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Driving in USA

Discussion in 'Ground & Air Transportation' started by Anna Cain, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Anna Cain

    Anna Cain New Member

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    Hi All,
    We are coming to WDW in March/April 2008 from the UK. We have never driven in the USA. We are flying into Orlando International and staying at the Clarion Inn, Lake Buena Vista.
    Is it complicated to find? A year to go and this is stressing me already as we have hire car.
    Any advice welcomed. Thanks
     
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  2. WWWD

    WWWD Well-Known Member

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    If you rarely drive or only drive in rural areas, it will be stressful. However, if you're used to driving in city traffic, Orlando is like any other major city - traffic and a lot of different types of drivers. Something I do before driving in a strange city is to study google maps (satellite view) to become somewhat familiar with the areas I will be driving.

    For what's it's worth, I talked to a few bus drivers on my last trip and they said that their training program about driving on property says that by far the worst drivers and most causes of accidents are cast members, not tourists.
     
  3. Rob562

    Rob562 Well-Known Member

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    If you're good with directions and sign-reading, I'm sure you'll be fine. But it might help to have either a phone with a GPS app (I suggest Waze or Google Maps) or a stand-alone GPS unit with an up to date map.

    If you're coming to the US without a phone that'll give you data in the US, look into Google Maps. It can store map info for an area to the phone so it can operate without a cell network connection.

    And I'm not sure where you're coming from, but remember, we drive on the right-hand side. :)

    -Rob
     
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  4. Anna Cain

    Anna Cain New Member Original Poster

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    Thank you Rob for your reply, really appreciate it! -Anna
     
  5. Tony the Tigger

    Tony the Tigger Well-Known Member

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    Some road signs are poorly placed, so GPS is pretty critical. We've gotten turned around plenty of times going from parks back to hotels.
     
  6. Anna Cain

    Anna Cain New Member Original Poster

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    Thank you, it sounds daft but is it easy to turn around if we miss our exit? I will make sure we have good GPS! I know it's a while a way..i just like to have peace of mind. I have been to WDW 20 times but all as a child so never took notice of the drive there :)
     
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  7. Tony the Tigger

    Tony the Tigger Well-Known Member

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    With GPS it's easy, except once in awhile they will pick the wrong address and bring you around to an employee entrance where you can't get in LOL.
     
  8. drwadadli

    drwadadli Premium Member

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    The first thing to remember is....DRIVE ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE. From there everything else is easy. GPS is a great tool whether you do the GPS device or your phone. From from the airport into Orlando/WDW, the exits are well marked out. It will be scary to feel like you are driving on the "wrong" side of the road but otherwise it is easy to get used to. I spent 3 years on a British-commonwealth Caribbean island and have been to the U.K. 3 times and switching back and forth is not difficult.
     
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  9. Omi19

    Omi19 Member

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    We lived in the UK for 3 years and both my husband and I had cars. He would travel back and forth to the States regularly and had no trouble adjusting. For us, car parks were the most challenging since there are no lane markings. You will be just fine given your planning. Enjoy your visit as an adult. We still do as grandparents of adults.
     
  10. nickys

    nickys Well-Known Member

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    First a caveat, I don't drive !!!

    But my husband does, and we hire a car every time we come, also from the UK. Every car we have had comes with a sat nav, which we tend to rely on, except when it comes to the exits to Disney when we sometimes take a different one if we know where we're heading.

    Just check which direction you should be heading along the major roads before you set off. Some signs will just say "I 4 west (Tampa)" for example. Helps to know whether you need to be going east or west.

    Once on Disney Property the roads can be confusing, with several lanes and lots of signs. The sat nav is just as useful here.

    Be aware that sometimes the sat nav will give you a toll route when you don't need to. However unless you are sure of an alternative route it's often easier just to go with it. More likely if heading to Kennedy or the shopping malls than Disney / Universal.

