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Florida Guide > Planning your Trip

First time driving in Florida

If you are apprehensive about driving in Florida for the first time, here are a few pieces of information that I think may help.

Always carry your drivers licence in the car with you as this is the law in Florida and keep your rental papers in the glove box in case of emergencies as these are also your insurance documents. (It is also useful to keep you drivers license on you as an ID card which they expect us to be carrying and sometimes ask us for when using a credit card).

It will help greatly if you plan your routes before you leave on each journey. Do be aware that the maps supplied by rental companies are not to scale and some smaller roads are not even marked, so do not assume if you are looking for a turning off a road that it will necessarily be for example 4th left after John Young Parkway, it may be 5th or 6th if count all the small roads. The roads that cross over the main highway that you are on have sign posts that hang above the traffic lights at their intersection giving you the name of the road.

All exits on the interstate are marked with numbers but they run North, South, East and West so take note of the exit number you require but remember that for example, exit 30 may be East and exit 31 West, leading onto the same highway. If you have a compass it would be useful to take it with you. On normal dual carriageway highways it is legal to do U-turns if you have missed a turn off or if you wish to get to a shop or restaurant on the opposite side of the road. Remember always though that the traffic is coming from the opposite direction – easily forgotten when doing a U-turn.

When you are parking in a town on the street, do not park on the wrong side of the road, this is illegal and you could get a fine for this as you will if you park near a corner with kerb markings.

Lastly, a useful thing to remember is that traffic lights are in the middle of any intersection not at the beginning of it as they are in the UK so be prepared to stop before you get to them. Also, it is legal in Florida to turn right when the lights are red as long as the nearside lane is clear, there are no pedestrians crossing and there is no sign which states No Right Turn On Red.

Have a great trip and safe driving.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.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: 15 April 2009
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