Driving In the US



Traffic Regulations

Every state in the US has its own set of traffic regulations. Many of these laws are the same; however, you will need to acquaint yourself with the finer points depending on the State in which you will be driving.  


The US has a good network of roads. There are a number of toll ways called "turnpikes". You will be given a ticket as you approach a turnpike. If you reach the end of a turnpike in a certain amount of time, you could be given a ticket for speeding. Local transport representatives will be able to give you information about various turnpikes across the country.

Always carry a map of the routes in the US. That will help you get around with ease and efficiency.   

All highways running north to south are odd-numbered and those running west to east are even numbered. Highways close to the Canadian border and numbered between 1 and 94 while those close to Mexico are numbered between 1 and 8 and 1 and 10.  

Membership of the AAA

The AAA (American Automobile Association) offers certain benefits to its members. There is a network of offices spread across the country. As a member of the AAA, you will have access to help with tourist maps, routes and discounts.   

Driving License

You may drive with a valid national driver's license in the US. However, you should have held the license for at least one year. An International Driving License will be necessary only if you do not have a valid national driving license. 

Carry your driving license, passport, vehicle registration and certificate of insurance with you at all times. If your license does not have a photograph, you must carry your passport. Carrying a valid photo ID with your license is mandatory.

Every state has its own laws so do check to see what they are if you would like to get a US driving license. Usually it would entail the following:

• Visit a DMV office (make a prior appointment for a faster service).

• Submit the completed application form, along with the fee.

• Give a thumb print and have your picture taken.

• Required: original passport, social security number and proof of date of birth.

• Appear for the written test.

Once you pass the written test, you have to take an eye test right away. You will then be issued a temporary permit. If you have never held a license before, you may use this permit to practice driving with an accompanying adult, who is 25 years of age or older, with a valid state license. Driving alone is illegal.

After this, you may take classes from an instructor and once you are comfortable in driving, you can fix up an appointment for the road test. 

Road test procedure:

A driving test where an instructor will test your driving skills to see how carefully and safely you drive in 10-15 minutes. It is a 100 points test, and minimum 70 is passing. There are 3 attempts in case you are unable to pass. Should you fail the 3rd time also, you have to reappear for the written test. When you pass the driving test you will be issued an interim license which is valid for 60 days. In the meantime the original photo license will be sent via mail. 


Roads connecting different states in the country are known as interstate highways. You may have to pay toll to use some of these highways. 

Always carry a map of the route you plan to travel. Planning ahead of your trip is a good idea.

"Rush Hour" is the worst time to travel by road in most US cities. You could be stuck in traffic for hours with little to no movement. Usually rush hour lasts from 7-9 am and 5-7 pm.

Seat belts are a must for travelers in the front and back seats. Child car seats are mandatory for children under a certain weight. 

The US has excellent facilities for disabled drivers and cars designed for special needs are manufactured by Avis, Hertz and Budget.

Remember to keep your headlights on if it is raining. 


Accidents due to fatigue and drowsiness are common; particularly if you have to travel long distances. This is precisely why you should carry the adequate amount of food and water to stay hydrated.

Do not stop the car to help hitchhikers. 

Do not carry large amounts of jewelry and cash with you while traveling. 

Avoid traveling in neighborhoods that are known to be dangerous, particularly late in the night. 

Adhere to speed limits. Do not attempt to argue with traffic police. Always pull over when asked to, turn off your engine and remain seated in your car. Be polite and do not try to argue or bribe an officer.

Drinking and driving laws in the US are strict and violations are treated very seriously. 

In Case of An Accident 

Emergency services in the US are very efficient and in case you are involved in an accident call the emergency number:

Fire/Ambulance/Police: 911. 

An ambulance will arrive and take care of the situation almost immediately.