mercoledì 16 ottobre 2013

USA on the road: some tips for your travel

Here I am with other advices for  "USA on the road."
The experience teaches, and it is always good to look for info, especially in situations where you are not so sure of doing the right thing.
For this reason, I think it is appropriate to give you some tips on how to behave and what you have to know when you decide to start a journey "on the road" in the United States.

Some time ago there was the (false ) myth that driving on the roads of the United States was quite dangerous and therefore not very advisable unless you have 3 or 4 people per crew .
Nothing could be further from the truth , as already mentioned. Driving in the U.S. is simple and not risky at all, if you are careful to follow the rules and behave properly.

  • Speed ​​limits : limits on all the roads are always well marked. It is better to respect them unless you want to be chased by a  blaring police car ( and I assure you that it happens just like that). Be aware though that on some highway there are also the minimum speed, meaning that you will not have to go slower than the marked speed. It is not a joke!

  • GPS: as I have already said when talking about the car rental, I recommend that you always bring a satellite navigation system. It's a suggestion that I give whenever you want to move in a country that you do not know , but here more than in other places it is needed. Especially for the fact that it is not always so obvious which exit to take to reach a certain place and there is not always someone on the street to ask for information about.

  • Cruise control : when you rent a car I recommend that you check to have the cruise control function. I can assure you that you will use it a lot, especially over long distances. In the Midwest is almost essential and even if available, it would be better to have an autopilot! :-)

  • Parallel lanes: In the U.S. people drive in parallel lanes, so beware that you can overtake other vehicles on the right or on the left. Usually you stay in a lane for hundreds of kilometers, the wild zig-zag  is not widely practiced. I only happened to see cars suddenly change lanes while in Florida, where there is a  more "sportyconcept of driving than elsewhere.

  • Car Pool lanes : on expressways and highways running along the big cities there is a fast lane for cars that have two or more passengers on board. It is the far left lane, and it is usually used for a certain number of hours each day (peak hours, for instance). This would discourage the use of the car with the driver only and to encourage instead the car sharing. Remember this, because the left lane is really much faster and free from traffic jams, especially as it is divided by a protection so it is not possible to exit or enter at any time.

  • Rest areas : along the highway you will find many rest areas . Areas are equipped with toilets, vending machines for snacks and drinks and organized outdoor areas for picnics. Some of them have a hospitality center in which to find brochures and information on the most interesting attractions of the state where you are. They are always very well kept and the toilets are very clean . If you think about how many people walk by every rest area on a daily basis , you really must congratulate the organization that is responsible for cleaning and maintenance. There is a very useful site that allows you to identify how many miles until the next rest area from where you are : Interstate Rest Area . I use it often and it is really accurate. Do not expect the parking areas as those in Europe with a bar or a shop. Only in some cases you will find similar areas, much attended by truck drivers; they will not be along the highway , but you will have to get out of the way to reach them (they are still just off the motorway and are well indicated) .

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