US driving laws for tourists

woman tourist taking photos

Learning the rules of the road when visiting a country can be challenge, and that’s aside from the legalities of being able to drive at all. If you’re visiting the United States, there are several laws for tourists and foreign nationals. Here’s everything you need to know. 

Short-Term Visitors

Anyone driving in the U.S. is required to hold a valid driver’s license. Since tourists aren’t staying long term, this license is substituted with an International Driving Permit (IDP). The U.S., however, does not issue these permits. 

You’ll have to acquire an IDP in your country before you travel. The process is relatively simple. Simply visit your country’s motor vehicle department and request one, then follow their instructions. While traveling, it’s essential that you carry the license for your country as well as your IDP in order to rent a vehicle. Keep an eye out for scams disguised as international licenses, though. 

Renting a Car

The process of renting a car can seem daunting, but there are steps you can take to help things go smoothly. First, always read over the rental agreement before signing anything. This will tell you what fees are included, such as mileage and airport surcharges, helping you better understand the total cost of your rental. 

The second aspect to consider is insurance. If you are insured through your own auto policy, a membership club, your employer, or a credit card company, then you’re good to go. If not, insurance is vital to your travels. Without it, you’re going to need an exceptional motor vehicle accident lawyer to avoid paying astronomical fees in a collision. 

Third, go over the small details. Check the rental for any damages and ensure the company notes them before you sign. You can also to choose to prepay for fuel or refuel the car upon return. There will also be a security deposit held from the card you pay with. Finally, it’s always better to use a credit card instead of a debit to avoid holds on funding. 

Car Sharing

With car sharing, you can rent a car by the hour. There are also more options for pick up and return locations. It’s still essential that you ask about fees if you choose this option over a rental. You should also ask about reservations, as companies require different advanced notices. 

Ask the company about who pays for fuel, how to extend your time if needed, and what you might need to do if you decide to cancel the reservation. Insurance is often covered in your membership fee, but it’s worth asking about how damages are covered as well. 

In relation to damages, it’s vital to know if you or the company are responsible. This is especially important when an accident isn’t your fault. If you find yourself in a dispute, there are several bilingual lawyers and attorneys in the country, like this Spanish speaking personal injury lawyer

There are countless things to do and sights to see while visiting the U.S. To make the most of your trip, you’re going to need a car to get to most of your destinations. As long as you have your IDP and follow the rental or sharing instructions above, you’re going to have a wonderful time while you’re here.