Driving in the USA on a British driving license
  • I am heading off soon on a driving holiday in the USA. I assume it is fine driving on a UK license but are there any peculiarities about driving in the USA that are worth knowing? Thanks, M
  • Well, I have just returned from the USA having driven down from San Francisco to Las Vegas via LA. Driving is very straightforward - roads are well signed and drivers are more courteous than they are in the UK - as to my suprise Americans are generally. We hired a car from Avis, not different from doing it in Europe other than they speak the language -- although many words were foreign to them loo and brilliant! We also hired a sat nav which was well worth it. US hire companies are very used to drivers dropping off the car in a different city, and charge a small surcharge for this. Some tips: they drive on the right in the USA, they use miles (rather than km) and they stick pretty close to the speed limit. Speed limits are clearly marked and are usually 65mph on highways, although the one of the road to Vegas was 70mph. Traffic fines are high. We got stopped for going 85mph on a highway by a very stereotypical US cop - he was very simple, very large, but quite intimidating with his hand hovering over his gun so I didnt make any sudden moves. Luckily he couldn't get his head around my British license and let me off with a warning - the fine would have been $700. Drink driving in the USA is illegal but not as frowned upon as in the UK and other countries (so deaths are higher). Limits vary from state to state. Police do not typically carry breathalisers but do the 'walking in a straight line with your eyes closed' test as they did in the UK in the 70s.
  • how long am I allowed to drive on my UK license whilst in Texas ?
  • How old do you have to be to drive in America as a British Tourist. I am 21 with a full clean driving license since I was 18....
    But I have heard you need to be over 25...
    Thanks.
  • CattyAddy:

    You don't have to be 25 to drive in the US, you just need to be over 16 and have a valid license from your home country, accompanied by an International Drivers Permit (IDP). Many car rental companies insist you be 25+ to hire a car however.

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