Florida Guide > Hints and Tips
How Driving in Florida differs from the UK
Driving in Florida is very different from the UK. The speed limit is very strictly adhered to and they have many ways of catching speeding motorists, non of which you will spot so do be careful. Mostly they use helicopters to watch out for speeding and the first you will know if it is when a police car or bike pulls you over. NEVER, NEVER leave the country without paying your fine it will go on your immigration record and you may never be allowed an entry visa again.
Also on their roads undertaking is permitted as the usual rule is you pick a lane and stay in it, lane hopping is frowned upon. Only move out of your lane when you are about to leave a highway. You will notice the traffic lights are at the far side of a junction and not at the start of the junction so remember not to pull up to the lights – you will have gone through them – not a good idea when traffic goes at about 60 MPH on most of their roads. A 30MPH is almost unheard of in Orlando. Lucky them! You can make U-turns and there are special lanes on the left for doing so, but do be careful as people are not sure where they are supposed to be on these lanes, best take it very slowly. If you are not permitted to U-turn there will be a sign saying so.
You can turn right on a red light but do go slowly as pedestrians cross. If you get hooted by other cars at the lights it is probably because you have forgotten that you can turn right on a red light.
They are very used to using direction signs which specify north, south east or west so if you think this will be confusing it may be worth buying a small dashboard mounted compass. You will need very good reactions when you consider, you will be travelling at 60 MPH and the lights change to red, it takes quick reactions and good brakes to cope with that. Never try to jump the lights rather than stop – DON’T – the cars will set off from the other direction much quicker than they do in the UK and you will meet in the middle with quite a thump.
Another important law which we do not have is, you MUST stop at all road junctions that have a stop sign. Not a rolling stop but a complete stop. Even if you are the only person on the road. When you are following or approaching a school bus from the opposite side of the road, when the bus stops you must not overtake until the bus moves off. It is the law and children expect all traffic to stop while they alight from the bus and they are likely to run across the road from the bus.
Finally, drink driving is a very serious offence in America so best not to drink at all if you are driving as the blood alcohol allowances are very low.
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Page added on: 26 August 2011
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