    Hubby tries to stay in a middle lane on the main routes. Sometimes the right lane is a "must exit" lane, other times you get an exit like our motorways. If you try and stay in lane 2 then you can easily get into the exit lane if necessary but not be forced off.

    The driving on the right thing is OK, once you're in traffic because everyone else is doing it and it's hard to go wrong. Major junctions where you have to turn left across traffic usually have lines painted on the road so you can follow them. Be aware of the turn right on a red light rule.

    We have got lost a couple of times. Once we ended up in Celebration and couldn't find our way out! And last time we were headed to Universal, and as someone said above it had us going off the I4 early and we went right round the back. I think it had directed us to a trade entrance - probably didn't check which address we picked from the list.

    If you have a retractable roof make sure you know how to get it up again, and if you can do this on the go. We saw a couple of cars once that had to stop to get the roof up, in the middle of a thunderstorm. They were drenched!
     
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  11. Anna Cain

    Anna Cain New Member Original Poster

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    Thank you very much for your reply. I am taking all on board.I did not know about the 'Turn right on a red light' rule.
     
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  12. Tony the Tigger

    Tony the Tigger Well-Known Member

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    ...and then you always have to check first for a "no turn on red" sign!
     
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  13. Rob562

    Rob562 Well-Known Member

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    And always come to a stop before turning right on red.

    -Rob
     
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  14. Anna Cain

    Anna Cain New Member Original Poster

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    Thanks Rob, are exits clearly marked in the USA?
     
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  15. Tony the Tigger

    Tony the Tigger Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to say not always. Sometimes there is one exit right after another and the sign is off a bit.

    Also there is road construction in the Disney Springs area near the I-4 highway entrance/exit.

    My best tip is when looking at the GPS, pay extra attention to where you are NOT making a turn - all the "background" streets and exits. That can make it easier to tell if you're at the correct one.
     
  16. Jeff456

    Jeff456 Well-Known Member

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    Being from the UK as well and having driven on the right in various countries driving in the US is definitely the least stressful it's very easy. As others have said make sure you have a Sat-nav or maps downloaded onto your phone then if you make a mistake it will just redirect you.
     
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  17. Cosmic Commando

    Cosmic Commando Well-Known Member

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    If you miss your exit or turn, just stay calm and don't do anything crazy... like backing up on a highway! People do it! You're going to be in a major metro area, where the next exit will always be a few minutes away.

    If you miss your exit on a highway, the next exit will more than likely be close and more than likely have an on-ramp to get you going back the other way to your correct exit. There are more odd exits in older areas that had highways laid over them after everything else was built, but it should be fairly predictable in Orlando. If this happens to me, I try to exit onto a regular road to get turned around, instead of another highway; I think it's simpler that way.

    If you miss your turn while you're on a regular road, find a business or a quiet side street to turn LEFT into. That way, you'll have an easier time turning right back onto the road, instead of turning right first and then turning left across some 10-lane mega street all at once. It's a good time to get gas, if you want to make lemonade out of lemons.;)
     
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  18. Andy_0410

    Andy_0410 Well-Known Member

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    Have driven in the USA every time I have been for the last 8 years and now find it pretty simple and straight forward and like yourself I am from the uk
    I would say give yourself plenty of time to get used to where everything is in the car before you leave the airport and you plan your route
    The lanes are pretty wide and the speed limits are mainly lower than in the uk take your time and get your partner to read signs and help navigate
     
  19. nickys

    nickys Well-Known Member

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    I would totally echo this advice. As the front seat passenger, I am always checking the sat nav and looking for road signs.

    Once you reach where you are staying, onsite or wherever, set this as "home", to make life easier. And always get the route confirmed and go over it before you set off.
     
  20. Rob562

    Rob562 Well-Known Member

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    If I'm heading on a trip with multiple points that I plan on driving to, I'll either set the addresses up ahead of time as a "favorite" or at least try to navigate there in the app so that the address shows up in recent history when it comes time to actually drive there.

    -Rob
     

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