Driving in the USA  

> Credit card for Hiring a Car

A credit card is essential when hiring a car in North America. At the time you pick up your vehicle an imprint of your card will be taken even if you have already prepaid in the U.K. Any incidental charges will be debited to your card e.g. one way drop fees, child booster seats etc.

> Driving licence

Your driving licence must have been valid for at least one year prior to collecting your hire vehicle. If the driving licence is in a language other than English, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required in conjunction with the country of residence driving licence. All named drivers must be present and present a valid photo driving licence (the paper counterpart is no longer required). Drivers with the older paper licence must present that licence when collecting their rental car. Drivers must be a minimum of 21 years old to drive a rental car in North America but additional insurance premiums will be required for drivers under the age of 25.

> The numbering of houses and buildings

At times, streets in the U.S. are very long. Houses and buildings are often numbered by the blocks where they are located such as number 2765, which would be located between the 27th and 28th block. Therefore, it is not necessary to go all the way to 2799 to reach number 2800.

> Road signage

For the most part, the main destination to where the road leads is indicated. But this does not necessarily mean that it is the city of your final destination: To go from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you will take US101 North, but San Francisco may not be indicated on the road signs. Directions are usually abbreviated: N for North, S for South, W for West and E for East (example: US 101N).

> Gasoline/Fuel

Upon collecting your rental vehicle, verify the type of gasoline it uses. We will let you convert the cost of gasoline so you can experience the pleasure of paying less to drive in the U.S.

> Speed limits

Speed limits vary from state to state, but are clearly marked along the roadside. In general, they are 25 mph (40 km/h) within city limits, 55 mph (88 km/h) on state and federal highways and between 60 to 75 mph (97 to 121 km/h) on interstates and expressways.

> Seat belt

The law states that all passengers in the vehicle must wear seat belts.

> Alcohol

There are severe penalties for drunk driving. We highly recommend that you do not drink and drive.

> Traffic lights

Traffic lights are always located on the other side of the intersection. Make sure that you stop on the white line and not in front of the traffic light where you would find yourself already in the middle of the intersection. Other than the exception of driving on the right-hand side, the driving rules are nearly the same as ours. However, one of the exceptions (in some states such as California and in Florida) is that you are allowed to turn right at a red traffic light after having made a complete stop and verifying that it is safe to turn right. However, some intersections display a "NO TURN ON RED" sign, which you must obey and stop and wait for the light to turn green.

> 4-way stop sign

At a 4-way stop sign or flashing red traffic light, all vehicles must stop. The first vehicle to come to a complete stop is allowed to leave first after verifying that it is safe to do so. If more than one vehicle arrives at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle furthest to the right is allowed to leave first. Additionally, a flashing amber (yellow) light indicates that the opposing traffic may enter the intersection at any time, and drivers should exercise caution before proceeding

> Reserved lane

On certain main arteries, one lane is designated as the “High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)” lane, or car-pool lane. This lane is marked with a diamond icon and is reserved only for vehicles with a driver with one or more passengers. You are not allowed to use this lane if you are alone in the vehicle.

> Parking

Parking in certain large cities can be a real challenge and can be very expensive – but less expensive than a parking fine or having your vehicle towed away!

Do not park in front of “No Parking” or “Tow Away” signs which could lead to having your car towed away. Also do not park in front of a bus stop or a fire hydrant.

Be cautious of yellow school buses which have stopped and whose yellow lights are flashing (this means that children are getting off the bus). If you are approaching the bus from behind or from in front while you are in the opposing lane of traffic, you must come to a complete stop and under no circumstances pass the bus. In addition, be aware that some hotels charge for parking

> Pedestrian crossings

As pedestrians must cross streets using the pedestrian crossings, drivers must give priority to these pedestrians.
In case you are fined in spite of trying to adhere to these warnings, we highly recommend that you settle the fine immediately rather than having the car rental company debit it from your credit card imprint. (The rental company would probably add a handling fee for processing this debit charge.)

Drive within the speed limits as the police are inflexible, and you may be stopped and fined for even driving 3 or 4 mph over the speed limit. (You may even find yourself in prison in case of excessive speed!).

> Driving tip

Driving on the interstate is very inexpensive in the U.S. Most are toll free.

Your rentable vehicule

Your vehicle will be equipped with automatic transmission. Here are a few points to help you understand how to handle the gear shift lever and the pedals.

There are only 2 pedals:  The brake pedal is on the left and the accelerator pedal is on the right. So when you are driving, you use only the right foot. When you stop, you should always have your foot on the brake so you can change gears by shifting the lever.

Driving on the interstate is very inexpensive in the U.S. Most  are toll free.

Gear stick lever Positions

P- Park position which allows to park your vehicle without using the handbrake (however, apply the handbrake if the vehicle is parked on an incline.)

R- Means Reverse, that is to say to R drive backwards.

N- Neutral position which is the same as the middle position for a manual transmission. This neutral position is very rarely used as the parking position is used to park the vehicle.

D- means Drive: This is the gear you use most often while driving. It is not necessary to change to the neutral position while you are stopped at a red light.

Depending upon the model, your vehicle may have Cruise Control which allows you maintain the same speed without touching the pedals. This function is very useful especially on interstates and highways where nearly everyone drives at the same speed. Please refer to the driver’s manual of your vehicle for further information on Cruise Control.

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