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  1. #1
    Testimonial Due Colr's Avatar
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    Driving in the USA

    Considering a flydrive holiday in the US but Iíve never driven abroad.

    Anyone have any experience or advice (e.g. forget the whole thing)?


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  3. #2
    @hibs.net private member speedy_gonzales's Avatar
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    I've driven over in Florida for 6 holidays, find it very easy and straightforward.
    When on freeways/interstates you can overtake on either side.
    Familiarise yourself with 4-way junctions.
    Be prepared to take a right turn at a junction, even if there is a stop light (treat it as a give way) unless there is a sign stating no turn on red.
    When I first drove over there, I had never driven an auto but found it fairly simple. I now drive an auto so it's one less "unfamiliarity" to worry about.

    PS, the first time I went, the car rental dude asked who was driving out of the wife and I, I took the keys and without missing a beat, the guy said "if you're not sure what side of the road we drive on,,,, keep the witch in the ditch!",,,, charming!

  4. #3
    @hibs.net private member Dalianwanda's Avatar
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    I found it pretty easy & at the time, although I could drive I didnt have a car in UK so wasnt driving at home. Drove from San Fran down to San Diego & dodged around LA for a few days. If I could do it then, anyone could

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    Considering a flydrive holiday in the US but Iíve never driven abroad.

    Anyone have any experience or advice (e.g. forget the whole thing)?
    Never driven in the States, but personally I found driving abroad for the first time pretty stressful though it was a long time ago and I probably wasn't a very good driver full stop. Just getting used to everything being on the opposite side was the biggest challenge - especially as you're basically picking up an unfamiliar car and heading straight out into traffic. If there's any space available to have a wee test run around the car park that might help put you at your ease!

  6. #5
    Private Members Prediction League Winner Hibrandenburg's Avatar
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    Drove a 29ft RV from New Jersey to San Francisco via Canada. No problems whatsoever. This video explains the main differences but I disagree about the satnav. Just be very careful in roadworks, if you hit a worker you could go to jail for a long time.

    https://youtu.be/V5en5drz5N0

  7. #6
    I only want to say the Scottish Cup is in the bag... Sir David Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibrandenburg View Post
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    Drove a 29ft RV from New Jersey to San Francisco via Canada. No problems whatsoever. This video explains the main differences but I disagree about the satnav. Just be very careful in roadworks, if you hit a worker you could go to jail for a long time.

    https://youtu.be/V5en5drz5N0
    Just fly home before the police are able to charge you and then claim diplomatic immunity and you'll be fine.
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  8. #7
    @hibs.net private member PeeJay's Avatar
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    Driven a few times in the States, never had any problems. You will be overtaken on the right and left on freeways, so stay alert. Not everybody sticks to the rules, and they do speed, I tend not to - I am usually on vacation, after all.

    The HOV/carpool lanes (i.e. at least 2-passengers) on freeways are a great way of progressing as everyone else sitting alone in their car have to use the other highly-congested lanes.

    At "unmarked" crossroads, the car that gets there first generally has the right of way, if two cars arrive at the same time, give way to the one to your right - if it's a big truck, give way, if they have a gun give way

    By the way if you are thinking of starting a journey early in the morning to beat the rush hour - you best start at 3 or 4 as at ca. 5 in some major conurbations you will be in the early rush hour ...

    If a policeman stops you for any traffic offence, do not get out of the car unless told to do so, show your hands and generally don't do anything that might get him/her jumpy ...

    Always rent/hire your car directly at the airport, never in the city - you will wait hours until somebody picks it up for you - out at the airport..

    I drive in Germany, so driving in the US was relaxing and a piece of cake ... enjoy it wherever you go and stay safe -
    .... Die spinnen, die Briten ....

  9. #8
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    I first did it 18 years ago at the ripe old age of 24.

    It feels a bit clunky at first. I was staying with an ex-girlfriend’s brother who lived between Silicone valley and San Francisco in a wee cul de sac and he lent us his 2nd car. I drove round and round the block a huge number of times to get the feel for the car before taking to the main road (this is the number one thing I’d recommend).

    Before I knew it I was driving during rush hour on freeways that had iirc 7 lanes, I was driving right into the centre of San Francisco, drove the Pacific highway, accidentally missed my turn and found myself going over the bay bridge a couple of times.

    I love driving in the USA and my dream holiday would be to drive around seeing more of it.

    It’s fine, but I was really apprehensive at first. Find a quiet spot to get the hang of the car before meeting other vehicles (if that is possible).
    Last edited by Smartie; 15-01-2020 at 02:59 PM.

  10. #9
    4 way stop signs are weird. The really weird thing is that Americans all seem to instinctively know whose turn it is even when all 4 ways are simultaneously busy.

