your blind spot before you change lanes. Always put your corresponding signal on for at least three seconds prior to changing your lane on a Puerto Rican highway.
  • Leave a lot of space in front of you – As we mentioned, many motorists in Puerto Rico can suddenly change lanes without warning or signaling. If you leave enough space between you and the car in front of you, this will minimize the impact when someone does this.
  • Stay focused but cool – Always pay full attention to driving in Puerto Rico. Do not use your phone or let yourself become otherwise distracted. If someone else near you is driving aggressively or recklessly, remain calm and do your best to distance yourself.


Wrapping up

If you find yourself driving in Puerto Rico for more than a couple of days, you will certainly end up driving on the highways there. Similar to the United States, the highways almost always have no traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrian crossings or anything else that routinely stops traffic for certain intervals. These highways may have tolls though. Although the posted speed limits in Puerto Rico are quite moderate in comparison to other countries, many drivers disobey them and drive much faster. With considerably more lax traffic enforcement, drivers in Puerto Rico can also do things like change lanes without signaling. Always drive on Puerto Rico’s highways with complete focus and a high level of caution.

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