I still remember how crazy it was trying to learn how to drive back home. We did not own a car back in India and my uncle owned a TATA 407 Van…My uncle took me to a big lake that was dried out because of severe drought and made me practice driving…it was just intense…I had to use the clutch, change the gear, step on the accelerator ( step on gas in US terminology ) and use the steering all at the same time…As I just learnt very basics back home, I was very nervous thinking about driving in America… I heard people drive at 120 kmph or 140 kmph …Guess what, I come to America and things are completely different…No clutch, no need to change gear, no need to press accelerator or step on gas on freeway(using cruise control)….it just changed my perception. Let me share my perspective on driving in America so that internationals have an idea about driving in USA.
How are Cars Built to drive in USA ? How hard is it to drive in America ?
Not trying to generalize, but for the most part, most of the cars people use have automatic transmission. What it means is, there is no need to change the gear once you put the vehicle on drive. In general, in manual transmission engines, you have to use the clutch and change the gears from 1st to 2nd, then to 3rd and so on until top gear…but, in Automatic transmission engine cars, you just have a lever that has four positions Drive(D4), Drive(D3), Reverse, Neutral and Park…the thing is, these are in straight line and just move it back and forward…There is no clutch, all you have to do move the gear lever or gear rod(as some call it ) from neutral to D4 or just D, which means drive and you just step on the gas or accelerator . The car automatically changes its gears and keeps going. Also, D3 or D2(just another step in Drive) is occasionally used to climb mountains…honestly, I have never had to use D3 or D2 in the last 6 years or so. Another cool thing about cars in US, most of the cars are equipped with cruise control system. It helps you set a speed limit and let the car maintain the speed limit without stepping on gas or accelerator. The cruise control mode is turned off as soon as you step on the brake or manually reset it using controls. So, if you get on the Freeway or interstate highway system, you can just put the speed control on Cruise control. All you have to do is just use the steering to make sure you are on right course…Ultimately, what I am trying to say is driving in America is very simple (Unless you have a manual drive vehicle) and there is nothing to worry if you do not have much experience driving car or any four wheeler.
How do People actually drive in America ? Traffic Rules, Stop Signals ?
Some of you living outside of US in countries like India know, traffic rules can be relative at times and if you are not in a big metro city, some people do break rules and can get away…but, things are different in America, if you break a rule, you are screwed ! Read one of my experiences, where I got a $400 ticket (fine) for breaking traffic rule in USA . Anyways, most of the people drive by rules in America…There are automatic cameras monitoring you at traffic junctions, there are cops(police) watching you…unless you are lucky and escape, you have high chances to be caught by someone or something… Most people in America, just stick to rules. If there is a four way stop and no traffic lights, people follow rules very properly and let the right person drive first… You will not hear people using the horn or honking at you often. If someone do honk at you, it means that they just swore at you “F*** Y**”, because you broke a rule or did something wrong with your driving….so, beware of it ! If someone do honk at you, check your driving and see if you have done something wrong…learn from your mistakes 🙂 . Also, sometimes, when you are at a Traffic light or at a stop light, you might not see any cars around or not even a camera, Please do not get tempted and try to break rule, it is just asking for trouble… Most of the people drive by rules and as long as you follow rules, driving is a piece of cake and it is safe for you too…
Any other driving in US tips or Thoughts ? Driving related Stories to share ?