    Other than that, it's pretty straightforward. The car will 99% likely be an automatic. I find that easier if anything, but if you're not used to it, tuck your clutch foot out of the way so as not to hit the brake by accident.

    Where are you thinking of going? We did Vegas->G canyon->Bryce canyon->Zion->Vegas a couple of years ago and that was awesome, and easy driving.

  11. #10
    Testimonial Due Colr's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    Iím considering taking the arseache out of organisation and going through Trailfinders but San Fran, LA and national parks would be good. Coast road is supposed to be good.

  12. #11
    @hibs.net private member ronaldo7's Avatar
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    The only issue I had was a diversion whilst going from Dayton Ohio down to Florida. The diversion in Kentucky took us through some very spooky backwater Hillbilly towns. We were glad to get back into the main route after an hour. It's a doddle though. You'll love it.


    SCOTLAND CAN.

  13. #12
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    Thanks.

    Iím considering taking the arseache out of organisation and going through Trailfinders but San Fran, LA and national parks would be good. Coast road is supposed to be good.
    The coast road is amazing. We stopped in Santa Barbara along the way, which was very nice (although stopping in a Californian college town was probably more appealing to my 24 year old self than today's one).

    Just make sure you have the right music with you, the radio signal isn't great. We had 2 cassettes - the greatest hits of Neil Diamond and Garth Brooks sings Christmas songs..........

  14. #13
    Testimonial Due Cataplana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    4 way stop signs are weird. The really weird thing is that Americans all seem to instinctively know whose turn it is even when all 4 ways are simultaneously busy.

    Other than that, it's pretty straightforward. The car will 99% likely be an automatic. I find that easier if anything, but if you're not used to it, tuck your clutch foot out of the way so as not to hit the brake by accident.

    Where are you thinking of going? We did Vegas->G canyon->Bryce canyon->Zion->Vegas a couple of years ago and that was awesome, and easy driving.
    Four ways are the ones I struggle with. The rule is you proceed according to who got their before you.

    I'm like you, it seems the do it instinctively, but you should see them handling the few roundabouts there are - clueless.

  15. #14
    @hibs.net private member Hibby70's Avatar
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    Drove in Orlando last year and it was really easy even although we'd been upgraded to a Ford Explorer which felt huge.

    Found it useful to "virtually drive" a few trips on Google Street view to get some familiar markers and a general feel of being on the other side of the road. Turning Right at a red feels odd the firsts time but no problems afterwards.

    If your car doesn't have satnav worthwhile downloading an offline map on Google maps for the area you'll be in. Also preload any destinations.

  16. #15
    @hibs.net private member Peevemor's Avatar
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    For my first couple of years across here I found myself going to the wrong side of the car (and sometimes opening the wrong door) nearly every morning and sleepily wondering where the steering wheel had gone.

    The driving thing's pretty straightforward as long as there are other cars around to keep you right. The only time I found myself on the wrong side of the road was at 5.00am when there was nobody else on the road and I turned the wrong way coming out the hospital car park after the birth of my elder daughter.

    I've never driven an automatic so I can't comment on that.

  17. #16
    @hibs.net private member McD's Avatar
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    Lots of great advice here, Iíd reiterate the stop sign stuff.

    they take stop signs very seriously there, and from my limited experience itís not unusual to see cop cars hanging around 4 way junctions. Always stop, and come to a complete halt for a few seconds just for posterity, even if there is no other traffic in sight.

    it would be handy if you have a passenger who is happy to help with navigation (even with satnav), so you can concentrate on the road.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by McD View Post
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    Iíd reiterate the stop sign stuff.

    they take stop signs very seriously there, and from my limited experience itís not unusual to see cop cars hanging around 4 way junctions. Always stop, and come to a complete halt for a few seconds just for posterity, even if there is no other traffic in sight.
    Agreed. Simple rule, Stop at Stop signs.

  19. #18
    Testimonial Due Hibee87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeeJay View Post
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    Driven a few times in the States, never had any problems. You will be overtaken on the right and left on freeways, so stay alert. Not everybody sticks to the rules, and they do speed, I tend not to - I am usually on vacation, after all.

    The HOV/carpool lanes (i.e. at least 2-passengers) on freeways are a great way of progressing as everyone else sitting alone in their car have to use the other highly-congested lanes.

    At "unmarked" crossroads, the car that gets there first generally has the right of way, if two cars arrive at the same time, give way to the one to your right - if it's a big truck, give way, if they have a gun give way

    By the way if you are thinking of starting a journey early in the morning to beat the rush hour - you best start at 3 or 4 as at ca. 5 in some major conurbations you will be in the early rush hour ...

