US Traffic laws

As we said in a post on the traffic laws in Europe, some countries have different laws that you know of in your home country. Before you check for the car hire terms and conditions and driving off abroad, it is important to check it in the laws of each country, right?

Today we talk about the US traffic laws. Does a lot is different there? Let’s find out.

US laws are independent in each state, that is, each of the country states may have some legislative changes, including those related to traffic. For example, did you know that in some parts of the country you can turn right even when the traffic light is red? Well, it seems unusual, is not it? But the practice is very common.

International Driver’s Permit – IDP

The United States is one of the member countries of the Vienna Convention, which accepts that foreign recourse to the International Driving Permit (PID) in the country, this permission can only be obtained in the country of issuance of their national qualification. However, the international permission does not replace its national license, so always remember to upload both documents to avoid problems with traffic officers.

Once the laws are different in every US state and can change during the planning period, or the journey itself is always valid – and recommended, including the website of the United States Government – refer to the car rental company on the legislation on the state IDP going to visit before your trip. In Florida, for example, the IDP now required, but then the law has been temporarily suspended while in California, the IDP is not recognized.
The good news is that, in general, the document is easy to be done. To get permission, you need to go to the DMV of your city and learn, for each Brazilian state may have some changes to the essential documents.

The procedure, however, is similar: you need to access the State Department of Motor Vehicles of your state site and print two copies of the application. Then make a copy of your CNH – Importantly, the validity must understand the entire period of the trip – and pay the fee for the shipment. The next step is to appear at the DMV booth with all collected documents – including proof of payment – and make the rest of the procedure personally.


When we talk about speed, not have to think too much, right? We must always, everywhere, respect speed limits. In the United States there are many alert police to any breach in various corners of the city. What many do not know, however, it is that there will not only fines for those who exceed the speed but also for those who are far below the allowed speed. Let us explain: if you find a top speed allowed card of 45 mph (miles per hour), it means that you must walk between 40 and 45 mph. Always follow the flow velocity, because if a vehicle is fined, will always be the first.


The returns, as a rule are allowed in two-way roads. Only not when will at some point there is a sign indicating the prohibition.



In the United States, STOP means STOP same. Not to say slow down, see if everything is ok and move on, but to stop even for a split second.

The 4-Way Stop board, in turn, is placed at intersections where there are no traffic lights and indicates that all vehicles must stop. When faced with this card on US streets, stay tuned to the order of arrival of vehicles, as this will indicate the right time you should cross the intersection: should go out first vehicles arrived before the intersection or crossing. This rule also applies to cases of power outages in places with traffic lights. There is also the plates All way stop and 3-way stop which mean the same thing, but the first in the process more directions, and the second at intersections in T-shape, having only three directions.
Right turn with a red light and pedestrians

As we speak there in the text from the beginning, you can turn right even when the lights are indicating red light (Right Turn On Red). For cars that already are in the right lane, the conversion will not disrupt traffic, and this is allowed as long as you stop and look if traffic is clear. The locations at which the conversion right is not allowed with a closed sign are Connecticut, Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York – but is always aware of the prohibition of signs elsewhere.

When we talk about traffic, it is also worth remembering that the pedestrian always has the choice: even where we meet unique traffic lights for them. To comply with this law, it is very simple: if the pedestrian crossing to hit the range, preference is it and you should stop so he can cross safely.

Emergency vehicles – sirens or lights on

When you are traveling down a street in the US and hear a siren – is a police car, ambulance or tow car – you should slow down and finally stop the vehicle, even if not in the same direction of the track. It is important to release the track before stopping to facilitate the movement of vehicles. If the siren is on, it’s really an emergency.


The curb of US streets can be painted with five different colors, each with distinct meanings. When the color is red, it means that it is prohibited to stop under any circumstances; when painted in white, the range means that it is only allowed to stop for loading and unloading; the blue bands indicate that parking is permitted only for vehicles with adhesive / of handicapped plate; Green color indicates that the car is allowed cargo vehicles / unloading, in addition to standard vehicles, but only for short periods which normally are indicated on plates – when there are no plaques, the period is 15 minutes; finally, when the track is gray, the signs indicating that parking is allowed – but this range can be accompanied by other signs, such as signs indicating maximum stays or days and times when parking is prohibited.

Alcohol consumption

Although there is a tolerance for the amount of alcohol in the blood – varies depending on location – it is strictly prohibited that any of the people present in the car, whether the driver or any of the passengers, make use of alcohol in the car. This includes not be any open or empty bottle of drink in the vehicle. We recommend, however, that you do not make alcohol when driving, because if the value passes allowed, it classifies a DUI, Driver Under Influence – driving under alcohol and drug effect – which is something very serious and can even prevent you from being admitted to the country again.

Tip end, it can check the specific legislation of each region on the site of the United States Government, by accessing this link. Now that you are inside of the main rules of direction in the United States, it’s just contact your nearby car rental agency for more tips about driving abroad, rent a car and enjoy every moment of your trip with much more freedom.