Driving Tips for U.S.
Driving in a foreign country can be daunting, especially if you don’t know the rules. If you’re planning on driving while in the United States, read the basics guidelines below.
You’ll need to bring your driver’s license and proof of insurance. Check with your insurance company to see if it will cover you for driving in a foreign country; otherwise, you will need to purchase insurance when you rent a car. The U.S. Government recommends you bring an International Driver Permit (IDP). The IDP is just a translation of your license into 10 languages; you must get an IDP in your home country before leaving, as the U.S. doesn’t issue them to tourists from other countries.
In the United States, laws vary by state, including the standard driving age. For instance, New Jersey makes kids wait until they are 17 to receive a license, while South Dakota allows kids as young as 14 to have a driver’s license (though it is restricted). On average, the legal age for a licensed driver is 16-years-old (or 16 ½), but check the laws for the states you’ll be traveling in to find out the legal age. Also, keep in mind that most rental companies won’t rent to young adults under 21 and have steep fines for those over 21 but under 25, so check with your car rental company for age restrictions.
Driving Rules and Regulations
- Drive on the right hand side of the road
- Give way to other cars on the left hand side of the road
- Always use indicator while turning
- Always give priority to emergency services vehicles
- Everyone in the car must be wearing a seatbelt
- Except hands-free system, mobile phones should not be used
- Illegal to carry radar detectors
- Always carry license while driving
- Should obey traffic signs
- Pedestrians generally have the right-of-way
Speed Limits and Fines
Speed limits also vary, but they are posted on roads in miles per hour. The normal speed limits on US roads are as follows:
- 113 km/h (70 mph) on highways
- 40 km/h (25 mph) in residential areas
School zones and construction zones often have lower speed limits posted, and fines can double or even triple in these zones. Fines can range anywhere from $30 up to $500, depending on where you are.
Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states, defined as a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08mg/ per 100ml. However, you can incur increased penalties with higher BAC, from 0.15 to 0.25, depending on the state. It’s best not to risk it, as you can receive a hefty fine (up to $2,000) and possibly jail time. You also may need to go before the court on a charge such as Driving Under the Influence, which is not something you would want to deal with while on vacation.
Be aware of "no parking" signs. Generally, parking on the street will be marked, such as “2 Hour Parking.” However, never park at a red curb, as those are restricted to emergency vehicle use. Also, pay attention to places you need to pay for parking; your car can be towed if you park without paying.
Though laws vary by state, you’ll find that many laws are similar across the U.S. Most roads are well-marked, so you should do just fine on your next road trip if you pay attention to the road signs.
Lahaina JHM Driving Guide - Spend less, do more
Situated on the western coastline of the island of Maui, Lahaina JHM is one of the most popular tourist towns on the island. It is filled with many nightclubs and restaurants as well as excellent shopping opportunities including craft items.
The bay near the town is also a popular anchor point for cruise ships, and although the beaches in the town are not as popular as some surrounding areas, they are still beautiful.
There are a few attractions in the town itself such as the Banyan Tree, the Sugar Cane Train and the Old Lahaina JHM Lau (where you can experience traditional fire dancing and authentic Hawaiian cuisine).
Lahaina JHM to Hana
4 hours (136 km) (81 miles) via Highways 36/360
Although the town of Hana, situated on the east coast of Maui is relatively small, the journey getting there takes you along some of the most breathtaking coastal roads in the world! Make time in your itinerary as you will be stopping along the route to take pictures… lots of them!
There are some places along the route that are well worth taking some time out to explore. These include the Garden of Eden (a 26-acre botanical garden situated between mile marker 10 and 11) and the Waikani Falls (located at mile marker 18 and 19).
Hana itself is surrounded by rainforests. Activities in the town include the Seven Sacred Pools and the Waianapanapa State Beach, a beach consisting of black, volcanic sand.
Accommodation options in Hana include condo’s, resorts, cottages and bed and breakfast establishments.
Lahaina JHM to Haleakala National Park
1 h 22 minutes (75.6 km) (47 miles) via Highways 36/37/377
Perhaps the greatest attraction in the Haleakala National Park is the Haleakala Volcano and the landscape surrounding it. The spectacular sunrises and sunsets that can be seen from the top of the crater of Haleakala are legendary!
The landscape surrounding the volcano is teeming with wildlife and some local vegetation and is well worth exploring. There are many hiking trails in the park itself which take you through different microclimates, from the desert-like appearance near the volcano to lush rainforests further away. The most popular of these are the Halemauu and the Keoneheehee trails.
Accommodation options in the Haleakala National Park include camping and cabins while lodges, resorts or hotels can be found in towns surrounding the park.
Lahaina JHM to Kapalua
25 minutes (16 km) (10 miles) via Highway 30
One of the most popular destinations on Maui, Kapalua is situated on the west coast not far from Lahaina JHM. This area is known for its beautiful bays and sun-soaked beaches including Kapalua Bay, DT Fleming Beach, Oneloa Bay and Honolua Bay.
Water sports are one of the main attractions in the area and include snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing and that Hawaiian favourite, surfing! Other attractions include hiking trails, ziplining and the longest suspension bridge in Hawai.
Accommodation options in the Kapalua include a full range of choices such as hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, villas and rental homes.
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