Driving in Florida
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 That rule was repealed in April 2013.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.