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My first driving experience in Florida - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

When I first visited Florida I was a little nervous of driving. I have many years experience driving here in the UK, but no previous experience driving in the US. The difference I was told was mainly to do with the size of the vehicles and the size of the Interstates.

When we arrived for the first time at Sanford Airport we queued at the Alamo desk to collect our car. We had ordered a mid size car (for 2 of us) thinking It would be the same size as the cars back home, when we eventually found the car in the car park we noticed that the car was a lot longer and looked like a large size family car back home. The next main change was the fact the car had Auto transmission instead of the usual gearbox we are used to. Not having driven one of these before this took a while to master using 1 foot instead of 2. To see us lurching down the car park trying to get out of the car park must have put a smile on others!

Once we managed to get out of the car park, we were then making our way along to the main Interstate in Florida (the Interstate 4 or I-4). This freeway is around 6 – 8 lanes wide and looks a lot more daunting than it actually is. One of the main differences is back home lane discipline is rather stricter than in the US, often I was caught out when cars were passing on both sides of our car. Once on this road you tend to cruise along at a comfortable speed and before you know it you are at your accommodation.

Even though the cars in the US drink more fuel than back home the price of the fuel more than makes up for this. To fill our car up cost around $45. Almost half the price of the cost to fill up a small car in the UK.

When driving around Orlando I noticed that cars were turning right on a red light. At first I thought this was a little strange, however after seeing many other cars doing this, we were the next to follow. I think this is a really good idea and does help you get to your destination quicker. One of the hardest things to get used to for me was the four way stop ‘crossroads’. These always caused me loads of problems as you have to wait your turn before moving across the crossroad. On loads of occasions I set off when it was not my turn! Not a funny experience when you are stranded in the middle of the crossroad. By the end of the week I too had mastered this.

I would say that driving in Florida is a pretty easy experience, initially I was a little nervous about driving there, but by the end of the week I was feeling like a real pro and really warmed to the automatic gearbox. Certainly in traffic it was a lot easier than using a manual gearbox and clutch. Finally the best part about our car was definitely the air conditioning, especially as the temperature was well into the 100s.

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