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The Complete United States Driving and Rental Guide

The United States is usually more suitable for automobile compared to public transportations. Travelling by car is thus a good way to get around to see sights of the country, whether you are planning a complete road trip, or just using a leg of your trip by taking a car to visit the cities. Here is a guide we have prepared to help you familiarized yourself with driving in the USA.

  • Speed Limit and Traffic Signs
  • Seatbelt and Child Safety
  • Parking, Fuel and Toll
  • Traffic Violation
  • Driving Licence and Age Requirements

Speed Limit and Traffic Signs

Driving is on the right with the steering wheel on the left-hand side of the car. Since traffic rules differ from state to state, it is better to review the regulations for each individual state in which you are planning to drive. Pedestrians have the legal right of way in all states.

Speed Limit

The speed limit varies from state to state, butis of 65 miles per hour (equals110 km p/h) in the majority of the states. Speed limit is frequently monitored by radar guns.

Traffic Signs

Many US states comply with the same road signs standard, but some of the states and large cities such as New York City have adopted an extent of localization or a supplement. 

Although there is a variety of regulatory signs throughout different states, they are usually self-explanatory, with explicit wordings marked on the signs.

United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_StopStopUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Yield_Give_WayYield(Give Way)United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign__Yield_to_PedestriansYield to Pedestrians, New York CityUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Passing_Zone_EndsPassing Zone EndsUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Passing_Zone_BeginsPassing Zone BeginsUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_No_ParkingNo ParkingUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_No_Parking_Here_to_CornerNo Parking; Here to cornerUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_No_Parking_Except_SundaysNo Parking; Except Sundays

Among regulatory signs, there is one category which indicates ‘No Standing’, and may be unfamiliar for foreign visitors or international travellers. ‘No standing’ signs indicate that stopping temporarily to load or unload passengers is allowed, while parking is not allowed. The signs are also usually red on white, but local variations exist.

United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_No_Standing_Any_TimeNo Standing Any TimeUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_No_Standing_Any_Time_New_York_StateNo Standing Any Time New York StateUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_No_Standing_Cars_Towed_Away_BaltimoreNo Standing Cars Towed Away, Baltimore

Warning signs feature yellow background colour and black pictogram, with a few exceptions.

United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Road_Slippery_When_WetRoad Slippery When WetUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Curve_With_Speed_AdvisoryCurve With Speed AdvisoryUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Stop_AheadStop AheadUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Yield_AheadYield AheadUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Railroad_Crossing_CrossbuckRailroad Crossing(Crossbuck)United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Railroad_Crossing_AheadRailroad Crossing Ahead

Information signs provide guidance and feature rectangular shape.

United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Toll__Road_Pass_OnlyToll Road Pass OnlyUnited_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Toll_Road_Pass_or_HOV_2+Toll Road Pass or HOV 2+United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Toll_Costs_at_Intersections_or_HOV_2+Toll Costs at Intersections or HOV 2+United_States_of_ America_Traffic_Sign_Hospital_signHospital Sign

You may refer to this for the unified standard that is used by the states.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Seatbelt and Child Safety

Seatbelt Laws

All drivers and passengers are regulated by law to wear seatbelts. A fine applies if a driver or passenger is caught without a seatbelt on.

Booster Seat Laws

Even though regulations vary by state, almost all states require children to be in a child seat facing backwards in the front of a car, or facing forward in the rear. As a minimum guide, children should use a booster seat until they reach 36kg to 45kg or 145cm high. 

For a specific guidance regarding child safety rules, you may click here.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Parking, Fuel and Toll


You must always park in the direction of the traffic flow on the near side of the road. Often, parking spaces are diagonally aligned and ‘head-in’, which means the front of your car must be facing the pavement (sidewalk).

· Parking Restriction

In some cities, parking restrictions are indicated by the kerb colour; for example, a red kerb indicates no parking at any time, a yellow kerb may signify a limited truck loading zone, a green kerb indicates a limited parking period, a blue kerb for disabled parking only, and a white kerb passenger loading and unloading. No parking areas, for example, at street corners, may be indicated by yellow lines. Therefore, you should always read all pavement markings carefully.

United States Red Kerb No Parking(Image from aarestriping.com)

United States Yellow Lines No Parking(Image from merchantcircle.com)

United States Yellow Kerb Loading Only(Image from timeout.com)

 · Paid Parking

Parking in most cities and towns isn’t usually a problem and on-street parking is usually metered, along with permissive parking signs specified with a restricted amount of time. It’s advisable for you to estimate your parking time and reserve a bit more parking fee as a precaution to avoid the fine for overtime parking. 

