You’ve just landed in the USA and are ready to explore it by the open road. However, when you drive in North America, you should be prepared that things aren’t going to be the same as when you’re driving in your homeland.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your ultimate visit to the USA while staying safe on the roads!
Drive on the right
The USA is a country where you must drive on the right. For some of you, you’re used to it in your country, but for others, it may be very strange to start driving on the right instead of the left.
Watch your speed
Whether you’re on a highway or a county road, you’ll notice speed limit signs as you go along. You should adhere to the posted speed.
Move to the right when driving slowly
On roads with more than one lane, if you’re driving slowly, you should keep to the right lane. Faster traffic passes on the left and you’ll be holding things up if you’re puttering around, looking for your exit.
With smartphone technology, it’s much easier to find your way around even when you’re in unfamiliar territory. Use Google Maps to guide you. You can switch it to your native language if that helps you understand where you’re going better.
Know the difference between federal and state laws
The USA has driving laws that are federal which affects the whole country. Those include the standard of driving on the right and driving with a license as well as stopping at a stop sign and following the indications on traffic lights. However, each state has its own traffic laws too. If you’re going to be staying in a particular state for an extended period, you should make sure to learn these things. For example, in Florida, U-turns are permitted unless otherwise posted, but in some states like Ohio, they are completely forbidden anywhere.
Pump it up
In the United States, there is only one state left that doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas and that’s New Jersey. For all the others, you must fill up your gas tank yourself. For most cars, you’ll need regular unleaded gas. To fill up your gas tank, you must turn off your car first. There’s no smoking at the pumps either. Follow the directions on the pump for activating it and then fill up your gas tank. Many cars have the tank on the driver’s side of the vehicle, but there are still some with it on the passenger side, so make sure to take note of it before you pull up to a pump or you’ll likely have to turn your car around to get the nozzle in the gas tank.
Be mindful of school buses and school zones
Big, bright and yellow school buses are on the roadway at the beginning of the school day and at the end. When they extend their “stop” signs, you must stop too, even if you’re on the opposite side of the road, unless a concrete or grassy median separates the road. School zones have flashing lights and require you to go more slowly than usual.
Follow the laws regarding kids in your car
Every state requires the use of seatbelts and restraints. For small children, you must use a car seat or a booster seat, depending on their size. If you’re renting a vehicle, you can arrange for one of these items from the company to keep your children safe and be compliant with the laws.
These tips should hopefully put you at ease on the road and help make getting there safely even more fun!