You can’t beat the feeling of hitting the open road and exploring the highways of America.
The wide roads are easy to drive and are generally kept in excellent condition, regardless of whether you’re in the desert or driving through one of its many famous cities.
America is a country that loves to drive and there’s no doubt that the best way to see the country is by car, and while it might take a little time to get used to driving on the right hand side, everything else should fall into place without too much difficulty. However, when you’re planning a driving holiday in another country you should always ensure you’re prepared.
With that in mind, we’ve put together all the information you’ll need on your trip in this handy guide to driving in the US.
Please note, this is to be used as a general guide only as different states have different rules.
Important information about driving in America
As they drive on the right hand side in America, you should pay extra attention when you’re pulling out of junctions and ensure you don’t overtake on the right, as this is illegal in most states.
On major roads you’ll often find signs that state cars in certain lanes must turn a certain way. If you find you’re in the wrong lane, you must still obey these signs and find your way back via an alternative route.
American Rules of the Road
Use of car horns is prohibited in most cities
- No cars get automatic priority to the right (or left) on any road
- Roundabouts are fairly uncommon in The US, but cars on the roundabout have priority and cars entering must give way
- In all states, drivers must use dipped headlights after dark
- Most traffic lights are red and green. If you see a yellow light it means you must stop at the line unless doing so would be dangerous
- In all states (apart from New York and unless otherwise indicated), you are allowed to turn right even if the traffic lights are red, but you must ensure it is safe to do so
- You mustn’t park or overtake another car on the approach to a pedestrian crossing
- Pedestrians have the right of way once they’ve stepped onto the crossing if there are no lights. Failing to stop can incur a huge penalty
- In most states, drivers can receive on-the-spot penalties for a number of offences. Never offer to pay the penalty when you receive your ticket as this could be seen taken as an attempt to bribe
- A black X over or under RR in a yellow circle indicates you are approaching a level crossing with or without an automatic barrier
- Children have the right of way over all traffic when getting on or off their iconic yellow school buses.
- Picking up hitch hikers is illegal in some states and can even invalidate your insurance if you have to make a claim
Each State has its own speed limits and these can vary significantly from one state to another so you should make sure you check the limits of the states you want to visit before you leave.
All states publish their rules and you can obtain these free of charge from the state Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs).
Fuel prices in America are lower than those found in the UK.
Prices differ from state to state, however the average price for regular fuel in the states is $2.253 per gallon, which is equivalent to £1.85.