A Guide to Driving a Rental Car in the USA

Are you planning a road trip to the USA? This country offers excellent opportunities for driving with a rental car owing to the large number of iconic roads. 

Travelers interested in having an excursion in the US can choose from some of the most famous routes such as route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, the Overseas Highway, etc.

Each road provides a unique experience like driving through the desert, along the ocean, from coast to coast, and past tropical islands. Regardless of which route you decide to drive, you will probably have an experience of a lifetime. 

The following guide will provide you with some rules and useful advice when driving a rental car in the USA.


Unlike European cities, most cities in the USA have an infrastructure adapted to car traffic, which makes the process of driving much simpler for drivers. Nevertheless, there are numerous cities still struggling with traffic congestion in spite of the good roads. During rush hour, it usually takes plenty of time for a person to reach the desired destination. Some of the cities with the worst traffic in the USA include Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc.  

Prior to renting a vehicle to drive in the USA, it’s important to check the rate of traffic congestion and the traffic rules that apply to the state you’ll drive in. Nevertheless, there are some general rules to follow when driving in the US, such as driving on the right side of the road, not driving past school buses standing at a bus stop, turning right at a red light, etc. Go here to gain a better insight into driving in the United States.  

When stopped by the police, drivers should park on the right side of the road, turn off the engine, and keep their hands visible on the steering wheel. You aren’t supposed to leave the vehicle until told so by the policeman. 

As far as speed limits are concerned, every state in the US has a right to determine its own speed limits, which are valid within the state. If necessary, local authorities are also capable of reducing the speed limits in the area under their administration. Before hiring a vehicle in the USA, always check the speed limitations of the state where you’ll be driving. 

In general, the speed limit in cities, towns, and residential areas ranges between twenty and forty miles. In terms of roads, speed limits often range between fifty and sixty-five miles. Regarding freeways, speed limits range between fifty-five and seventy-five miles. 

Alcohol limits

Regarding alcohol limits, federal law applies to all states, while some states have additional provisions. According to federal law, the blood alcohol limit is 0.08 %. Some states like Colorado have an alcohol limit of 0.05%. In this state, exceeding the set limit only results in a fine as long as it’s less than 0.08%. In case the alcohol percentage exceeds 0.08 %, the penalties will be more severe. 

Popular driving routes for car rental excursions

The United States is a perfect destination to travel around with a rental car, as every state provides perfect driving conditions for an excursion. There are numerous car hire websites, like Goautos – leiebil USA, through which travelers can rent a car in over 180 countries. Many travelers dream of driving the USA from coast to coast, covering the distance between Los Angeles and New York. As long as you have plenty of time, this trip is definitely worth taking. 

There are multiple driving routes covering the distance between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. The shortest one passes through Chicago and Las Vegas, covering a distance of 4,490 kilometers. The average driving time is forty hours. 

A longer route is the one driving through Nashville, New Orleans, Houston, and Phoenix. This route is 5,327 kilometers long, and it takes about 49 hours to cover. The longest route from New York to Los Angeles is 6,420 kilometers long, while the average driving time is sixty hours. By driving the shortest route, you’ll need a week to travel coast to coast, provided you drive six hours a day. 

US Route 66 is unquestionably the most legendary driving route in the United States, going from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, covering over 2,000 miles. By taking this route, you’ll experience the natural beauty of eight states by enjoying the scenic views and natural wonders along the road. There is a variety of vintage diners, neon signs, and rusty truck stops on route 66, making the experience even more impressive.

Moreover, it takes about fifty hours for travelers to drive the popular route 66. Nevertheless, you can travel from Chicago to Los Angeles much faster by sticking to other roads, spending about twenty hours on the trip. The following link, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/-road-trip-on-route-66-am_b_4292210, explains what to expect from a road trip on route 66.

Another popular route to drive when traveling in the US is the one between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. If taking this trip via route 66, the distance is 460 kilometers, taking four and a half hours to drive through it. Most travelers find this road thrilling because it goes through the desert. Individuals can stop along the way to visit some unique museums, have a meal in one of the many diners, and drive through small towns like Barstow and Victorville. 

The Pacific Coast Highway is doubtlessly one of the most beautiful routes worldwide, going next to the mesmerizing Pacific Ocean. If visiting California, make sure you hire a car to experience the unforgettable views along the Pacific Coast Highway while admiring the pristine water, feeling the ocean breeze, and seeing the steep Cliffside. 

The route commences either in Legget, a small town nearby the border with Oregon, or San Francisco, stopping in San Diego. It takes approximately eleven hours for travelers to drive the 935 km distance between San Francisco and San Diego. 

The Overseas Highway goes from Florida to Key West, being among the most exotic drives in the USA. This highway is surrounded by coral reefs, breathtaking flora and fauna, palm trees, and magnificent sunsets. Although it’s among the shortest drives, it’s definitely one of the most scenic US routes. It goes past an endless number of small islands, over 42 bridges connecting the islands. The Overseas Highway is 113 miles long with a driving time of three and a half hours. 

Final thoughts

Taking a road trip is the best way to enjoy the beauty of all states in the USA.