What It’s Like to Drive in the USA Versus Europe
When you have a driver’s license and access to a vehicle, you can look forward to many benefits while traveling. Having the freedom to get around in your own vehicle can make a huge difference in many aspects of your life. For instance, going out to socialize becomes far simpler, travelling to visit family and friends becomes a breeze, and even getting work that involves driving becomes a possibility.
Another major benefit is that you do not have to rely on public transport, which can often be delayed and can prove costly as well as time-consuming. In fact, there are a lot of people who simply wouldn’t be able to manage without their car, as it would cause so many issues for them both in their work and personal lives. People these days not only drive in their own area, but many also prefer to drive when they visit another part of the world such as European destinations.
Knowing the Differences in Driving
If you have never driven outside of Europe before but you are keen to hire a vehicle and drive when you go on your next vacation to the United States, it is important to ensure you know what the differences are in driving. Knowing about the different driving styles will help to ensure you can get around safely even when you are driving abroad. So, here are some of the key notable differences:
The Red Lights System
If you are used to driving in North America, you will know that a red traffic light indicates who has right of way in the event that there is traffic coming from the other direction. However, if you drive in Europe, a red light means you must stop even if there is no traffic coming in the other direction. As soon as the light turns red, it is mandatory to stop even if the roads around you are empty. If you fail to stop and run a red light in Europe, you could be facing a hefty penalty.
Restrictions on Speed Limits
Whether you are driving in the USA or in Europe, there will usually be speed limits that are in place, and it is important to adhere to these both for safety and to stay within the legal speed limit. The speed limits can vary from place to place both in America and in Europe, so this is something you need to keep in mind if you are driving in a country you are not familiar with. However, it is worth keeping in mind that speed limits in Europe tend to be higher than in the United States. In fact, there is even the German autobahn, which does not have any speed limit in place at all.
Going Around in Circles
As a driver in the USA, you may not use roundabouts all that often, as there are not that many compared to European destinations. When you drive in Europe, you will find a huge number of roundabouts in many parts of the continent, and these are essential to help keep traffic moving and ease congestion. Some roundabouts in Europe can be extremely busy and can also be very daunting, so this is something you need to prepare yourself for. However, some are controlled via traffic lights, which makes them a little more manageable.
Whether you are driving in the United States of whether you are tackling the roads in Europe, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with road signs. These can vary widely in terms of appearance, as the signs in the United States have different origins to the ones in Europe. If you do intend to drive in Europe, you should make sure you learn more about the key road signs, as this will make it easier and safer for you to get around.
Penalties for speeding are in place in both the United States and in Europe. However, one thing to be aware of is that the penalties are often much stiffer in European destinations compared to the USA. You could be hit with much higher fines if you are caught speeding and you could also face having points put on your driving license. So, always make sure you know what the speed limits are and that you stick to them. Also, remember that many European destinations use discreetly installed speed cameras, so there doesn’t need to be a patrol car around for you to be picked up for speeding.
Driving with Greater Confidence
By learning more about the differences between driving in the United States and driving in European destinations, you can look forward to far greater confidence when you do get behind the wheel. You can also boost your safety levels and get around with far greater ease.