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AndyC-M

Driving in America

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AndyC-M

Hi all,

 

Next month I am due to go on holiday to Orlando with the family, we've never been to America before, we've hired a car from the airport to commute around for the duration of the trip, this includes all the parks in Orlando and a day to Daytona Beach.

 

Anyways, just looking for some advise, hints and tips, also, why are freeways (motorways) so slow at 55mph?

 

cheers

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Flachbau

Depending on the area you'll be driving in / through, you can probably go 5 to 10 over the limit, but anything else is pushing it. I've driven through NY and CT going 10 over with no problem, and a lot of officers around here are strict. Just remember that nobody is really going exactly 55 on the highway unless they're too anxious.

 

Also, I hope you're a good defensive driver. A lot of people here suck at driving.

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TheFoxRiverFugitive

Very few people actually go just 55mph on highways. You'll usually see traffic flowing 5 to 10 above that. I'm in Maryland though, so I can't speak for Floridian drivers.

 

 

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AiraCobra

First things first make absolutely SURE that you buy the rental car companies insurance plan because like others have said people are friggin morons on the highway and surface streets.

 

Make sure that anybody who plans or thinks they may be driving the vehicle is added onto the rental agreement even if it cost a bit extra because if you are pulled over and the driver isn't listed on the rental agreement they could be in trouble with not only local and rental company just depend on local laws.

 

Highway Lanes are as followed

 

Slow Lane -The lane that is farest to the right next to the breakdown lane is Slow Lane this is meant for cars who are going slower than the regular flow of traffic between 55-60mph

 

Flow Of Traffic Lanes (Sometimes there are four lanes the two in the middle are Flow Of Traffic Lanes which is where those usually going 60-65 mph

 

Passing Lane -Speeds exceed 65mph In some states it's legal to contuine to drive in the Passing Lane as long as you are passing vehicles in the flow of traffic lanes if you are keeping pace with them then you need to merge into the flow of traffic lanes

 

Florida speed limit in some area is 70MPH but you do not have to do that speed if you don't feel comfortable doing so just stay in the slow lane which is the far right lane

 

When it comes to driving on the highway like others have said do not exceed 7mph OVER the speed limit as that is the treshold for most Highway Patrolmen to pull you over for speeding they'll usually let you slide if you're only going 5-7mph over the best way to control this is by setting cruise control.

 

In most state the far left lane is a PASSING lane only which means you may not drive in that lane just to drive in it unless you know you will be passing all of the cars on your right if you are keeping pace with the cars to your right get back into the lanes of travel failure to do so is also another pullover offense that Highway Patrol like to enforce in Passing Lane only states.

 

Highways that have Carpool lanes you are allowed to drive in them as long as you have two or more passengers in your car but it's to be used only as a lane of travel not as a passing lane.

 

DO NOT keep pace with other cars, Just because they're zooming pass you doesn't mean you should keep pace with them as they are most likely going 10 mph or more over the speed limit.

 

Some states have Driver Distraction laws which cover everything from changing the radio station, eating and talking on a cell phone in some states it's even illegal to have your phone in your hand even if you are at a stop light.

 

If you happen to get into an accident on the highway don't block traffic pull over to the far right side of the highway into the breakdown lanes.

 

If you see something dangerous don't be afraid to call 9-1-1 to report it, They'll send an officer out to help.

 

Be wary when using your horn a lot of drivers are hot-tempered and aren't afraid to stop their vehicle to get out and confront you only use your horn to alert someone of an impending crash not to tell them to get out of the way or the light had changed from red to green especally in the city of Orlando where the crime rate is slightly higher than normal.

 

Be aware of signs when wanting to turn right most intersections allow for turning right on red but some don't but some only restrict it during specific times of the day such as rush hour which is usually 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm.

 

If you get pulled over stay in the vehicle and don't reach for anything including documents until the Officer has approached the vehicle and asked for them.

Edited by AiraCobra

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ellis3246

quick warning

dont speed on the country roads at all even if it looks theres no one there

 

there is bound to be a atleast 1 state trooper on the road

Edited by ellis3246

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AiraCobra
6 minutes ago, ellis3246 said:

quick warning

dont speed on the country roads at all even if it looks theres no one there

 

there is bound to be a atleast 1 state trooper on the road

Yup, Yup they are often friendly with the local farmers who allow them to hide their vehicles from view and you only see them when you pass them in your rearview mirror or when you hear that wooop

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Asmodo

I feel for you, I live in NC and want to ram most drivers off the road because they can't drive properly. No one knows how to use a turn signal anymore. I can't even fathom trying to drive in FL.

