There is no better way that to get around on your holiday than by hiring a vehicle. Driving needn’t be hard; you just need to remember a few basic rules to be safe. So whether you’re an experienced driver or its your first time driving in the USA our guide to driving below will just give you some tips to help keep you safe and make your journey a smooth one. The Sunshine State has some of the most idyllic scenery when driving. There are many overseas Highways which connect the main land to the famous Florida Keys as well as many bridges which connect the beach areas.
Getting to know your Hire Car
American’s drive on the right, so you will be sitting on the left-hand side of the car when you are driving. (we would bet money that at some point you or your passenger will try to go in the wrong side)
It is always best to adjust your seat and mirrors and have a play with the controls for the wipers, lights, air con and radio. If the vehicle has Bluetooth take 5 minutes and connect your device.
If you are worried about finding where you are going either hire or purchase a Sat Nav with American Maps or use your mobile phone. (Don’t have enough Data don’t worry we can help you use maps with no data) check out our You Tube Channel.
It is important that you keep your driving license and rental agreement to hand, you should never drive without them.
Most vehicles in USA are Automatic and petrol but it
Rules of Driving
Each state in USA has a variation of driving rules so please be sure to check you are following the correct ones. Florida sometimes make changes to driving rules so it’s always best to double check before travel.
- In the U.S.A you drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Always stop at a stop sign! Even though the junction may be clear, you are obliged to come to a complete stop before continuing.
- Unless otherwise stated (usually by a sign), you may turn RIGHT at a RED traffic light providing of course that it is safe to do so. (Also look out for pedestrians crossing the street)
- You WILL be fined for speeding and these fines double if there are road workers nearby.
- You must turn on your headlights from Dusk till Dawn and also when driving in the rain or reduced visibility. If the rain is too heavy it is not unusual to see cars pulled over until the worst of it passes.
- When going to GAS stations (Petrol Stations), you will usually be required to pay before filling up. All rental cars use regular unleaded petrol and it is cheaper to use Self Service Stations. UK credit/Debit cards cannot be used for the pay at pump option because you do not have a zip code.
- If you are stopped by the police for any reason you must stay in your vehicle until the officer comes to you put down your window keeping your hands visible. Do not attempt to get out of the car.
- You must carry with you at all times your driving licence and your rental agreement. Failure to have these may result in a fine.
- Should you have an accident, you MUST report it to the local Police. You must not leave the scene of an accident and you must ask for a copy of the report for your car rental company. You should then telephone your car rental company and advise them of the situation.
- NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE
- It is illegal in the state of Florida to have an opened container of alcohol in the vehicle. Any alcohol you have you be stay in the boot/trunk out of sight.
- On multi-lane roads, you can be overtaken by vehicles in both the outside and inside lanes.
- Rush hour is normally between 7:00 and 10:30 in the morning and between 15:00 and 19:00 in the afternoon/evening
- You are required to STOP if a school bus stops, even if you are on the other side of the road. It is illegal to overtake a school bus when it is stopped for loading/unloading of passengers. You should remain stationary until all the children are clear of the road and he bus has moved off.
- When entering a school district, watch out for reduced speed signs and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Depending on where you’re driving in Florida, you will likely come across a few toll roads, particularly around central Florida. These can vary in price, from 50c to $2, so be sure to carry some spare change with you. Most hire cars give you the option of a “toll pass” which can be called Eazy Pass or Sun Pass this allows you to drive straight through and omitted the need to carry change. Be aware that different hire car providers charge different things, some will charge a minimum per day and others will charge for what you use. If you don’t plan to use too many tolls this could work out more expensive.
- Roundabouts are not something you see many of in Florida in fact I can only think of 6 but just so you know they are called Traffic Circles. When you approach look to your left and yield to both lanes of traffic. One a gap in traffic appears merge into the traffic circle and proceed to your exist. Look for pedestrians when you are taking your exit.