Driving In The USA

A vast country with wide open spaces and good roads, the USA is an ideal country for exploring in a car. Here you will find some information that should help to make the experience an enjoyable one.

50 states make up the USA and laws can differ slightly from one state to another. It is advisable to ask your car rental company about any differences in rules while there are also a number of tour books offering information about each state. If you are driving in more than one state it is well worth investing in one of these. Troughout the USA motorists must drive on the right.

Generally driving in the USA is safe, but as is the case anywhere in the world, take sensible precautions such as keeping your valuables and possessions out of sight and don’t carry large amounts of cash and jewellery with you.

Some inner city areas should be avoided as cars driven by foreign tourists can sometimes be targeted. These areas have been well publicised in the past and drivers should plan their routes accordingly.

Driving Licences

There is no need to carry an International Driver’s Permit in the USA. Your valid driver’s licence is sufficient and valid for one year provided it includes a driver’s photograph. Foreign drivers should also have held their licence for a minimum of one year.

The minimum driving age if you are renting a car is 21 and in some areas, 25. Meanwhile, some rental companies also require special insurance for drivers over 70.

Seat Belts

Seat belts must be worn in the front and the back of the car and children need suitable restraint according to their age. It is possible to rent car seats from the car rental company, but these should be booked in advance.

The Road System

Generally roads are good, but bear in mind that the sheer expanse of the country is reflected in its long straight roads, known as Interstate Highways. It is strongly advisable to take breaks in your journey to keep yourself alert.

Speed Limits

In the US, speed limits vary from state to state and it is important to check them out in accordance with where you are Here are a few to give you an idea of how they can vary:


Speed limits are measured in miles per hour (MPH).

Rural interstates


Urban interstates


Other limited access roads


Urban districts



Urban Interstates


Rural Interstates


Other limited access roads


Other roads


Approaching school crossings


Business or residential areas





Hospital Zones


Urban Areas - Residential Zone


Urban Areas - Business Zone


Urban Areas - School Zone


Emergency Numbers

In the event of any problems while driving, phoning 911 will access the emergency services.

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