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Florida Guide > Travelling

Driving Safely

Although we are all feel we are very capable and competent drivers whilst driving around during our daily lives here in the UK, driving when on holiday can be a very different experience.

Nowhere better to start then, than in Orlando where the roads are big and wide and the speed limit is slower than here in the UK.

Think very carefully about the type of car you would like to have for your holiday. Not only will it need to be big enough for all the passengers but you will need to ensure that it has enough space for your luggage too. Many families have been caught out because they had not allocated enough space for their suitcases!

Driving is on the right in the US and although this seems a bit daunting at first, you will very quickly adapt. As all the controls are also the other way around – driving seat, gear stick etc, it’s amazing how your brain gets used to adapting to the change in orientation. A good tip is to ask the car hire representative to talk you through the controls of the hire car. They can be different to here in the UK. Even things like how to unlock the petrol cap can easily throw you if you’re not sure where to find the release lever in a strange car.

Put your liscence and documents in the glove compartment. You will need to keep these with you at all times when driving around.

Try to book a car that is fully tanked up with fuel so you don’t need to worry about petrol at first. When you do need to fill up with ‘gas’ it’s just as easy as here in the UK although most pumps have a pre paid credit card option which you can operate at the pump itself – that’s really great. You’ll have a very pleasant surprise at the very low cost of gas, too.

As you set off on your first trip – from the airport to your villa –ask for quiet in the car. You will need to concentrate and noisy passengers can be a distraction. Ask your front seat passenger to help with navigation, and also have some loose change ready for the tollbooths.

The doors to your car will probably lock automatically as you gather speed so don’t panic if you hear a clunking sound. The car often gets hot when left empty. Don’t be tempted to drive around with the windows open. Use the air conditioning which only takes a minute to cool down the car.

Most road rules are pretty self –evident but there are a few unique rules which UK drivers may not be used to. At a red traffic light, you can turn right unless there is a clear sign telling you not to. This takes novice drivers by surprise sometimes. Make sure you look and give way if necessary though! !

If you see a yellow school bus you must stop unless you are traveling towards it on a duel carriage way.

When parking on a street, you must be facing the direction of the traffic. We have been caught out y this rule and you will be fined. Similarly, always drive into a parking bay –don’t reverse, as your number plate must be clearly visible and in the US they are usually only on the back of the car.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 6 April 2008
Viewed 3623 times since 1 September 2008.

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