Florida Guide > Hints and Tips
If you are from the UK, as you already know, Americans drive on the 'wrong' side of the road.
The times when you are more likely to make a mistake with this are when
you are tired, when you first set off in the morning and when you are
turning or pulling out of a driveway or garage/gas station. Take special
care to concentrate at these times.
All the rental cars are automatic so you don't have to worry about
changing gear but sometimes their handbrake is different to UK ones, i.e.
a foot pedal up under the dashboard. Make sure you understand the
controls of your rental car before you drive away from the rental
station and, if in any doubt, ask!
If you are the driver, make sure you carry your driving licence and
car rental documents with you at all times.
Some rental cars lock the doors for you automatically when you reach
a certain speed so don't wonder what is happening! If your car doesn't
do this for you, it is wise to lock them yourself manually.
Keep your windows closed as this helps your air conditioning to work
properly so that you stay cool and it also keeps bugs out of the car.
If you are parking, try to find a lit area or park under a light, if
Don't leave valuables, jackets, etc in the car interior or maps. Make
sure that you put these in the boot (trunk) of your car. Don't leave
your camera in your car as the heat inside when you return may have
ruined your film. Never leave kids alone in the car.
Like at home, there are speed restrictions which are sometimes
enforced by radar. Make sure you are under the speed limit or you risk
an on-the-spot fine. Note that some roads also have minimum speed
Yellow school buses have special rules in USA. If a school bus stops,
all traffic must stop in both directions until the school bus moves off.
If you are driving in the opposite direction to a school bus on a dual
or more carriageway, you don't have to stop.
If it rains, it is compulsory in Florida to turn on your headlights
at the same time was your windscreen wipers. If there is a storm and you
have difficulty seeing the road ahead, pull over and stop until
If you are pulled over by an officer, stay in your car and let the
officer approach you.
If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident or are bumped from
behind in a deserted or dark area and there is likely to be minimal
damage, indicate to the other driver to follow you. Drive to a populated
area (a garage/gas station is ideal) before you get out of the car.
Make sure that you follow the instructions on your rental agreement
and inform your car rental company if you have an accident.
The drink driving laws in Florida are extremely strict and driving
after drinking will invalidate your rental car insurance too. You are
not allowed to have alcohol in your car so, if you have this, make sure
that this is stored in the boot/trunk. Please don't endanger your life
or that of others - if you are going to drink, please don't drive!
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Page added on: 20 July 2004
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