Visitors must have an international driver's permit in order to drive legally in Chile. Although car rental firms may rent to customers with most countries driver's license, the police have detained several persons for lengthy periods for driving without a valid international permit.
When you drive in Chile always bring with you, your international driving license as well as the license from your home country along with your passport and the vehicle registration documents related to the car you are driving.
Smoking, using a cellular phone or a Walkman is prohibited for the driver. Driving under the effects of alcohol is a severe offense for which you could be fined or arrested depending on the level of alcohol intoxication. Speeding is also punishable. The maximum speed, unless otherwise stated, is 120 km/h (75 mph) on highways and 70 km/h (45 mph) in urban areas.
If the weather is bad in Santiago, you may not be permitted to drive your car in the city. Check the newspaper or the television news for vehicular restriction. The government selects numbers the day before those numbers will be subject to restrictions. The numbers corresponds with the last digit of your license plate.
In general Chilean roads are quite good. There are, however, many expensive tolls. If you intend to drive in Patagonia, the best alternative is to rent a pick up because of higher clearance. A 4x4 is even better.
There are many agencies that rent cars on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly bases. They generally require the driver to be over 21 years of age, have a valid driving license, and a major credit card as a guarantee.