Once you’ve decided your car rental for your trip, it helps not only to know your way around, but to know a bit about the local driving laws. As a tourist to the US driving laws can vary considerably and be quite different to what you are used to.
As great as it is having the peace of mind that car rental brings, It makes sense that before getting your rented wheels on the road you have done some reading on the local laws and what is appropriate – and what is definitely not. This will make life on the road with your car rental a little easier.
Adjusting to the changes in driving laws and etiquette can make your head spin and take some time to get used to, but we’ve broken down some of the main differences for you here to make it simple:
- One which may be the most obvious is that cars are driven on the right hand side of the road. Which means that when you are turning left at a junction, you need to first look right!
- When somebody undertakes you (on the left-hand-side) in the US don’t spend your breath quietly cursing the driver – taking over on both the left and the right-hand-side is allowed – legally and perfectly acceptable.
- Drivers can quietly smile as Florida no longer requires them to get an international drivers licence for their car rental – all that is needed is the licence from their home country.
- Buses specifically for school children are very common in the US and if they stop to pick-up or drop-off, drivers are legally required to stop as well. This is to ensure the safety of the children.
You can drive again once the bus has pulled away.
- There’s no getting away from extra charges for use of some roads. There is a relatively new toll-road in the Miami-Dade county, which forms part of the Florida Turnpike, charged by an automatic, electronic collections system. Some bridges also have charges.
- In the situation that there is an emergency vehicle or car being tended to by a breakdown vehicle, drivers approaching are expected to slow down by about 20 miles per hour and move over where they can, to ensure it remains safe.
- At junctions, it can sometimes be unclear as to who has the right of way. However, unless there is a sign showing this, then the etiquette is that whoever arrives first tends to get to go first. Remember to give a signal of appreciation!
- A red light is often a signal to stop until it changes and your automatic reaction may be to stop and wait. You do need to stop, but as long as there is no traffic in either direction, you are free to go if the light is still red.
It can be overwhelming to start with but as you take your time and get to grips with driving your rental car, you can get to the enjoyable part!
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