Tips for Car Rentals and Driving in USA


Tips for Driving Safe in USA

Driving across different types of streets in United States is a completely different experience in itself. Having a car by your side is one of the prime necessities of exploring a country as vast as USA. Since driving rules vary across all states in USA, all travelers need to be extra careful while traveling from one state to another here. If you are traveling to any particular state in the country, it is best to gather all information regarding driving rules and regulations in that particular state. Both business as well as leisure travelers will find it easier to drive around on their own rather than relying on public transport here. The below driving tips and rules will certainly be of help on your next trip to the United States.

  • Driver’s age limit: The driver should be at least 21 years of age. However, age limit may slightly vary based on the car rental company as well as the state in which you are driving. At some locations, there are limitations set on the maximum age of drivers as well. In these cases, extra surcharges are to be paid by drivers.
  • Driving License: All drivers in the United States are required to carry full- valid licenses for minimum 1 year to be able to drive around. Holders of Australian driving licenses are required to submit their International Driving Permits as well.
  • Speed limits: You will find speed mentioned as well as measured in mph i.e. miles per hour. The maximum speed limit in most of the states is 65- 70 mph. It is also very important to keep a check on the road signs as speed limits vary across different states. The use of radars makes sure that all speed limits and regulations are followed and hefty fines are imposed on all defaulters.
Tips for Driving Safe in USA
  • Child safety: Child safety rules also vary from one state to another in the US. Appropriate restraints are compulsory for all children under the age of 6 years. Children under the age of 16 years have to wear a seat belt and they can only be seated in the back seat. The maximum age up to which restraints are compulsory may vary across different states.
  • Drunken driving: In majority of the states, the permitted limit of alcohol in the blood while driving is 0.08 mg per 100 ml of blood. The allowable amount of alcohol varies across all states and hence it is better to do not drink and drive at all.
  • Tolls: Tolls are payable across several roads and bridges in the United States. Majority of toll roads have now implemented Electronic Toll Collection Points. Under this, all drivers have to affix a RFID tag on their car’s windscreen. On passing any toll gate, the RF tag reader will be able to read the information from approximately 5 meters away and the amount will automatically get deducted from the driver’s debit card.

Driving Rules and Laws in USA

  • All vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road.
  • Each and every occupant in the vehicle must wear seat belts.
  • All vehicles have to pass others on the left hand side of the road.
  • The use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited and the use of hands- free systems are highly appreciated.
  • Use of indicator lights is compulsory while turning.
  • You can take right turns only at the signed red signal lights after stopping. If it is not permitted, then you cannot take right turns even after stopping.
  • In some states, the use of radar detectors is strictly prohibited.
  • Vehicles must make way for all kinds of emergency service vehicles.
  • A valid driving license, insurance documents as well as registration documents are mandatory to be carried by the driver whenever they are driving anywhere in USA.
Driving distances across major cities in USA
From New York to Washington
615 kms
From San Francisco to Los Angeles
430 kms
From Las Vegas to Los Angeles
50 kms
From Miami to Fort Lauderdale
150 kms
From Chicago to Milwaukee
350 kms
From Boston to New York
120 kms
From Colorado Springs to Denver

Parking Rules in USA

Before leaving your vehicle, make sure that you are familiar with the parking rules of that particular state. In all major cities, use the Pay and Display System. You will have to purchase parking tickets from a nearby machine and place it on your windscreen. Travelers can also find free parking at various malls across majority of the states. It is always preferred to contact the tourism board for information regarding cheaper parking options in the particular state and area you are traveling to. This will not only help you in saving more money; rather you can find suitable parking nearby your staying place as well.

Make sure not to park on the wrong side of the road with your car facing the oncoming traffic. All yellow- painted pavements are for emergency service vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances. Hence do not park your vehicle at such pavements. Some parking places may have zoning restrictions, snow emergency routes as well as scheduled street sweepings. Before parking your car, check for all nearby signs and make sure that it has no such limitations before parking your vehicle there. At some places, parking spots are reserved for nearby places of business as well. Parking at such places is also strictly prohibited.

Parking Tips

Common phrases used while driving in USA

Motorway – Freeway
Toll Road –Turnpike
Petrol – Gasoline
Excess – Deductible (insurance)
Gearbox – Transmission
SUV –Sports utility vehicle
Boot – Trunk
Pavement – Kerb
Bonnet – Hood
Bumper – Fender
Detour – Diversion
Indicators – Blinkers

It is advised to get an International Driving Permit before planning to drive across USA. Driving licenses of tourists will be valid across majority of the US states for one year.

Best time to visit USA:

The vast and tremendous spread of this country offers a variety of different climates and seasons across different states, which makes USA a country worth visiting anytime throughout the year. Also, the best time to visit depends on the state and region you are planning to visit. Usually, peak season for tourists runs through May to September.

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