Driving in the US

Driving in the US

Here are a few driving tips to help you…

For a safety conscious country we do find the lighting and the turns on their roads to be poor, especially in South Carolina. Junctions are difficult to see at night and you will find a lot of turns on highways which do not have slip roads so you can often find traffic grinding to a halt in the fast lane as someone slows to turn so beware!

Turn Right on Red… What?

You can turn right at a red light if the coast is clear unless the signs tell you otherwise.

Speed Limits

Speed limits are posted on most roads but the national speed limit is 55mph. They are particularly sensitive to people speeding in built up areas, especially in small towns. And the fines are huge.

Speed limits in towns and cities are progressive so, for example, if you are driving along a road with a 55 mph limit and you come to a built up area, the limit will reduce to 45 mph. As you get further into town it will drop to 35 mph and sometimes, as you approach a junction it can even reduce further to 25 mph so be vigilant.

Work Zone

Also, look out for reduced speed signs in work zones (roadworks to you and me). Penalties for speeding are severe and can include 30 days in the clink!

Wipers & Lights

If you are using your windscreen wipers you must have your headlights on by law.

School Bus

It is unlawful to pass a stationary school bus in either direction. If you see a school bus pull over and put his stop sign out this means you!

Filling up

Petrol, sorry, gas is a lot cheaper than in the UK so you don’t have to worry too much about mileage. Most petrol pumps have a credit card swipe system so you don’t have to go in and pay unless you wish to buy something.

Their pumps are a little different to ours but instructions are provided. Pay particular attention to the colour coding as the deisel and unleaded colours are the opposite of the UK.


Stop signs are everywhere and it is an offence not to stop. They are hotter on this than in the UK. ‘Yield’ is the same as our ‘Give Way’ but these you see less frequently.

Mobile phones

In most states it is still not illegal to drive whilst using your phone so you do come across some dippy drivers who seem to be in their own little world!

That’s all folks

Well that’s a few pointers for you. Roads are pretty straight for the most part so it is pretty much point and press.

Good luck and stay safe!


If you would like a quote or just want some additional information or advice please contact us. 

We spend almost half our time in the US, a lot of the time travelling which is why we do not publish a phone number.  We therefore prefer that you contact us via email but if you wish to speak by phone then please give us a time and a number and we will call you.

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