Car Culture: Drinking and Driving

You get your driver’s license and your ID card at the Department of Motor Vehicles DMV. Most As you can see it’s the department of transportation that issues the routine public American Identification. It wouldn’t occur to them to use a passport. After 3 months, your foreign license is not valid. Seat belts must be worn by driver and passengers at all times in a moving car. You will be fined if you are stopped and anyone in the car is without a seat belt. Children up to age 6 or weighing 60 pounds must be in a car seat.

Drinking and driving is a serious crime in the USA. It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle. You cannot drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% — 1-2 drinks within an hour. If you are found to have too much alcohol or any drugs in your body while driving, you may be arrested and put in jail or pay a fine of up to $1,200 or more in fines–even the first time. You will be forced to take driving classes and you could lose your license for up to 6 months or longer. There’s also a chance you could lose your car and have to pay storage fees. And you will certainly have to pay higher insurance premiums and points on your license each year for several years in the hundreds of dollars.

If you should get “pulled over” by a policeman while driving stay in your car! Keep your hands on the steering wheel and cooperate. Do not speak until you are spoken to. Listen to instructions and do as you are told. That may include showing your driver’s license, proof of insurance and car registration. Do not offer to pay the ticket on the spot as it may be misinterpreted as giving the officer bribe money which is also illegal.

American road rules seem odd, especially for a car culture. They driver, on average slower that you’d expect and you’ll have a hard time passing on the left. If you flash your lights to a slow driver ahead, you run the risk of them labeling you an aggressive driver. Worse yet, they may become irritated and have a dangerous habit of telling you to back off by applying their brakes on a fast moving highway, which is extremely hazardous causing you to stop abruptly too. The best advice is to use your best judgment and go around because the fastest and easiest way to travel will be by car, so get used to it.

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