Helpful Driving Tips for Foreign Visitors

US Driving Tips for ForeignersUS Driving Tips for Foreigners

The most useful tip for foreigners driving in the United States is that America is a right-hand driving country. You probably know what right or left traffic means. Unless otherwise stated, two-way traffic should stay on the left or right side of the road.

Driving is an activity surrounded by many different classes of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are essential for the safety of drivers and other road users. These rules differ from state to state and country to country.

As a foreigner in the US, it is crucial to get familiar with the driving culture before getting on the road to drive as stated earlier, the singular most crucial driving rule is that the US is a right-hand driving country.

Other driving tips should also be adhered to, some dependent on the state, while others are country-wide. Here are some driving tips visitors should know when coming to the US.

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Types of roads

In the US, there are three main categories of roads. A different set of rules governs each type of road. Each has different speed limits and signs attached to them.

  • Interstate roads: As the name suggests, interstate roads link states together. In the US, interstate roads have at least two lanes. The lanes can be more, depending on the road. In the UK, it is called the Motorway and Autobahn in Germany. One popular interstate Road in the US is Interstate 90, connecting Seattle to Boston. Speed limits are typically about 55 miles per hour or higher.
  • State roads: State roads pass through towns, villages, and cities within a state. The road styles range from single lanes all the way up to dual-carriageway styles. Speed limits are determined by each state and usually range between 20 and 50 miles per hour. These roads are generally maintained by the state system.
  • County roads: These roads are maintained by the local county. They are usually slower and smaller than state and federal roads. It is usually marked with "C" or "CR," designating it as a county road.

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Crucial Driving Tips for US Foreigners

Other important driving tips to note include the following:

  • When traveling on the highway, always remember to keep right unless you are trying to overtake a vehicle. There are many signs along the road that would remind you of this. However, on Interstate highways, the far-right lane in an urban area is usually reserved for exiting the highway on the next opportunity.
  • There are allowances for driving after drinking. However, the caveat is that you should never drive if you exceed the blood alcohol limit of 0.08%. 0.08% is the legal blood alcohol concentration limit if you have plans of driving.
  • The honking of car horns in the US is less prevalent in the US than in other nations. It is mainly because drivers are expected to use their horns only when needed. Your horn is typically only allowed when you need to get the attention of another driver or a pedestrian; it helps to reduce noise pollution. As a foreign driver, you are advised to abide by this unspoken rule.
  • US drivers usually give preference to the first vehicle to arrive at the intersection unless they are being held down by a "stop" or "yield" Sign. When two vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle at the right enjoys preference.
  • The best lane for slow driving is the far-right lane. If your intention is to drive slowly to enjoy the environment or to acquaint yourself with the whole driving experience, then the far right is the lane for you.
  • When driving, the driver and the passenger in front at least are expected to put on their seat belts for safety purposes.
  • Around most residential areas, the usual speed limit is 35 miles per hour, and even lower (about 25 mph) in some areas. On highways, it is usually around 55 miles per hour.
  • Road signs in the US are usually well spelled-out symbols rather than text. Each road sign has a color and shape that differentiates it from other signs.
  • There are age limits to driving alone with a full driver's license in the US. The limit differs between states but generally lies between 16 and 18 years.

The well-maintained roads and an endless supply of places to visit on a road trip make driving in the US a fun experience, especially for foreigners. The Deep South, the legendary Route 66, Blue Ridge Parkway, The Carolinas and Virginia, Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, and Hana Highway, Maui, among others, are very interesting routes that visitors would be looking forward to driving on.

When driving, you may get pulled to a stop by the police for different reasons. When the police need you to stop, it is usually very obvious. There will be a police vehicle behind you with flashing lights; pull over as soon as possible once you see that.

When you pull over, stay in the vehicle, with your seat belt fastened and your hands on the steering wheel, and open the driver's window; If it is dark, turn on your interior light. It is best to be as polite as possible with the policemen, especially if you are guilty of any charge.


In conclusion, as a foreign driver, the most important rule to note when driving in America is that America is a right-hand driving country. Always make sure you keep to the right at all times, except when overtaking another vehicle.

Taking note of the road signs, which are usually pointed out as symbols rather than text, is also important. Also, it is safer not to drive after drinking than to run the risk of being pulled over by the police for high blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Paying attention to these tips and driving within the acceptable speed limit can guarantee a hitch-free driving experience for foreigners in the US.

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