Guide to Driving In USA - Drive Safe in USA

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in USA and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.

URBAN SPEED LIMIT

variable mph

urban
More info  

RURAL SPEED LIMIT

variable mph

rural
More info  

motorway speed limit

97-129 mph

speed limit
More info  

Drink Drive Limit

 0-50mg

drink and drive limit
More info  
urban
You drive in USA on the Right side  
urban
The currency in USA is USD $
urban
To rent a car is  21 years and to drive is years of age
urban
Current fuel price in USA 0.72 €/Ltr

Driving Laws in USA

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in USA?

Driving in USA
Pocket guide to driving in USA
Profile:
USA
Washington, D.C.
USD $
Driving in USA
SPEED: (mph)
variable
variable
97-129
Speed limit in USA
Holiday:
Rush hour in USA
Cameras:
YES
YES
Speed cameras in USA
FUEL:
0.60
0.69
EUR/Litre
Fuel prices in USA
DRIVE:
RIGHT
Drive RIGHT in USA
MIN AGE:
21
Min driving age in USA
DRINK:
0-50mg
Blood alcohol content
Drink driving in USA
EMERGENCY:
911
Emergency phone number in USA
DOCUMENT:
Driving documents in USA
PHONES:
Yes
Hands free only
Mobile phone driving in USA
SEATBELTS:
Yes
No
Seat belt in USA
Driving is on the right with the steering wheel being on the left hands side of the car. The rules of the road can vary from state to state. Ask our representatives about laws particular to the state you are in.

Rules of the road

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Emergency Services Numbers

Police Police: 911

Police Fire: 911

Police Ambulance: 911

Notes:

Fuel Prices in USA by Month

Parking Information

Parking regulations

Parking regulations
 
Parking is easy to get in most smaller towns and cities as long as you don't rely on street parking in the centres as it's non-existent so as to maintain throughflow of traffic. There instead, you'll find parking garages. Elsewhere where there is parking, park in the the direction of the traffic.
 
Paid parking
 
Paid parking can be in dusty lots, garages or by meter or ticket machine in parking bays. There are usually plenty of signs to indicate parking restrictions.
 
Enforcement
 
Enforcement of parking is done by the police but sometimes by parking attendants. Clamping isn't as common as being towed and if you need to reclaim your vehicle from the car pound, you'll need to pay a fine as well as the release fee. You mustn't park next to a kerb painted yellow as it's for emergency services only.
 
Disabled parking
 
The European blue badge scheme is not recognised in the US but find a place with a parking attendant and they'll do their best to find you a more accessible spot to park in.

Painted colored curbs have the following special parking rules:

California's Coloured Curbs

White – Stop only long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail. 
Green –Park for a limited time.
Yellow –Stop no longer than the time posted to load or unload passengers or freight. 
Red – No stopping, standing, or parking.
Blue – Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or driver of a disabled person.

New Jersey's Coloured Curbs

White - Parking restricted by meter/permit regulations.
Green - Parking reserved for Corner Cars (car-sharing) vehicles only.
Yellow - Parking prohibited except for certain times/purposes.
Red - Parking prohibited at all times.
Blue - Parking reserved for Handicapped permits only.
 

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Police Police: 911

Police Fire: 911

Police Ambulance: 911

You can call the emergency services on 911.

In most states you can call 511 to get up to date travel information depending on where you are.

The British Embassy is located at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 and can be called on 1 202 588 6500. Other embassies are also located in Washington DC.

What to do in an emergency

If you break down, contact the number given to you by the car hire representative.

If you are involved in an accident you can resolve the issue between you if it is minor but you must file a report at the nearest police station.

If the accident is more serious involving damage or injury, call the emergency services and your rental company. Exchange information with the other driver including your address and insurance details. If you can, take photos of the scene if you have a camera handy. If the cars aren't causing a danger to others, leave them in position until the police arrive.

Handy Guides

World Driving Guides

Road Signs

Handy Phrases

Americans use different words for traffic vocabulary than are used in England so here are some of the differences!