The signs are green and white, and local variations do occur with additional information or slightly different designs. 

United States Traffic Sign Parking with Time RestrictionsParking with Time RestrictionsUnited States Traffic Sign Parking With Time Restrictions (New York City)Parking With Time Restrictions New York City

Fuel Prices

The average price for USA gasoline and diesel during July to October 2017 is US$0.74.


It has more than 5,000 miles of toll roads in the USA. From bridge and tunnel tolls to express and high occupancy lanes, most states have some sort of toll road system. 

Nowadays most tolls are collected electronically via transponders that are typically placed on the windshield of the vehicle. As many toll roads no longer accept cash. It is recommended to check the individual websites of each state's toll system to inform yourself about the payment options along with your route. 

If you are hiring a vehicle from Enterprise, National or Alamo in the USA, you can review and pay the tolls online via Highway Toll Administration site; if hiring from Avis or Budget, you can check the e-toll site. For Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty and Advantage, toll charge can be checked on PlatePass.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Traffic Violation

DUI Laws

Depending on states, drivers are charged with a fine or a crime with 0.08% or 0.05% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit by volume. 

Traffic Fines

Extra care should be applied to abide speed limit when driving in the United States, as speeding fines can be ranging from $36 to $1000 for first-time breaker states by states. A Nation-wide average speeding ticket is US$150

Failing to understand and follow the parking signs will potentially result in a hefty fine. This is especially the case for big cities like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. For example, stopping, standing or parking where signs, road markings or traffic control devices do not permit you to do so will incur a fine of US$115 in New York City. In San Francisco, obstructing traffic without a permit in San Francisco will result in a fine as high as US$1000

Failure to pay traffic infringement fines will likely result in your car rental company collecting the fee from you, with an additional administration charge. These policies are generally illustrated in the terms of the contract on which you signed at the rental desk. For any further questions concerning these matters, you are welcomed to contact EasyRentCars’ 24/7 customer service team for assistance.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Driving Licence and Age Requirements

To drive in the United State, the driver must have a valid driving licnece that has been held for at least 1 or 2 years(according to different car hire company). The licence must be valid at the time of rental, and remain valid throughout the rental period.

The minimum age to rent a vehicle in most locations in the U.S is 21 years (age may vary by state and car category), and the driver must have a valid driver's license held for at least one year. For certain specialty and larger-sized vehicles, the minimum age of 25 years of age applies. If you're 21-25, you are likely to have to pay a young driver fee which is about $25-per-day to $50-per-day.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. EasyRentCars.com will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Best car rental deals in United States

Best rates found by EasyRentCars users in the last 30 days.

Frequently asked questions

Q1.What is an insurance excess?

The excess is the amount you'll only be liable for in case of damage(under Collision Damage Waiver) or theft(under Theft Protection) of the vehicle.
Information about the excess will be clearly stated in the price inclusion when you reserve a car on EasyRentCars.

Q2. How can I add an addtional driver?

You are advised to make a request upon your arrival at the rental counter. Additional charge per day will incur unless '1 Additional Driver Included' is stipulated on the rental.
Please note that the same licence and age requirement applys to the additonal driver. The addtional driver is supposed to present the required licence document along with the main driver at pickup.

Q3.What if I want to pick up or drop off my rental car out of office hours?

EasyRentCars will show you the car offers available at your chosen time on the search results.
However, pick-up or drop-off out of general opening hours may subject to an extra fee unless self-service pick-up or drop-off is available.
After you reserve a car on EasyRentCars, we will inform you of specific policy of the car hire company by email.

Q4. Can I take the hired car to another country or cross border?

If you want to pick up your car in one country and drop it in another, your search results will show you cars you can do that with.
If you're planning to cross any borders during your trip, bear in mind:
1. You may have to pay more.
There are often extra fees, taxes or additional cover you'll pay at the car hire counter.
2.It may not be allowed.
Depending on where you're hiring, you may not be able to take your car to another country.
Please email us if you want to take your hire car into a different country during your trip, and we'll talk you through your options.

Q5. Can I pick up my car at one location and return it at different location?

Yes. You can pick up the vehicle in one place and drop it off in another. An ‘one-way fee’ will incur. Whether it is inclued in the rental price or what additional cost may arise will be clearly stated at the time of booking on EasyRentCars.
Please inform the car hire company of your drop-off location when you pick up the vehicle or contact them directly during your trip. You will find a phone number on the rental agreement you signed at pickup.

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