Florida Guide > Travelling
Driving in Florida-11
I have been travelling to Florida since 1980 and although I can drive I had never driven stateside. This was mainly because I was worried about driving on the right hand side of the road in an automatic car. I was also concerned that I might get lost trying to read the American sign posts!
When we bought our beautiful villa in 2005 I decided it was about time to address the matter. I would let my husband drive on the first day and then I would have a go myself.
The next day came and although I was looking forward to driving I was a little nervous. My husband sat next to me and went through all the controls and showed me where everything was. This all seemed easy enough. We decided that the best thing to do was drive around the block a few times and get the feel of the car. Once I felt comfortable driving on the right hand side of the road I decided to go to Wal-Mart to get some groceries. This was only a few minutes away, so off I went.
I drove to the end of our road and came out on to the US-27, checked the road and made my manoeuvre. I was at last driving in Florida and was surprised how easy it was. Although my first journey was a short journey, I felt very relaxed and didn’t worry at all about parking and making turns.
I wanted to go to Downtown Disney later and this time I didn’t hesitate to jump in the car. I don’t know what I was so worried about. I have found that driving in Florida is an enjoyable experience and actually quite relaxing, especially compared to driving in the UK.
To help your confidence driving in another country for the first time it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with their road signs, speed limits and road regulations before you set off. I have put together below some basic information about driving in Florida that you may find useful.
- Americans drive on the right.
- Waiver (CDW) insurance can be expensive but is essential as it covers you for every tiny scratch to your hire car, which would otherwise be charged to you, irrespective of who was at fault.
- Petrol (gas) is cheaper than the UK. Many filling stations require you to pay before you fill up.
- The fastest routes are the multi-lane interstate freeways (equivalent to the UK motorways). These are designated by an ‘I’, e.g. I-4.
- The next fastest roads are the highways. These have a US designation, e.g. US-1.
- Drinking and driving is a serious offence and you can be locked up until you have taken a urine test, or lose your licence on the spot. Any alcohol carried in your car must be unopened and placed in the boot (trunk). The best advice is don’t drink and drive!
- The maximum speed limit is 65mph. On ordinary highways and busy freeways this is reduced to 55mph. In built up areas the speed limit is 30-35mph.
- You can turn right on a red light as long as the way is clear and there are no signposts advising otherwise.
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