Is Driving in America Difficult?
Driving in America is not as difficult or confusing as you would
naturally expect. True, some things may initially seem weird to you, especially
if you are coming from somewhere like the UK, New Zealand, or Australia,
where they drive left.
Studies have shown that about 71% of visitors to America from the UK feel nervous
about driving in America. Some would even sacrifice their vacation in America
to avoid driving in America - about 32% of them.
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In a case where there is no valid title, you are allowed to use other papers
that show your legitimacy over the automobile. If there are no papers to prove
your ownership, the alternative is to request a bonded title by filling out a
request form and paying a bond.
10 Must-Read Tips to Help you Drive in America
Driving in America is easier than the way movies like Fast and Furious portray
it. Paying attention to these tips can make it easier.
- Keep Right:
The most important rule for driving in America is to always keep right.
Drive on the right side of the road, except when you want to overtake
a slower-moving car. It may take a while to get familiar with when coming
from a left-driving country, but you will get past it in no time.
- Right-hand gear is not an issue:
With driving on the right comes your gear on the left. Left gear requires
you to use your right hand to shift gear. This is, however, not so much
of a problem because most of the cars in America have an automatic
transmission. Only a few vehicles have a manual transmission. With an
automatic transmission, all you need to do is put the car in drive, and
that is all.
- There are signs everywhere:
You don't have to worry about getting lost because there are signs everywhere
on the road that will guide your driving choices. Lanes to drive in, speed
limit, exits, and all of that are boldly placed in the right places. However,
using a satellite navigation system or digital maps is advised for an added
level of protection.
- There are no roundabouts:
Unlike other countries, there are no roundabouts in America. Instead, they
are called intersections. Only a few places like Massachusetts have roundabouts
and are called names like traffic road, island, and the likes. These
intersections are heavily controlled by traffic lights, so you are in safe hands.
Seatbelts are important for driving and in many American states. It ensures the
occupants in the car are strapped-in safe in the case of an accident. In America,
the rules concerning seatbelts and their use differ from state to state. Fines
relating to seat belts can range from $10 up to $160, depending on the severity
of the violation. Only New Hampshire has no rules concerning seatbelts for adults.
- Driving on the highway:
Highways in America headed eastward from the west usually end in an even number,
like Route 66, while those North-South end with an odd number. Highways are bound
by a slightly different set of rules. For example, overtaking a slower-moving car
should be done on the left. However, it can be done either on the right or left on
the highway, provided it is safe to do so. The shoulder of the road is reserved
for emergency vehicles and breakdowns. Once vehicles are in sight, approaching
the emergency lane, all cars are expected to move left. Moving left ensures the
middle lane is empty and serves as a buffer for the emergency vehicles.
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- Turn right on red:
In many states in America, it is legal to turn right at a red light unless
otherwise stated. This rule applies in 37 of the 50 states of America. It is
not applicable in New York City, South Carolina, Illinois, Maryland, Wyoming,
North Dakota, Louisiana, Washington, New Hampshire, Kansas, Utah, Michigan,
- Buying gas:
There are lots of lots of filling stations around, and you need not worry about
getting stranded with no gas unless you have plans of going deep into the National
Park or into the desert. European visitors should note that America uses colors
that are opposite what they are familiar with. The black pump gives out unleaded
petrol while the green pump gives out diesel. If you get confused, ask the
attendant help clarify.
- Rules differ:
Across the US, there are driving rules, and each state has its own set of rules
guarding vehicular movement. However, there are some similarities; for example,
across the US, you are expected to have your insurance documents and license every
time. It is also forbidden to have an open container of alcohol in the car;
remnants from a restaurant are to be kept in the trunk.
Getting familiar with the rules regarding driving in the states you would drive in
is very important. For example, it is illegal to park opposite the direction of
traffic in California. When it rains in Florida, all moving cars should have their
headlamps on, regardless of the time of day.
- Car seat laws differ in America:
Coming from the UK, for example, laws regarding car seats for children differ in
America. European safety standards concerning car seats are not recognized
this means your kids are not strapped correctly in America if you go by
These are a few tips that would help drive in America easy as a foreigner.
Driving in America is
not as difficult as many people would think; only a few things to keep at heart, and you are
good to go. It is important to read up on the rules concerning driving in the specific state
you will be driving to make sure you are well informed.
In conclusion, the driving experience in America is fun and one to be looked forward to,
especially for foreigners. Driving in America is not difficult at all. All you need to do
is get familiar with the road rules for the state or states you plan to visit. To augment
your driving experience, there are bold and clear road signs everywhere to help you. It
is also important to know the color codes at the gas station when you need to fill up.
And if you get confused, ask questions, swift-tags.