Traffic Rules In USA: What Drivers Need To Know About

Although traffic rules in America vary from state to state, traffic rules are different from many countries. Therefore, I would like to give you some information about traffic rules that you should know before traveling to America.

In the United States, traffic flows on the right side of the road. The steering wheel is on the left side so that drivers can see oncoming traffic. The driver’s seat is also on the left side. The speed limit is different in each state, but generally ranges from 25 to 65 mph in urban areas and 55 to 80 mph on highways.

Traffic lights

The location of traffic lights is different. On most countries driver stands next to the lights, in the US they are at the opposite end of the road, hanging from a rope. When changing from red to green or green to red, the yellow lights are longer.

Amerika Trafik Isiklari
In America, traffic lights are across the road.
Amerika Araba Nasil Kullanilir
In America, you don't hear much honking from red to green. You don't hear it after you turn green.

There are hardly any radars, cameras, electronic surveillance systems, etc. watching you on the roads. Especially in non-central areas there are no cameras at all and yet everyone follows the traffic rules because there is respect for people. You don’t see many police on the roads either, but if you violate the rules, the police may appear behind you. There are many civil police on the roads.

The police are not indifferent to your mistakes and will sneak up behind you. We have never encountered such a situation, but if you do, pull over, stop your car, roll down your window, and wait for the police to instruct you with your hands on the steering wheel. The police in the US are tough and do not perceive you as a danger.


If your route continues to the right and left, if you are going to make a turn, you have to move to the lane where you are going to make the turn. This is the case in many places. By entering the lane in advance, you do not obstruct the flow of traffic.

The road lanes are also divided according to turns. If you want to continue straight, you have to take the center lane, and if you want to turn left or right, you have to take the left or right lane. You will encounter warnings such as Right Lane Must Turn Right and No Turn Right on Red.

You should carefully follow who has the right of way and under what conditions. There are signs that you should pay attention to at turns, which we do not have. For right turns, there is a traffic sign that says you can turn right even if there is a red light on the road, but you should check whether pedestrians or vehicles are coming or not. Yield is usually written on these signs. Right turns are usually free, but there must be no pedestrians on the footpath. Pedestrians are more important than anything else. Would you be surprised if we told you that when you don’t understand what’s going on and you naturally stop at a red light, we don’t hear a single horn or a single salute from American drivers? When you see this sign, it means that you can pass if the area is clear and you don’t need to wait in vain.

For left turns, if the left arrow is green, you can pass after giving way to pedestrians and cyclists. If there are oncoming cars, you have to wait until all the cars have passed and the road is clear enough for you to pass, sometimes even for a few minutes.

Traffic signs, road lines, etc. are all standardized, so once you know the rules, you don’t have to make extra efforts in different places. Everything about traffic is similar, this standardization reduces the possibility of mistakes.

School buses

If there is a school bus on your route, you should be extra careful. School buses are very important in the United States. If a school bus is stopped, it is probably dropping off students and it is a mistake to pass the school bus while it is stopped. Buses already have a Stop sign on the left side. Stop signs are very important in America.

Amerika Okul Otobusleri
Yellow school buses in the US are a different story. At rush hour, police officers block the road to let school buses pass.

Stop sign

Stop signs are very important in America. If you see a Stop sign, there are things you need to do (not to say you can do). To make a full stop before crossing the line on the road side of the stop sign, that is, to pause the vehicle completely and then continue. It is an obligation to stop at stop signs and the police can write a ticket if you do not stop. At a crossroad, if there are several stop signs in different directions, the one who stops first has the right to continue first. If you arrive at a Stop sign at the same time, the one on the right has the right of way, and sometimes drivers can give way to each other by agreement. If you have a Stop sign and there is no oncoming traffic, he/she will pass because you have to stop. Avoid jumping in front of him, trying to pass him first, etc. The system works surprisingly well and everyone is happy with it.

Highway exits

The highways in America are wide and sometimes you can encounter roads up to 7 lanes. The exits of the roads are indicated as Exit-Number on big signs. Check the exits you will take, and if you are using GPS, follow it by listening to it. If you pass the exit, it can take a lot of time to reach your destination, especially during traffic hours. And don’t take the exit from the leftmost lane, move to the right lane beforehand and take it that way. Some exits may be on the left side of the highway.

Fast lane

On the highways there is a lane called Fast Lane or Car Pool to make the traffic smoother. You can see the diamond marking on the lanes, if you are one person in the car you cannot use this lane. If there are two or more of you, you can use these lanes called Fast Lane or Car Pool. You’ll come across these lanes on the highways and you can tell which lane it is when you see cars rushing past you when traffic is at a standstill. It is on the far left of the road. Do not dive into these lanes even if you are two people. Because if there is no Exit somewhere ahead, this lane is separated by a straight line. It is also forbidden to cross straight lines. Near the Exits, the lanes turn into dashed lines and you can enter and exit at that time.

Amerika Fast Lane Sol Serit

There are no toll roads in Georgia. You didn’t hear me wrong, there is no toll on those straight and wide roads with clear lanes. Even if it is a highway. We had to pay a small fee in a couple of places in Florida. Have some coins with you, because one of the roads we crossed was 15 cents and there were no people and we had to put full money into the machine.

Close tracking of vehicles

Following the car in front of you bumper to bumper is harassment, so we don’t do that. You need to keep a distance between cars. If you are trying to pass the car in front of you, it is very disrespectful to get close to it and flash your lights. You are waiting for it to give way or it is normal to overtake according to the lane.

Amerika Arac Kullanma Kurallari
It is disrespectful to follow vehicles closely in the United States.

Speed limit in USA

The speed limit is also an important rule in America. On highways and many other roads, the speed limits are the same for cars, vans, trucks and even trucks. You can go 80 mph and the truck next to you can go the same speed. Of course, there is nothing strange about this when everyone obeys the rules. The roads are already perfect, and you are sure that no one will cut in front of you at maximum speed. Speedometers in America are in mph (miles per hour). Don’t go 120 mph on the highway when you want to go 120 mph. To convert miles to kilometers, multiply by 1.6. A speed of 80 mph is equivalent to 128 km.

Amerika Hiz Limiti Kac

In addition, do not drink and drive. Do not change lanes without signaling. If you are in traffic, do not enter the road because you have signaled. Wait to be given way.

Finding your way in USA

Although Google Map works very well in the US, we were recommended Waze. Waze shows GPS, maps and real-time traffic conditions and road information, and can also identify police points, accidents, etc. thanks to other Waze users. Both Android and IOS versions are available.

Parking a car in USA

There are also parking rules in the US. Parking lots are free where grocery stores and large shopping malls are located, but if you are parking in the city, you may have to pay a fee in most places. To find out, look for parking signs and vending machines on the street corner before or after the curb. Some hours and days you can park for free, while other times you have to pay a fee. You need to pay the fee in advance and place the receipt in a visible place on the windshield. Some parking lots are also hourly based as indicated on the signs. For example, you can keep your car there for a maximum of 2 hours. Otherwise you may be fined.

Another parking issue in the US is to always park in the direction you are going. When you park, the front of the parking lot must be in the direction of the road. You should not go and park in the parking lot of the opposite lane, with the front of the vehicle facing the oncoming lane. If there are lines in the parking area, going beyond these lines is another reason for a fine. When parking your vehicle, the entire vehicle must be on these lines.

We had a 10-day trip to Georgia and Florida in the USA and we made 3000 km in 10 days and listed these suggestions. In some states, rule violations may be more, but on our route, believe me, there were no honking horns and people who did not obey the rules and changed lanes without signaling. Driving in America is an act based on respect.