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General Chat Thread, Some advice needed RE: Florida in General; Hi folks Off to Florida for a couple of weeks in April but have a few questions and was hoping ...
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    kevbaz's Avatar
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    Some advice needed RE: Florida

    Hi folks

    Off to Florida for a couple of weeks in April but have a few questions and was hoping somone would have some answers!

    Ill be hiring a car for the time that we are there, any general tips on driving other than the obvious? (wrong side of the car and road etc)

    I have a Samsung Galaxy s and it has a GPS Navigation app which i belive is powerd by google maps, would this work seamlessly in the US? is there a specific gps tomtom esque app that will if the navigator desnt work?

    Any recommended golf courses?

    Cheers

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    witch's Avatar
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    The only thing I remember is that the hire company try and make you pay a big chunk of money for a damage waiver - make sure you know what you are paying for.
    Also, on a freeway, quite often the ENTIRE 'slow' lane becomes the slip road to an exit, so if you don't want that exit, move over! There are no rules about lanes and over and undertaking happen all the time so be warned as people will be cutting in front of you from both sides which can be very disconcerting.

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    kevbaz (17th February 2011)

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Something to watch out for is every state has different laws. So if you find something on the net about driving in the USA make sure its about the state of Florida

    In Florida the max speed in 70mph unless it states otherwise. Outside of a school its 15mph hour if you see warning lights flashing.
    Highways going north and south are given odd numbers. Highways going East and West are given even numbers.
    It is legal to undertake, so cars will be all over the show!

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    kevbaz (17th February 2011)

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    i believe the earlier versions of google maps navigation only supported USA for voice navigation, so the later versions (which do voice nav in the UK) should work fine for over there regardless.
    just remember, dont rely on your phone for sat nav, i've used mine a couple of times as a test from work to home, and it suddenly thinks you're in a field and you have to wait 30 secs for it to see you and recalculate. and 30 secs is a long time if you're in a new place and haven't got a clue where to go.

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    kevbaz (17th February 2011)

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbaz View Post
    I have a Samsung Galaxy s and it has a GPS Navigation app which i belive is powerd by google maps, would this work seamlessly in the US? is there a specific gps tomtom esque app that will if the navigator desnt work?
    Anything that needs a data connection (Google Navigation does) will cost you an arm and a leg in roaming charges, and 3G GSM coverage is not very good in the US - most US 3G coverage is CDMA, which your EU model Galaxy probably doesn't support.

    Swot up on the Florida Drivers Handbook, especially chapter 4. The most obvious thing I can think of that will be different is that at most junctions ("intersections") you are permitted to turn right on a red light if it is safe to do so. There should be a sign if this is not permitted at any given junction. You also MUST turn on dipped headlights if it is raining, no matter the perceived visibility.

    You already know to drive on the right, but also be aware that in the US, vehicles drive on the "pavement", not the road, and pedestrians are on the "sidewalk".

    There are almost zero roundabouts ("traffic circles"). If you do come across one, remember to go round it the opposite way to in the UK - obvious in retrospect, but a harder habit to break than driving on the left. Absolutely nobody else there will know what the hell they are doing at a roundabout, so be cautious of people not giving way.

    I've never driven in Florida, but in Maryland and Virginia, practically nobody obeys the speed limits. Hold your nerve and stick to them, because local police will destroy you if they catch you as a tourist. They are also a lot sneakier than UK police are allowed to be - they will literally hide in blind spots, even going as far as parking up with a speed gun and raising the bonnet so you can't see it's a police car until you pass it.
    Last edited by AngryTechnician; 17th February 2011 at 10:43 AM.

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    kevbaz (17th February 2011)

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Have change on you - they have a lot of toll roads in Florida. Remember, you can turn right on a red light (like a left for us) unless there's a sign that says you can't.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    The hire company will often rent you a Sat Nav or it could be worth taking a cheap Tom Tom with US Maps.

    When driving with Sat Nav on the Interstate if you do not have 'lane by lane navigation' it can be difficult to make sure you are in the correct lane for the turn off / highway merging especially if the road is very busy so I'd err on the side of Caution and move to the far right / left a few miles before the turnoff.

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    tolls, don't forget about all the tolls if your travelling on the major roads. Most of the hire companies will offer an automatic toll pass (epass i think its called) which is probably worth taking.

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    If you negotiate you could get a TomTom relatively cheap from your hire car company - at least this way you know it will work rather then paying money out for an app for your phone + it will save on any roaming costs.

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    After last years extended Florida trip (care of a certail volcano!) I can say that driving on the freeway at rush hour just after getting of the place with just enough time to get to the villa office, oh and driving an automatic for the first time in years scare the life out of me!.....then I got used to it :-)
    Took out own Sat nav to save on hire charge and can reccomend also the epass (saves alot of hassle). Be aware of hire companies wanting to upgrade your pre booked car. Dont pay any extra and if they say its not available stand your ground, surprising how they do become available very shortly! Agree with most of the advice above. After a while you get used to the driving style over there. The sat nav saved me a few times after I got caught in the dissapearing inside lane! It was quick to re route me back again.

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