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Driving in Florida

Natalie Gomez
17th June 2015

Before setting off in your rental car for your family adventure, swot up on our tips for safe and stress-free driving in the States.

Swot up before setting off

Florida is undoubtedly one of the best places in the States for a roadtrip, and it’s no surprise that tens of thousands of families head there every year for fly-drive holidays. 

Most visitors already know that they need to drive on the right, but there are a number of other rules that will help make your driving experience safe and fun:

Don’t change gear: Most hire-cars in the US are automatic.

Not so fast: Florida speed limits vary: 70mph on Interstates (like I-4), 65mph on four-lane highways outside urban areas, 60mph on other state highways (like State Road 40).

You only need one licence: It is no longer obligatory to have an International Driving Permit in Florida, as was briefly the case last year. That rule was repealed in April 2013.

Children stay seated: Kids five or under must be in a car seat for journeys in Florida – rear-facing for babies under 12 months or 20lb. Over-12s can legally sit in the front.

Red does not always mean stop: Unless a sign specifically tells you not to, you can turn right through a red signal – if it is safe to do so – at junctions with traffic lights. Indeed, you are expected to. Local cars behind will toot if you wait unnecessarily.

Pay in advance: US gas stations expect you to pay for petrol before you fill up, either with a credit card at the pump, or at the till inside. Most hire cars take unleaded fuel.

Pay to save time: Florida’s Turnpike, which connects Orlando to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, is a toll road. It tends to be less busy – and faster – than other highways. The journey from Miami to Orlando costs around £10.50.

Look outside: A game of I Spy is more fun in a place where ‘A’ is for ‘Alligator’.

Take your technology: If car games fail, an iPad or portable DVD player will not.

More of what you love

Find great tips for hiring a car in Florida and check out our must-have checklist to help you plan your perfect Florida holiday.

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