Legal Law

Basic US Driving Laws

Driving in the US is a rewarding and disciplined experience. The various laws governing safe and responsible road use are strictly enforced, and it is never a good idea to break even minor laws, such as using a carpool lane as a normal passing lane. Follow all road signs, come to a complete stop when instructed to do so, and do not honk your horn unnecessarily; some cities prohibit the use of speakers. In addition, it is vital that your vehicle is insured, as court penalties for even minor damages and scratches can be unreasonably high.

With that said, let’s go over some of the basic driving laws in America.

Right-hand driving

All traffic is on the right side of the road, that is, the left side is reserved for passing. This should be fairly easy for most people in Europe and several Asian countries, but it can be quite confusing for those not used to this rule. Although the rules for turning at junctions may seem confusing, just follow the signs: RIGHT LANE, MUST TURN RIGHT, it means that. Remember to signal when changing lanes, although few Americans do. It will help you eliminate the mistakes you make when turning at junctions. As always, follow the road signs as they provide the simplest guides on how to turn and yield to other drivers.

For unmarked intersections, a simple first-come-first-serve rule applies. The cars come across the intersection in the same order they approached. At a red light, you may be able to turn right, but only if it is not expressly prohibited by a “DO NOT TURN RIGHT” panel.


To get to a store or anywhere on the other side of the road, you will have to make a U-turn. This could be difficult for beginners as traffic is approaching from the opposite direction and the part of asphalt where you can make a U-turn is marked only at intervals (not continuous). You must be careful to slow down before making the turn and wait until opposing incoming traffic has thinned enough to safely enter the creek. Do not perform this maneuver on roads where a “NO U-TURN” sign is present.

Speed ‚Äč‚Äčlimits and school zones

You must be careful about the legal speed limit for driving. A general speed of 55 mph to 65 mph will be adequate for most long-distance trips, while a speed of around 35 mph is safe for downtown areas. As you move into residential areas and school zones, you must be very careful!

During times when schoolchildren are likely to be on the roads, orange flashing lights will prompt you to slow down, usually from 15 mph to 25 mph. A sheriff will likely be watching motorists during this time, so follow all the rules and keep your speed down!

Here are some of the most common things to know before driving on US roads: DMV-approved traffic schools and online traffic school courses review all of these laws and several others. Remember to avoid obvious mistakes like drinking and driving, trying to get away from the police quickly, not wearing seat belts, and other errors in judgment. The laws are there to make America’s highways safe, so follow them!

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