Driving in the USA

Have survived my first day driving in the USA, but there have been a few fun challenges.

1) Having to make my way from Miami to Punta Gorda at 11.00 pm at night in a country I had never been to before, I planned in advance and used the excellent Mapblast site to generate a detailed step by step directions guide to find my way out of Miami and on the right freeway. However imagine my consternation to find the very first major road I am meant to turn on to has a large “temporarily closed” sign on it with no detour route. It took me 20 minutes to find the right way again.

2) I printed out all the directions using kms and of course the car odometer was in miles which meant constant dividing by 0.625 in my head as I drove.

3) The exit signs for freeways don’t always have a lot of warning time, and having to suddenly cut across five lanes of traffic is not for the faint hearted.

4) Managed to cope okay with driving on the right hand side (except once as I turned into a side street) but getting used to a left hand drive car was actually damn hard for a while. Your blind spots are unfamiliar, your rear view mirror is not to your left, you keep hitting the wipers instead of the indicators, you get the seat belt release instead of the gear box and judging the distance from the right side of the car takes a while.

On the pleasing side though the freeways are excellent and one can do 80 – 90 m/h on them very very safely. Also the custom of having the exits numbered and corresponding to the number of miles along the freeway is very useful once you work out that is how they do it.

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