Driving in America – HE

After 3000 miles of driving in the US mainland and another thousand also in Baja California I think it is time to reflect on some of the differences between driving here and back home in the UK.One of the main things to get used to his driving an automatic vehicle. The lack of responsiveness of these vehicles makes decision-making whilst driving more challenging than with a manual gearbox.

Roundabouts and junctions

We have only seen half a dozen roundabouts in all of our travels in the US. Back home it’s great because everybody knows how to use them, whilst here in the US they are scary places with stop or yield signs and with other drivers who struggle to know when to give away or not.

Junctions here in the US have been quite challenging for me. When you have no traffic lights on the junctions or just stop lines who has priority? Which side is supposed to give way? I’m sure if you’ve been brought up with this system it’s easy to understand but there has been very little logic to who goes first, second and third.

Also when at a red light you are allowed to turn right as long as the junction is clear, which is so different from being back in the UK. It always seems strange sneaking through a red light when jaywalking is illegal.

Styles of driving are interesting. In the countryside and on small roads everyone is courteous and generally stays just within or just over the speed limits, however on the major interstates particularly around the city is this is not the case!

Driving round the 5 to 7 lane city motorways has proved to be quite scary. Road and lane markings have been incredibly indistinct.

Some people just sit in the outside lane chugging along at 65 miles an hour whilst other people pretend they think they’re in a video game and zip between lanes missing cars ahead or behind them by only a few feet it’s incredible. And they are doing this at around 85 to 90 mph.

It’s no surprise there are a large number of accidents.

Lorries (trucks) don’t seem to have speed limits either they were regularly clocking up 75 to 80 miles an hour and overtaking on the inside of cars.

Still haven’t had an accident yet. Which is a good thing.


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