Edited by Asmodo

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AndyC-M

thanks for the tips,

 

i'm generally more of an offensive driver, maybe that's over confidence bordering cockiness, i've been driving for a long time, but in a foreign company, I have not, but I feel confident enough to not act like a tvvat, you all carry guns for goodness sake! lol

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AiraCobra
11 minutes ago, AndyC-M said:

you all carry guns for goodness sake! lol

 

Quite the contrary actually even though the U.S is a gun nut country the amount of people that actually carry guns around in their vehicles is quite small most guns are kept in the home because it is illegal to carry a loaded firearm on your person or in your vehicle without a carry license even in some open carry states where you can only carry in Public as your vehicle is considered private property and your gun would be concealed from everybody.

 

Because if you are caught driving with a loaded firearm without a concealed carry license that's a felon which means the lost of your guns and for a gun nut that their worse nightmare.

 

As for being an offensive driver in the U.S that's not a good idea especially in Florida where people are straight up morons and the police like to give out tickets.

Edited by AiraCobra

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universetwisters

One tip I can give you is that everyone drives on the right side of the road and every car is an automatic. Also enjoy having zero hills to drive over.

 

t. Lived in Daytona for 13 years

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FukNRekd

In Florida you can speed on some of the roads all of the time and all the road some of the time but you can't speed on all the roads all the time.

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No Use For A Name

Speed however much you want. You’ll be leaving this sh*thole soon anyway. 

 

What are they gonna do, extradite you back here over a speeding ticket?

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AiraCobra
44 minutes ago, No Use For A Name said:

Speed however much you want. You’ll be leaving this sh*thole soon anyway. 

 

What are they gonna do, extradite you back here over a speeding ticket?

No but they will swear a warrant against whoever receives the ticket as warrants never expire so if the person ever decides to come back to the U.S in the future they will be arrested upon entry and will spend the night in jail until they see the judge the next morning which will result in stacked up fines and court fees which will be in the several thousands of dollars.

 

So it's just easier to avoid getting a ticket as that would be a really sh*tty way to start a vacation going to jail and losing most of your spending money because you didn't pay a $150 ticket.

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FukNRekd
17 hours ago, AiraCobra said:

So it's just easier to avoid getting a ticket

Yeah, no. Most rental cars can't out run police cars and helis so you'll need some mad driving skills. Or a sportbike or a sports car if you rely on speed to get away.

 

But even then, outrunning those damn radios is a bitch.  Ask me how I know...

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AndyC-M

thanks all, some interesting comments.

 

I should have stated more clearly, being from England, i'm quite a cocky driver, there's so many awful drivers here I think they get their licenses free from a cereal box.

 

although florida, with having my family with me, being in a hire car and driving on the wrong side of the road (sorry, had to get that in) i'll be on my best behaviour, it'll certainly be an experience in itself.

 

as for the guns, although i'm from England were we aren't allowed in the slightest to even find guns interesting without being suspected of being a terrorist or psychopath, I do like guns and find them interesting, but for obvious reasons, could never own one

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trip

A few things:

Not everyone carries guns and there are all sorts of laws about transporting firearms so US guns and US driving is apples and oranges.

 

Driving in the US varries from state to state.  But... driving in general is a global activity so it isn't much different from area to area in general.

 

People in Florida only drive golf carts. 

 

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Rebel

People in America don't understand the concept of moving over into a slow lane when they are driving slow in the fast lane. It was really bad in Florida, I recently drove over there for a holiday and yeah ya'll Americans don't know how to drive its funny. Don't forget to double check with your hire company if you have one of those sun passes, since you'll probably end up on a toll road at some point it will save you a bunch of hassle. Also most of the roads were about 70/75mph but yeah some were about 55. But nobody really does that speed. I did about 80mph even in the 70 zones just to keep up with traffic. The I-4 is really bad with roadworks at the minute though, and it was always a nightmare to drive on. So yeah just be aware, since you'll need to get onto it sometimes and its a hassle. 

 

Not sure what car you drive normally, but if you're going to be getting a big one driving on the the other side of the road, on top of a bigger than usual car takes some getting used to. So just keep an eye on your lane discipline, since alot of the I-4 requires you to be weaving around rather than in a straight line.  

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LeeC2202

A couple of things I remember from my visits to the US.

 

Passing is allowed on both sides of vehicles on Freeways/Highways.

Exits off Freeways/Highways can be on the left or right.

Learn (very quickly) the differences between standard toll gates and FastPass and don't stop at the FastPass and start looking for change. you will encounter toll gates a lot, lots of loose change is a handy tip.

Turn right on a red light, it's something unusual for UK drivers but you need to be confident in dealing with it. Iirc, not every junction allows it though, so be alert. Your instincts will be telling you to stay put... the drivers behind will be telling you otherwise. :)

Stop signs... if it says Stop, then that's the rule. People in the UK will happily just drive through a Stop sign if the road seems clear. That's probably guaranteed trouble in the US.

I seem to remember there were some parking rules about hydrants (maybe even for different coloured hydrants as well) and passing rules about school buses but I can't remember exactly.

 

Everything I stated above was just my own experience and relied on information I picked up before travelling. It may or may not be 100% correct, so one/some of the US guys/gals should be able to correct any/all of my mistakes. What I will say though, is driving from Orlando to Tampa was an amazing experience, the 55mph limit just never seemed an issue. Enjoy the experience, I certainly did.

