Driving in US (Seattle) for first time

This is not exactly my forte but since I have learned a few things I think it’s ok to pen it down. One of the best things I did in USA was renting a Dodge for a day and driving it places. There were some confusions or let’s say misconceptions which I had to find answers to. My friend Ayush made a huge fuss about the idea, that I won’t be able to do it without regretting, so just to prove the point I did decent research, which helped. I’ll try to cover most of them here.

Car Rentals: You’ll find them in most of places, near airport, hotels, trees. In my case I went for Enterprise. Though the prices were higher than ones you will find on internet, this place was right in front of my hotel so comfort zone prevailed. So I rented a Dodge Charger which costed around 60$/day. To build some gravity that Charger was a 292BHP, 3.6L v6 engine, so much better than most of us drive back here in India.  Also I took full insurance cover for the day (it was first time I didn’t want to take any risk and prove Ayush right). That costed around 50$ itself. So including taxes it was total 122$/day. You can find cheaper deals online. If you have more dough go for Tesla, or may be a Ferrari. They said they rent Tesla for 200$/day (without insurance obviously).

Side of road: So one thing you know is you drive on the other side of road. You even walk on other side of road. Also you are supposed to use only left hand while eating Chinese. But as far as I felt driving on the left starts feeling normal within first 5 minutes. I guess due to position of steering wheel it just feel natural.

Automatic Vehicles: If you rent a car it’s highly probable that you’ll get an automatic vehicle. This thing bugged me the most. I’m used to manual vehicles with three paddles at the bottom. Make sure you have a read on that before you start. You need to use one leg only for driving an automatic vehicle. I know it’s weird! Eventually it becomes easier, easier than manual vehicles I’d say. With no hassle of changing gears in traffic – just speed up and speed down. Just don’t do them together.

Gasoline: Most of the cars run on gasoline which you can fill up at any gas pump. You have to fill the gas yourself though. I remember not being able to use my card there as it required some 5/6 digit pin which is supposed to be set. I made the payment inside the store and they enabled fueling thingy to work for me outside. I was a bit tired by then so I didn’t fill air in the tires, but as you would have figured out by now, you have to do that yourself too.

Traffic rules: Traffic rules are mostly same, make sure you maintain decent distance between yourself and one in front of you. Stop at red lights please. Although, you can take a right turn, but make sure you stop and check for incoming vehicles. There are a few expressways which are restricted for vehicles with only one person. Stop for pedestrians to cross, yes yes I know! But somehow they are important there. Also if you are near a school speed limit is around 20 there. This one I could digest. So, make sure you follow that, you can easily find cops in such area. You don’t want to pay hefty fine in a foreign land. And you are not supposed to hit anyone there as well.

Misc: Toll booths collect the information automatically and the renting organization will eventually add it to your card. There are automated paid parking places in most of the places. Just make the payment and keep the receipt on your dashboard so that there is no ticket on your windshield in the morning. Otherwise you’d have to mail them the parking payment. Which you would not do just like me.

Very important: Rent a really good car, a muscle car, an American muscle car I’d say. That’d make your day.


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