Thursday, February 08, 2007

Driving in Florida

We're doing a lot of driving while we're here so I thought that I'd write something about driving in Florida.

It's pretty straight-forward to drive here. You get used to driving on the right-hand side pretty quickly and the roads are generally in good condition and very wide (up to 10 lanes in places). The toll roads are pretty cheap (typically 50c) and very quiet.

The hire cars are nice (mostly new) and even the small ones (we hired a "compact") are pretty big by European standards. And car rental is cheap. Petrol is brilliant - $2.20 per gallon (a little higher out of town, around $2.40-$2.50). So, overall, driving is very inexpensive... which might explain why Americans would drive to the end of the lobby.

But American drivers are not courteous. It's legal to overtake on either side - and they do - at high speed - on your left and right! It can be a little scary. And they don't let you change lane - so don't think that you can just indicate and move - they'll ignore you. You just have to push out into the lane that you want to get to.

Daylight driving is OK but night driving is a bit of a nightmare because so many of the signs are positioned right at the junction - too late to turn off in poor lighting conditions. You'll see cars routinely cut cross three lanes inside 100 yards to take a turn-off. I'm not surprised that I've seen lots of (small) accidents since arriving.

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