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Crokey

I've hidden a couple of posts because they were just pointless, back to the topic at hand and lets keep it right, like driving in 'Murica.

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MatthewIRL

Driving in America? Effing sucks man. The one country you actually have to drive in to get around. Effing pathetic man. We have no decent public transportation infrastructure.

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K^2

State Routes and Expressways are typically capped at 55mph. Interstates and other Freeways are typically faster. The exact limit varies by state, but 65mph to 75mph is typical. +5mph of posted is basically expected in pretty much every zone, except maybe things like parking lots and school zones. If you drive 55 in zone with 55 posted, people will be annoyed at you. So it's unlikely that you'll be driving less than 70mph (~110km/h) on a freeway, and you might be going faster. If you have to take a smaller road to get where you're going, well, that's life, and you might be going pretty slow. That said, roads that have lower speed limits posted, you usually wouldn't want to drive faster on anyways. Exception is freeways running "through city," which might have 55 posted, despite it being safe to move a lot faster, but few people actually follow that anyways. Up to you if you want to risk a ticket.

 

I've never been pulled over for doing anything less than 10mph over the limit. If you are going 75mph in 65mph, odds of you getting stopped are almost nil. That said, technically, they can write you a ticket at this point, so it's up to you to decide if you want to risk it. And it kind of goes up from there. In Florida, I drove 90mph without worry, because there were still cars passing me. On the other hand, I've been fined for 77 in 65 driving in Ohio.

 

Quality of drivers also varies from state to state. Having driven along the entirety of both coasts and quite a bit in the middle, California has absolutely the worst drivers. Possibly the only state where the guy's going to cut you off because he didn't even bother to look before changing lanes, let alone signal. As in, this happens frequently enough that you should be expecting it. In the rest of the country, just expect people to start changing lanes suddenly and without signaling, fail to respect right of way, or just generally do something stupid. US is not bad by standards of, say, Central America or Eastern Europe, but it's absolutely horrible by standards of North Europe. If you compare it with Southern Europe, you lose some, you gain some.

 

I have no basis to compare US driving with UK, but, of course, don't forget you're in the colonies.

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Hmmm nice bike
On 9/1/2018 at 11:47 PM, MatthewIRL said:

Driving in America? Effing sucks man. The one country you actually have to drive in to get around. Effing pathetic man. We have no decent public transportation infrastructure.

Well, we have pretty good public transit infrastructure where I live (Chicago) and I don't need a car to get around, but the only other places I've been to here in the US with good public transit are New York and Boston. So obviously, it's confined to certain cities. But anywhere in Florida? Yeah, have fun with that. Public transit from the UK to the US is a downgrade (even the tube trains in London are far nicer and cleaner than any subway trains here, same goes for the stations).

 

On 9/1/2018 at 9:58 AM, LeeC2202 said:

Stop signs... if it says Stop, then that's the rule. People in the UK will happily just drive through a Stop sign if the road seems clear. That's probably guaranteed trouble in the US.

Well, that explains why some dickhead in London gave me a dirty look when I was crossing at a stop sign and he had to stop. Didn't realize that wasn't mandatory in the UK, and I'll now be extra careful to not be run over by some idiot next time.

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Zello

 

You don't want to get on the subway lol

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Hmmm nice bike
2 hours ago, Zello said:

You don't want to get on the subway lol

In that case, he's lucky that the only trains in Orlando are at theme parks, lol.

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AndyC-M

thanks all,

 

when I go get the hire car will I need to take both paper and card parts of my license or will the card part only be enough?

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sivispacem

If you're UK based paper part has been phased out. You might need to print a companion from the DVLA website with a list of endorsements.

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Menstrual Deranged
On 9/1/2018 at 10:58 AM, LeeC2202 said:

Stop signs... if it says Stop, then that's the rule. People in the UK will happily just drive through a Stop sign if the road seems clear. That's probably guaranteed trouble in the US.

 

Mostly true but it depends on the city and/or the time of day.

 

Like when I'm in downtown Detroit late at night/early in the morning, there is no stopping for stop signs or red lights.

 

It's not that you couldn't get pulled over if there happened to be a cop sitting nearby; it's still considered illegal. But it's not uncommon for people to be waiting around a nearby corner to carjack you or worse.

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AndyC-M

Hi all, well i'm back from my holiday to Orlando, and I have to say, what an amazing experience that was, everyone was so polite and helpful, but with that in mind, Floridians cannot drive for toffee, some of you who stated that were right, and I thought people from Birmingham (UK) were bad, darting across 4 lanes, no indication, driving far to slow in the inside lane causing people to undertake.

 

the car I hired was nice, really wanted a Cadillac escalade but couldn't justify the extra $80 per day.

hopefully I'll be back in a few years time, but next time we want to fly to Miami first for a few days, then fly to Orlando.

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