Motorway – Freeway
Toll Road –Turnpike
Petrol – Gasoline
Excess – Deductible (insurance)
Gearbox – Transmission
SUV –Sports utility vehicle
Boot – Trunk
Pavement - Kerb
Bonnet – Hood
Bumper – Fender
Detour – Diversion
Indicators - Blinkers

USA Fuel Price History

Fuel Prices in USA by Month
Month, YearDiesel €/ltrUnleaded €/ltr
Jun, 2019 0.71 0.72
May, 2019 0.73 0.75
Apr, 2019 0.72 0.73
Mar, 2019 0.71 0.66
Feb, 2019 0.69 0.62
Jan, 2019 0.69 0.60

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in USA and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.
Phil Partridge
Posted by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Rhinocarhire.com Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Visitor Comments

  • 03/13/2019

    Spencer

    Some handy hints I have acquired from driving in America;
    • There are no seat belt laws in New Hampshire. Also in New Hampshire and Vermont you are required to clean off the ice and snow from the roof of your car in winter, it's called Jessica's Law.
    • Do not brake suddenly when driving in icy/snowy conditions.
    • Drive carefully and slow down by reducing acceleration not necessarily brakes and keep double the amount of distance you normally would between the vehicle in front of you.
    • Toll roads in the US can be expensive, use Waze GPS app and turn on "avoid tolls" feature. In Wisconsin there are no toll roads. In Vermont, NH and Maine the police will generally turn a blind eye to going over the speed limit on the Interstate system by up to 10mph, go with the flow.
    • In Massachussetts different story, they will pull you over for going 1 mph over the speed limit. DO NOT speed through towns anywhere in the United States, always obey the posted speed limits in built up areas. Some states you can be fined for going too slow on freeways and the Interstate.
    • You must stop when you see a school bus stopped at a bus stop. It will have a boom with a stop sign attached to it sticking at right angles from the side of the bus.
    • When driving in major cities like New York/Newark and Boston, do not expect courtesy from other drivers. Be very mindful of what other vehicles are doing or may do. When changing lanes on the freeway, do not wait for someone to let you in, it ain't gonna happen. Signal your intention early, do not slow down, and go as soon as you can. In some states you can turn right on red, but only if it's not posted that you cannot.
    • I only encountered a few roundabouts in the US, but Brian is right, Americans do not know how to use them yet. They are foreign to most Americans because generally intersections have 4 way stop signs at them in the US.
    • Gasoline is cheaper in the south than in the north, as a general rule everything is cheaper in the South. 1 US gallon is 3.78 litres. North/South Interstates are odd numbered, East/West are even numbered. 3 digit odd numbered are ring roads, or beltlines as they are known in America, and 3 digit even numbers are spurs or link roads going directly into a city or linking up to the main Interstate.
    • Interstate signs are blue and red on a shield, US highways black and white on a shield, State routes black and white on a circle, local routes generally green on a circle. Hope that helps, I thoroughly enjoyed my driving experiences in America.

    Awesome country with very extensive road systems. Can't wait to go back.
  • 11/27/2018

    Brian

    Right on red - it actually varies from state to state. I live in Texas where it is legal, but next door in Louisiana it is not. Also please be aware that many roundabouts in the states do not function like proper roundabouts, and vary in the many ways to enter and who has priority. Even in my city I can think of three major examples of roundabouts that function differently. Be careful!
  • 11/01/2018

    User

    A lot of states are 70mph for Interstates, a few are 75mph. In North Carolina, you can turn right on a red arrow.
  • 11/01/2018

    CPH

    From the California DMV handbook (other states have similar rules): Painted colored curbs have the following special parking rules: * White–Stop only long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail. * Green–Park for a limited time. Look for a posted sign next to the green zone for time limits, or locate the time limit painted on the curb. * Yellow–Stop no longer than the time posted to load or unload passengers or freight. Drivers of noncommercial vehicles are usually required to stay with the vehicle. * Red–No stopping, standing, or parking. (Buses may stop at a red zone marked for buses.) * Blue–Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or driver of a disabled person who displays a placard or special license plate for disabled persons or disabled veterans.
  • 11/01/2018

    Abdul Hakeem

    Nice
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