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Driving in the USA

Before you pick up your car hire in the USA, it is worth noting some of the rules and regulations about driving in the USA.

Driving license requirements in the USA

  • Visitors may drive using their national license, provided it is in a language that uses the Roman alphabet. Holders of other licenses generally must also show an International Driving Permit in English (available through motoring organisations such as AA, AAA, RAC, etc.)
  • All other driving licenses are acceptable.
  • The authorities require that you carry your drivers license with you at all times.

Age requirements for driving in the USA

Car hire companies in the USA employ age restrictions, which can vary across companies. Please check your quotation for exact restrictions, as there may be an extra fee for drivers below the minimum age or over the maximum age.

Tips for driving your hire car in the USA

  • Drive on the right. Don't obstruct fast lanes. On some Interstates and Freeways it may be permissible to overtake slow moving traffic on the left.
  • Be aware of what's happening around you. Adapt to local conditions.
  • Each State has different traffic laws, however most are very similar. Check with car rental staff for local / State driving regulations.
  • Most States require the driver and front seat passengers to wear seat belts
  • Most require children to wear seat belts even in the back seats.
  • All require special child seats for babies and young children.
  • Maximum speed limit in most states is 65 mph (110 Km/h).
  • Radar detectors are legal in some states, illegal in others.
  • Some States require that headlight or sidelights be used at all times.
  • Most American drivers are polite and courteous. Respect this.
  • Do not argue with police. Be polite, be patient. Address police officers as 'Sir' or 'Maam'.
  • Drinking and driving incurs heavy fines or prison sentences in all States.

Speed Limits on USA roads:

Highways, Freeways, Interstates and major roads outside towns 65 miles/h maximum in most States.
Local and town limits are signposted.When passing schools, if warning lights are flashing.Note: you must not pass a stationary School Bus which has its lights flashing - applies in both directions. 15 miles/h

Fuel types available in the USA

  • Unleaded Petroleum (gasoline)
  • Diesel
  • Check carefully before filling whether your rental car uses petrol or diesel. If you make a mistake do not start the vehicle as severe damage may result and you will be liable for repair costs. Inform service station staff who will assist in arranging for the tank to be drained and refilled with the correct fuel
  • Gas stations are generally open 24 hours a day and most are self-service. Times vary particularly in rural areas.
  • At many gas stations you may have to swipe your credit card at the pump before filling up your rental car. Most credit cards are accepted for fuel payment.

Parking in the USA

  • It is best to use designated ‘off street’ car parks as strict laws apply for street parking. If you do park on the street:
  • Always park on the right, your car must not face the traffic
  • Do not park in front of yellow or red road lines or within 10 feet of a fire hydrant
  • Do not park on a white line at a bus stop
  • No parking signs should always be obeyed as clamping and on-the-spot fines are common in major towns and cities
  • Severe penalties may be incurred for dangerous parking
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