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Driving in USA | Car Hire Guide

Driving Guide USAWhen hiring a car in the USA, and enjoying all the sights which America has to offer, you must be aware of some of the country’s driving rules and regulations. These may differ from the UK, yet once you understand them, this will make your journey more relaxed.

Checklist for driving in the USA:

  • You may use your national driving license as long as it is a language which uses the Roman alphabet. For other licences, you should also show an additional International Driving Permit in English as well as your license.
  • Your passport

Speed Limits

  • 15 miles per hour limit in front of schools and crèches when the warning light flashes.
  • 65 miles per hour is the maximum speed outside Built-up areas.
  • 70 miles per hour on Motorways.
  • A decreasing or increasing speed limit is always indicated by signs along the road.
  • Speed limits outside of the town can be ignored by certain rivers so be aware of fast vehicles surrounding you. Despite the 65-70 miles per hour being the maximum speed, people may exceed this by around 10 to 20 miles per hour.

Seat Belt Regulations

In most states, it is required that drivers and front seat passengers wear seat belts. It is also essential that children wear seat belts in the back seats. Alongside this, booster and baby seats are also mandatory.

Toll roads

There are toll roads, known as turnpikes, within the US. Always make sure you have some change of US currency spare and some toll booths even accept credit and debit cards.

Across borders

If entering from Mexico or Canada, you are unable to bring agricultural items into the USA. These include meats, fruits, vegetables, plants and soil. Also drugs and medication must be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.


  • It is not illegal to undertake (overtaking on the inside/right hand side) on the freeways. So drivers should be aware of vehicles on both sides.
  • You will be driving on the right hand side of the road.
  • Drink driving is strictly prohibited in the country, so do not even consider drinking and entering your hired vehicle. The limit is extremely low at 0.05%.
  • Due to the many different states in the USA, there are different laws, so be aware of the different regulations of you destinations before you enter the area.
  • Be aware of time zone changes when travelling, make sure you realise when the time zone changes so you can arrange accommodation etc.
  • You pay for your petrol before you refuel your vehicle.
  • You must wait for a green light before setting off from a traffic light, do not go on amber.