    If a policeman stops you for any traffic offence, do not get out of the car unless told to do so, show your hands and generally don't do anything that might get him/her jumpy ...

    Always rent/hire your car directly at the airport, never in the city - you will wait hours until somebody picks it up for you - out at the airport..

    I drive in Germany, so driving in the US was relaxing and a piece of cake ... enjoy it wherever you go and stay safe -
    I was rough on Sunday and found myself in little wormhole of watching American cops (I find zoneing out watching my phone makes me forget the hangover for a while).
    Anyway, you could not be more right r.e the cops. I must have watched dozens, if not over a hundred videos, and although I have seen injustice videos from their mental cops before, what an eye opener.

    One that slings to mind, a woman is pulled over for a traffic violation (not indicating). As one cop is talking to her, another comes to the passanger side (her husband. 2 kids in the back). Things seem fine except there is now 3 or 4 cars there, the reason being it's a known drug area (what that had to do with the offence I'll never know. They were Mexican in the car, maybe a bit of racial profiling).
    The cop asks the passanger for ID, he says I don't think I have any. He turns around and talks to the radio, passanger starts looking into a red rock sack. Cop looks back and my god. Starts going bezerk at the man. He explains he was looking for his ID (gun/razer now pointed at him, kids crying in the back). Officer asks for his name to which the guy is now rightly pissed actually says 'what for'? I'm the passanger, I don't need to show you anything. Few words are exchanged and the officer tells him to get out, guys seatbelt is still on and as he turns to undo the belt is jumped on and screamed at, now shouting for back up from other officers. Bit of hell breaking loose and they are trying to get the guy out the car, his belt is undone but still around one arm.
    Officer yells at him to 'stop tensing his arm' whatever that means, and threatens him with the taser again. 4 police not trying to get him out repeatedly shouting over him and his explaining his arms is trapped, kids screaming, the. He is tased. Tased a couple times and dragged out eventually but STILL caught in the belt, all the whil being tased and at the same time told to stop resisting arrest. Eventually his kid who was like 9 or 10 climbs in the front and unhooks the seat belt, cop was then shouting at the kid.

    The mum who was out the car is trying to see what going on and is also then huckked against the car, 2 kids crying saying 'please don't take my mummy, please stopnit' to which they are again shouted down.
    Man is on the ground with arms behind his back, not moving except saying 'i can't breath, I can't breath' all the while being tasered on and off (at one point the cop pulls his trousers down and Taser's his baw sack, and shouting to stop resisting. He was doing nothing of the sort.

    What amazed me most is the amount of police that were there for a simple traffic stop and how it escalated to that over nothing with none of the other cops seeing a bit common sense. From the comments the cop was disciplined (suspended for 3 days haha) while nothing happened to the other police present who also restrained. Absolutely mental.

  20. #19
    It's pretty easy. California drivers can be quite impatient and drive faster than most. But tbh the discipline is overall very good.

    I would recommend a mid size SUV, gives you a better view!

  21. #20
    @hibs.net private member Bristolhibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McD View Post
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    Lots of great advice here, Iíd reiterate the stop sign stuff.

    they take stop signs very seriously there, and from my limited experience itís not unusual to see cop cars hanging around 4 way junctions. Always stop, and come to a complete halt for a few seconds just for posterity, even if there is no other traffic in sight.

    it would be handy if you have a passenger who is happy to help with navigation (even with satnav), so you can concentrate on the road.
    Your last point is good. Been twice to the states since I could drive, but since my Dad and wife love driving I let them drive (I could also have a drink) and my job was navigator. If you can take your data abroad thatís good, just have google maps running. Most big hire cars now have sat Nav if not.

    J

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristolhibby View Post
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    Your last point is good. Been twice to the states since I could drive, but since my Dad and wife love driving I let them drive (I could also have a drink) and my job was navigator. If you can take your data abroad thatís good, just have google maps running. Most big hire cars now have sat Nav if not.

    J
    You can save areas in google maps to use offline - https://support.google.com/maps/answ...rm%3DiOS&hl=en

  23. #22
    @hibs.net private member StevieC's Avatar
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    Never driven in USA, but driven in Europe lots of times and managed okay. Roundabouts can sometimes throw you because your initial instinct is to look right for traffic and it will be coming from the left.

    As an aside .. the first time I drove in Europe was my early twenties when I had to drive all the way to Liege! I only had 2 days holiday left, and had to be back into work for the Friday, so basically had to drive straight there and straight back. Left for Dover after work on the Tuesday, overnight ferry to Zeebruge, arrived Liege about 2pm, straight back to Zeebruge after the game, early ferry back to Dover and back into Edinburgh late Thursday night. If ever there was a baptism of fire to driving abroad then that was it!
    But you know it ain't all about wealth,
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