If you are going to travel to the United States of America, you should know that the UAS doesn’t have good public transportation even in the largest US cities. Therefore, in the United States, traveling by car is the best way to get around and see not only the famous places, but “real” American life away from the cities.
In the USA you need a car not only for traveling, but for shopping too. It is often impossible to get to shops without a car. If you are not in the city like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco, it is difficult to maneuver around your town since many residential communities are outside of urban areas and there is not public transportation. If in American cities driving is the preference for mass transit, in American towns, it is a necessity.
Because of the long history of driving, the United States has federal highways, interstate highways (or the same freeways) that may require the toll payments, state routes, and rural roads. Along the way, highways provide to drivers many rest stops and offer gas stations, restaurants, picnic areas, and hotels.
If you are going to drive in the United States, you should be aware of some main thing about driving in the USA:
- Each state in the US sets its own traffic rules; most of them are the same or similar, but some states have minor differences. In the United States, traffic keeps to the right side of the road.
- The United States holds the Convention on Road Traffic of 1949, so signalization, road markings, and road signs differ from European ones. You should be very attentive because all the time, you have to read information from regulatory signs (for example, “if red, stop here” while there is 100 m (328 ft) to the traffic light); a turning can be before a corresponding turn sign, or an intersection can be before a traffic light. In the USA, traffic lights turn from red to a green color.
- The United States is one of the few countries in the world that doest use the metric system, so distance is measured in miles and speed in miles per hour (mph).
- In most states, if signals didn’t indicate slower speeds, the maximum driving speed limit is 65 miles per hour (about 110 km per hour); in many states, speed limits are strongly monitored by speed radars.
- In most states, the minimum driving age is 16 years; in many states, drivers under 18 can’t drive for unrestricted time.
- During school hours, speeding limit in front of schools is 15 miles per hour. If school bus has flashing lights, traffic in both directions must stop. These rules are strictly set by traffic laws.
- All states require seatbelts for drivers. In most states, passengers, even children, must wear seatbelts too; special child seats are required also. Children under 12 are not allowed to ride in the front passenger's seat.
- In most states, if there isn’t a specific restriction at the intersection, right turn on a red signal after stopping is allowed in the case of a clear path. In New York City, there isn’t "Right on Red".
- Stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk is a law. Most states require stop for any pedestrian steps out anywhere in the road.
- That is not allowed to park in front of fire hydrants.
- At intersection with stop signs, drivers must proceed in the order they have arrived.
- Traffic lights go directly from red to green.
- Some areas have bike lanes; cars are not allowed to drive in bike lanes.
- Many highways have a special line, car pool lane (HOV) that can be used only by vehicles containing two or more people.
- Never drink alcoholic beverages and drive. Allowable blood-alcohol levels are around .08%. If you are stopped by a police officer and you have an opened bottle into a passenger compartment of your car, you will have a ticket.
- Parking along a road is allowed only on the right side of the road (going with the traffic, not against).
- Many states ban drivers from using hands cell phone while driving.
- If a police car (it cannot have any tokens) following your vehicle has flashing lights, you must displace to the right side of the road as soon as safe and get off the road as far as possible. If police officer stops you, his car will park behind your one and hi will walk up to you. First of all, policeman will ask your driver license, registration papers for the vehicle, and insurance covering the potential liability from an accident.
- Emergency assistances can be reached by dialing 911.
In addition, if you are from county where English is not a speaking language or the language that your National Driving Permit is printed is not English, you should have an International Translation of Driving Permit (International Driver License). The International Driver License is a special permission for tourists; it was approved by United Nations Conventions on Traffic (1926, 1949, and 1968). The International Driver License is a translation of the National Driving Permit printed on six languages of United Nations (English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic); it confirms your right to drive vehicles of a corresponding category. Furthermore, the International Driver License provides international travelers with backup identification. If a foreign driver is stopped by police officer in the United States, he will most likely be asked to produce both his International driver license and National driving permit. Foreigners who become U.S. residents must obtain an American driver license from the state of their location not from the federal government.
United States of America Road Traffic Signs
Driving Overseas - Short Information