How Much Do You Know About Driving in America?


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Yukinori Hasumi/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Although many of the rules of the American road are common sense, there are always differences that can really throw you for a loop. For instance, one American quirk is that you can turn right on red unless it's marked otherwise. You might think you are well-versed in the rules and regulations of driving in America, but you should brush up to be sure! 

As we roll down the road of this quiz, we have come up with 35 rules of the American road that you should know before you take off on the road trip of your dreams. From practical safety tips to the identifications you need to carry, it's important to make sure you are up-to-snuff on the way thing are done in America. After our questions, you will be an expert. 

Roadways in the U.S. are usually larger and better marked that roadways in other countries. However, there are many things out there that still confuse American drivers who grew up on them. Once you've finished, we'll let you know how well you've done. You will also be fully prepared to hit the American highways. Show us how well you know the rules, then reserve a rental car! 

When four cars are at a four-way junction with stop signs, which car goes first?

When you reach a four-way junction and there is more than one car, the first car to arrive at the stop sign goes first. If you are stopped at a four-way intersection, take extra caution to make sure that other drivers know when to go.


What number do you call to receive the latest travel and traffic information?

If you are on the highway and you would like to know what sort of traffic or road conditions are ahead, all you have to do it call 511. Although the service varies from state to state, 511 provides you with the most up-to-date traveling information.


If you approach an intersection that has flashing yellow lights, what should you do?

If you are approaching an intersection that has flashing yellow lights, make sure to slow down and check for other cars on opposing roadways before proceeding. You only need to stop if the light is solid red or flashing red.


Where is the steering wheel positioned in American vehicles?

Different from countries like England, Americans drive on the right hand side of the road. Therefore, steering wheels are placed on the opposite side, the left-hand side, of the car.


Are you required to wear seat belts in America?

Even though traffic laws vary from state to state, all 50 states require that passengers must wear seatbelts. Children under certain weight limits are also required to be fastened into an appropriate car seat with secure restraints.


If you require emergency services, what number do you call?

Hopefully, you will not need the assistance of emergency services while you are driving in America. If you do need help, the number to call is 911. 911 will dispatch the appropriate type of emergency service to help you.


How long is your international license valid in America?

From the moments you enter the country, your international driver's license is valid for one year. Laws tend to vary from state to state, so you might want to check your destination for any variations from the rule if you are planning an extended stay.


What must you do when you approach a school bus with flashing red lights?

When traveling on American roads, it's important to take notice of school buses with flashing red lights. Children are either being picked up for school or delivered home, and all traffic in both directions must stop to allow children to cross safely.


Where would you stop to stretch your legs in America?

Across America's highways, rest areas provide drivers with a place to stop while driving long distances. Rest areas include public restrooms, and they usually have dog walking areas, food vending machines, and information about local attractions.


What is prohibited in American cars?

In America, speed limits are enforced with the aid of radar guns that allow police officers to see how fast someone is traveling. Although you can purchase radar sensors in many truck stops across the country, they are prohibited from being used.


What is the American term for toll road?

In the U.S., toll roads are usually called turnpikes. While most all turnpikes accept payment in the form of cash, others have moved to strictly electronic methods. It's a good idea to plan your route so you'll be prepared.


What is the minimum driving age in America?

Drivers as young as 15 can obtain a permit that allows them to drive with adult supervision. However, in most states, the legal driving age is 16. Take note that many rental car agencies require that drivers be at least 25 before renting a vehicle.


What is the typical speed limit in a school zone?

Speeding through a school zone can carry fines of up to double the price of regular speeding tickets. School zones are usually clearly marked, but some only require the 15 miles per hour speed limit when children are present.


If you are driving at 65 MPH, how fast are you going in kilometers?

If you are cruising down an American highway at 65 miles per hour, you are also moving at 110 kilometers per hour. Luckily, most speedometers in America show your speed in both miles per hour and kilometers per hour.


Is it legal to drink beer in a car?

Across all 50 states, it is illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in your vehicle. Even if the car is sitting still and you are not driving, you could be fined.


What is the minimum legal blood alcohol limit in the U.S.?

