Everyday Chile

Everything You Need to Know About Driving in Santiago This Winter

Santiago has a huge smog problem. Yes, that ugly-grey layer that blankets the city can be seen all year round. Winter seems to make the smog more noticeable and since the city, a natural bowl surrounded by mountains, the only escape from this grey layer is rain. And as we know, we are seeing less rain each year.

One of the ways Santiago is trying to curb the pollution and smog problem is by restricting the number of vehicles driving in the city on any given day during the winter months. Here is what you need to know:

Who will it affect?

The restrictions will affect registered vehicles built before September 2011, which accounts for approximately 1.9 million vehicles in Santiago. Restrictions have already begun since May 2 of this year and will extend until August 31. The restriction will be applied Monday-Friday from 7:00-21:00 within Américo Vespucio ring. Holidays will not apply. This means that if you drive a vehicle that was built before 2011, whether or not you have the green stamp or “Sello Verde”, you will not be allowed to use your vehicle during certain days of the week. Match the last number of your license plate with the calendar that we translated for you.

May Restriction Santiago

As soon as new calendar dates become available we will share that information with you but keep in mind that during these months of restrictions, each vehicle will not be able to circulate for a total of 16 days. In the case, that weather and smog conditions become worse and Santiago finds itself in an environmental emergency,  the government will apply another number for additional restrictions. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook for updates.

We’re sure you have lots of questions.

These are the ones that get most frequently asked:

What If I have a Vehicle that’s 2012 or Newer?

Catalytic cars registered from 2012 onwards are exempt from the restriction, even in case of a pre-emergence and/or environmental emergency.

What If I Don’t Have the Green Stamp or “Sello Verde”?

Vehicles and motorcycles without a green seal and that are before 2002 may not circulate within the Américo Vespucio ring, no matter what the last digit of the license plate is.

Outside the perimeter of the Américo Vespucio ring yet within the province of Santiago such as Puente Alto and San Bernardo will be restricted from Monday to Friday, except holidays, between 07:30 and 21:00 according to the last digit of the license plate of the following calendar:


What if I have a Motorcycle?

Motorists with motorcycles built before September 2010 will face restrictions. Unlike cars, they will have two digits of restriction per day to enter the Américo Vespucio ring. During the 3 months, motorists will see about 8 days that they won’t be able to circulate.  In case of Environmental Pre-emergency, the two restriction digits will be maintained. When there is an environmental emergency, the restriction will be increased to four digits.

If you have motorcycles prior to 2002, the same rules apply to you as the non-catalytic cars or those without the “Sello Verde”. You will not be allowed to enter the Américo Vespucio ring from Monday to Friday, except for holidays. In addition, outside the ring, in the province of Santiago, San Bernard, and Puente Alto, there will be a four-digit daily restriction.

What if I Drive when I am Under Restriction?

Well you little rebel, get ready to run the risk. There are 340 cameras installed throughout the city to help police track down those who drive when they are not supposed to.  Fines can reach 1.5 UTM ($ 70,458 CLP).

What if there is an Environmental Emergency and the Smog Gets Worse?

There will be even more restrictions in the case of pre-emergence and environmental emergency day:

  • If your vehicle was built after 2012: Catalytic vehicles will always be exempt from restriction, even in episodes of alert, pre-emergence, and environmental emergency.
  • If your vehicle was built before 2011 with the “Sello Verde”: You won’t face any additional restriction when there is a pre-emergence. When there is an environmental emergency, a second digit will be added, corresponding to the sequential number contemplated for the next day of the regular calendar.
  • If your vehicle doesn’t have the “Sello Verde” and was built before 2011: You will not be able to enter the Américo Vespucio ring and, additionally, four digits will be prohibited from circulating in the province of Santiago and in the districts of San Bernardo and Puente Alto.


What else would you like to know?

Drop your questions in the comments below or reach out to use on facebook. Use the hashtag #todayinchile!



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