Driving in the USA


Americans drive on the right side of the road, which of course is the right side, wink, wink. I've had a driver's license in Brazil, in the USA and almost one in the UK. From all 3 countries, the US was the easiest place to get a license. One of the most important documents you will need when living in the US is a driver's license. You then can live your passport at home (unless you live in Arizona, but more on that another time) and use that as your identification, be it at the grocery store buying a beer or at when the cops stop you or to get into a public building. Everyone drives in the USA, the age to get a license is 16 in most States and it's a way of life.

As soon as you move, locate your state's dmv or mvd. A few notes on the Depart's of Motor Vehicle (or Motor Vehicle Dept):

  • I've dealt with this dept in SC, VA and AZ, the nicest employees working there are in AZ. They are very polite and nice. DMV/MVD employees are known for not being all that nice, so get ready. In AZ was a nice surprise, everytime I've went. Maybe it's because it's a MVD and not DMV... hummmm
  • Check on their site, it will tell you the best times of the week to go, follow it.
  • Bring a book and get ready to wait.
  • In AZ, if you're from Germany you don't need to do a test, you can just show your super duper German license and get an American one.
  • If you're a donor you can have that on your license.

Getting Your License

  • Go to the DMV/MVD, be prepared to wait.
  • Fill out the form
  • Get their driving manual and memorize it
  • Schedule your driving test.
  • Get your license!

The driving test is not hard at all, parallel parking, 3 point turn, turn right and turn left, something like that. It's really not that hard.

When Driving

  • Be wary of other drivers. The test is so easy that, let's say... not everyone who drives should have a license.
  • You will hardly see a roundabout, they are called circles, but you will see lots of stop signs, and you must stop when approaching them.
  • In most states you can turn right on red, but even when you can, sometimes there are signs not to, then don't.
  • When an emergency vehicle comes with the sirens on, you must slow down and come to a stop, on both sides of the road. They have right of way and can go against traffic, so make sure you're out of their way.
  • Cars have right of way. Pedestrians... beware.
  • Mostly important, driving in the USA isn't hard, but respect the rules and you will be alright.

Copy of AZ heat