Laws do vary from state to state, but the lowest blood alcohol limit in the United States is 0.05 percent. Most states have set the level at 0.08 percent, but you should never risk driving while drinking. Penalties include a suspension of your license and a hefty fine.


What does the yellow light mean in a traffic light?

When approaching a traffic light in America, you will see red, yellow, and green lights. If you see the light turn yellow, it means that you should prepare to stop. The light is going to change red, and all traffic controlled by the light will come to a halt.


What must you carry with you while driving in America?

In addition to any car rental and insurance papers you might have, it is mandatory that you carry your driver's license and a current photo ID. If you are pulled over, you will need to provide them to the officer.


What is the average speed limit on American highways?

In some lesser populated states, speed limits might be as high as 85 miles per hour. However, the average speed limit on most American highways is 65 miles per hour.


What color lines separate traffic on two-lane roads?

While driving on a two-lane road with traffic moving in opposite directions, lanes will be separated with yellow lines. If you see solid yellow lines change to a dotted yellow line on your lane's side, you have entered a passing zone and you may overtake slow pokes in front of you.


Who or what always has the right of way in the United States?

Pedestrians always have the right of way in the United States. Even if a pedestrian crosses the street in an unmarked zone, you must come to a complete stop and let the pedestrian safely pass.


What must you turn on when driving in rain?

During rain or any other sort of inclement weather, you must turn your headlights on. Your headlights will help other drivers to see you during less than ideal conditions.


What color lines separate cars moving in the same direction?

Roadways containing more than one lane with cars moving in the same direction are separated by a white line. If you intend to switch lanes, remember that you must always use your signal light to indicate your move to other drivers.


What shape are stop signs in America?

In the United States, stop signs are big and red. They are also shaped like an octagon to make them stand out from other roadway signs.


If you encounter an unmarked railway crossing, what should you do?

Railway crossings are usually marked by X-shaped signs that signal a railroad crossing. However, in more rural areas, railway crossings are often unmarked. If you should encounter one, you should come to a full stop and check for trains before proceeding.


What should you do when you see a yield sign?

When driving in America, you will often see yield signs. When you see one of the triangular, yellow or red signs, you must realize that other drivers have the right of way. You must yield to them, and merge with them when you can.


On a highway, which lane is for slower vehicles?

No matter how many lanes are on a U.S. highway, the right-hand lane is meant for slower drivers. Faster drivers use the left-hand lane to pass other drivers. You will also see a designated lane for slow-moving trucks struggling with inclines.


Are you permitted to turn right on red at a stop light?

No matter what, you must stop at all red lights in the United States. Once you stop, however, you are permitted to turn right on a red light unless it is otherwise marked. Make sure to check for traffic in all directions before making your turn.


What should you do if you see an ambulance coming up behind you?

If you see an ambulance or any other emergency services vehicle with their lights and sirens blaring, you are required by law to slow down gradually and pull to the side of the roadway. Getting out of the way will allow the service vehicle to reach their destination quickly and safely.


If you see a police officer on the shoulder of the highway, what should you do?

If you see a police officer or any other emergency services personnel on the shoulder of the highway, you should safely change lanes away from the officer. Moving over reduces the risk of harm to service persons.


Where should you store an opened bottle of wine in your vehicle?

Although it is illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in your car in the United States, things like a half bottle of wine are permissible under two conditions. First, you must not be drinking. Second, you must store the corked bottle in the trunk of the vehicle.


How long must you stop at a stop sign?

In America, you must stop at a stop sign for at least three seconds. Every year, many drivers are ticketed for coming to a rolling stop. However, the law mandates that you must stop and count to three.


What should you do if you encounter a red arrow at a stop light?

If you approach an intersection with stop lights and the light in your lane is a red arrow, you must stop. After you check for oncoming traffic, you may proceed.


What are the numbered green signs along U.S. highways?

The smaller green signs you see along American roadways are called mile markers. In the event of an emergency, mile markers are a great way to let service persons know where to find you.


Are you allowed to text and drive in the United States?

Given the rise of texting while driving related crashes, it is illegal to text and drive in America. Although some states allow drivers to use hands-free devices, other states have banned the use of mobile phones altogether.


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