The great American road trip – it’s the ultimate way to explore the USA. But, whether you’re taking on an epic such as Route 66, exploring the canyons of Utah and Arizona, seeking out Fall colours in New England or exploring California’s Pacific Coast Highway, there are some rules of the road that are well worth remembering. To keep you on the right road, our USA specialist George Clissold shares his top tips for a safe and memorable self-drive, stateside.
While some driving rules vary from state to state, some are consistent throughout the country. And, while many might seem like common sense, there are the odd one or two that might just catch you out:
Yes, there are toll roads in the USA, usually on the outskirts of cities. You can pay for these in cash or ask your car hire company for a toll payment transponder, which you can top up at your convenience.
If you see a curb painted red or yellow, or a bay is marked with diagonal white lines, parking is prohibited. If the lines are blue, this is usually a handicapped zone and you’ll need a permit.
Petrol, or gas as it’s known stateside, is cheap, usually around 40p per litre. Good news if you’ve hired a gas-guzzling muscle car. To fill up, pop to a gas station and your card will be charged for a set amount at the pump. You’ll then fill up and head inside where the original charge will be released, and the correct amount paid. Simple.
Of course, there’s a full range of car hire options for your USA road trip and the car you choose will come down to personal preference. Perhaps, for a California adventure, a convertible Mustang might be to your taste. Or, you might choose an SUV for a little more on-road security. However, it is worth remembering that they don’t really do small in the USA, so don’t expect to see too many Fiat Puntos in the rental centre parking lot. Also, when it comes to gears, automatic is the name of the game, allowing you to stick it in drive and concentrate on the traffic, all these new rules and those oh-so-breathtaking views.
When it comes to booking accidence and breakdown insurance, go for the most comprehensive cover you can. It really lowers the stress levels.
For driving in the USA, you’ll require:
And that’s about it. If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our USA specialists who’ll be happy to help. In the meantime, why not browse our USA self-drive holidays below.