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Driving in Florida.

To some visitors driving in Florida after a long haul flight is a daunting prospect and understandably so.  The aim of this article is to provide valuable  information and tips to make that first journey as easy and as non eventful as possible. Get to know your vehicle. You have just got he keys to your rental car and you are sitting in the parking lot. My advice here is to take 5 minutes to familiarise yourself with the basic instruments such as lights, washers and wipers. Another function of some rental vehicle is a foot brake, which are in effect your handbrake. To activate and de activate these simply press down with your foot. Note that lights must be illuminated when driving in rain.

Tip; If there is something that you are unhappy about with your vehicle report it.

No clutch pedal?

The majority of rental cars have automatic transmission. The simple rule to apply here is to drive using only your right foot, and tuck your left foot out of the way so to reduce the urge to apply the brake with it. If your vehicle has powered doors, remember they will only activate when the vehicle is in park mode.

Buckle up, you are ready to go.

You have your driving licence and documentation from your car hire company, it’s time to set off. Its is a requirement that seat belts are worn at all times. If you have a satellite navigation system set it now, however if you have flown into Orlando International Airport, the chances are it will not pick up a signal until you have cleared the parking lot. It is prudent to have some money at hand too, to cover the cost of any toll roads you may encounter on your route.

Tip; Remember many smart phones have sat nav apps which do not use your data, ideal for finding your way without incurring additional costs.

On the open road.

Unlike some peoples perception, the roads in Florida are not akin to racetracks, in fact they are in the main more sedate that those in the U.K. The maximum speed limit is 70 mph, however the majority of roads have limits between 55 and 65 mph. Speed limits, in relation to both the maximum and in some cases minimum, are clearly visible, as are other roads signs which are displayed on gangways above the road.

Tip; Have a hard copy of your route at hand. Google maps is ideal for this.

Over and under taking is common practice in Florida and although I do not suggest that you participate in it, do not be alarmed to see vehicles passing either side of you, just be ware of this when manoeuvring. It is as simple as going back to basics and using your mirrors. You will soon realise the distinct lack of roundabouts, these are as rare as hens teeth in this part of America. Many of the roads are long and straight providing great visibility of the road ahead.

Through the lights.

Traffic lights are suspended above the junction they control. It is worth noting that in some cases, they change from green to red without the use of amber. A junction covered with a flashing amber light indicates that the driving should navigate through the junction with caution. If you have approached a traffic light controlled junction with the intention of turning right and the traffic lights are showing red, it may still unless any signs say otherwise be permissible to turn, taking into consideration other traffic.


Stop signs are common place on the roads around Florida. These must be adhered to at all times, there are no exceptions and a breach will constitute a traffic violation. These signs are clearly visible.

Law enforcement.

If you encounter a request to pull over and stop by law enforcement, then do so at the earliest and safest opportunity. DO NOT get out of your vehicle, but remain within. All drivers are required by law to produce a valid licence upon request, therefore your licence should be carried at all times.

Tip; If you see a law enforcement vehicle parked at the side of the road with its lights illuminated, then you must in accordance with Florida state law move to the next lane.

DUI. Driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited in Florida. The best advice is don’t drink any alcohol before driving. For those who cannot resist however be mindful that for adults aged 21 years or more, the legal limit is .08% blood alcohol (around a quarter of the U.K limits)..


When you visit your first service station, be aware that many operate a pre payment system. The only way around this is by using your debit or credit card at the pump itself.

Tip; Using a debit or credit card will increase the amount you pay for your fuel.

Finally the petrol pump is black and those which deliver diesel are green. This is the complete opposite to those in the U.K.

Sit back and relax.

Done with basic care and consideration, driving throughout Florida is a real pleasure and is a lot easier than some anticipate. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and enjoy the drive.

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Direct Villas UK Limited
Newham House
Dudley Road

UK Company No. 06009413

T: +44 (0)1325 527 275

Skype: directvillasuk