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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.

Age Restrictions:

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

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.

New York Driving Guide - Spend less, do more

Possibly the most famous city in the world, the “Big Apple” is truly a dream destination for any traveller. New York is filled with many famous attractions and can only really be explored thoroughly after numerous visits. That’s of course if you are lucky to visit the city more than once in your lifetime.

The most famous attractions include the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Coney Island and the Bronx Zoo. These probably can all be taken in if you stay in the city for a couple of days.

However, New York State has numerous attractions found outside the city limits of the Big Apple. Many of these make perfect day trips out of New York itself, especially if you want to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. So hire a rental car, set your GPS and discover New York State.

New York City to Long Island

2 hours to Long Island (51 miles) (82 kms)

Although the trip to Long Island is a relatively short one, it can take some time as the roads used will always be somewhat congested. A visit to Long Island is well worth it however. The New York City Burrows of Queens form part of Long Island, but two areas further east are not considered to be part of the city. These are areas at Nassau and Suffolk.

Many smaller towns are dotted throughout the area. These include Port Jefferson, Brookhaven, Hempstead, Huntington, North Fork and Oyster Bay. Each town has their own unique charm.

Tourist attractions incorporate Jones Beach State Park, Montauk State Park, Lido Beach as well as numerous wineries including Duck Walk Vineyards.  The area is also home to some museums with the Museum of American Airpower a favourite for history buffs. Other cultural attractions include Heckscher Museum of Art, Sag Harbor Whaling and History Museum, Nassau County Art Museum and the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium.

Long Island accommodation is plentiful, with options to suit most pockets. Cheaper overnight accommodation might be slightly harder to find but will include bed and breakfast establishments, motels and some hotels.

New York City to Orange County

2 hours 10 mins (65 miles) (104 kms)

Orange County, situated in the Hudson Valley is located north of New York City. Many of the State of New York’s top attractions are found in and around this area. It is also home to the West Point Academy, the pride of the American military.

The beauty of this spectacular part of the United States is the sheer diversity of things to do. Hike the world famous Appalachian Trail, travel down the Delaware River by raft or visit Newburgh, a fort built by George Washington and the first registered national landmark in the United States. In fact, numerous other historical buildings are found throughout Orange County. These include Bull Stone House (built in 1722) and Hill Hold (a stone farmhouse built in 1779). If shopping, eating and trying fine wines are more your thing, Orange Country won’t disappoint.

Accommodation in Orange County includes camping sites, bed and breakfasts establishments, traditional inns, motels and hotels. Be sure to find something, however, you definitely will not only be staying for one day once you discover all that this magnificent place has to offer.

New York City to Philadelphia

2 hours 21 mins (97 miles) ( 156 kms )

At a shade over two hours away, why not consider a trip to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? “Philly” is noted for its rich history. In fact, the Declaration of Independence was signed in the city. This document led to the formation of the United States on 4 July 1776.

The city is home to a historic city centre as well as the Liberty Bell, which it is said, was rung after independence was declared. The bell itself now stands in the Liberty Bell Centre in the Independence National Historical Park. This park also features the Independence Hall and Congress Hall.

Other attractions in the city include the Philadelphia Zoo, the “Please Touch” Museum (an excellent place to visit if you have children), the Museum of Art, the Eastern State Penitentiary and the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

Accommodation in Philadelphia is similar to most cities in the United States. It includes motels, hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, inns, and lodges.

At Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels we offer you great deals on a wide range of car rental and accommodations. By spending less, we really do believe that you will have more to do with the saving when you get there.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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