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Old 17th September 2012, 12:17   #166
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Smile Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

I was in California for about 3.5 months a sharing pictures of few rental cars during my trip

Did a road trip from LA to SFO and back in a Mustang. Avis was kind enough to upgrade from 3.5 to a 5.0 GT and boy I had fun

It drank fuel like there was no tomorrow

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Got really really lucky when Hertz gave a brand new BMW with 200 miles on it.
It was the 4 Cylinder, Twin Turbo version. Sport mode was fun.

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We got a Sonata from Enterprise for the Vegas trip. It was a V6 & had good ride quality.

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Old 2nd December 2012, 12:49   #167
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Covered almost 1500 miles in 5 days renting a Jetta from Alamo on the Thanksgiving break, where we toured Nevada, Utah and Arizona. VERY impressed by the high speed handling, steering response, balance, acceleration and quietness of the car. Might be the best rental car I have driven in US in a long time. My buddy was equally impressed too - and was peppering me with questions of whether the same car is available in India.
Now this was a 2.5 NA petrol model, and I believe the current Indian Jetta is 1.4 TSI - which should be even better.

Rentals and me - driving in US-img_0151.jpg
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Old 12th March 2013, 15:26   #168
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

The last US and Canada trip was quite interesting. I rented my first car from LAX. Somehow my name was not on the Avis Preferred Service board, so went in to talk a service rep. When asked what car would I like to drive, I pointed to the Red Mini Copper outside and voila the paperwork was done and I drove out of the parking lot with a Mini Copper Countryman with racing stripe. It was a fun car.
Next stop was Toronto, when I arrived it had just started snowing and a major storm was expected over next three days. I asked them whether they had an AWD car. The lady in the rental desk said all SUVs are out, but if I want I can rent the BMW 328i with Xdrive !! My reaction was "duh". It was fun, specially the "sports" mode. One evening after a light dusting, it was fun to sleep and slide in an empty parking lot. I wish my stay was longer than 10 days there :-)
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:43   #169
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Hi, This is my first trip to USA and the longing to drive in USA is not settling down. The roads and cars are very inviting.

My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved

I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:53   #170
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
Hi, This is my first trip to USA and the longing to drive in USA is not settling down. The roads and cars are very inviting.

My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved

I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
how long have you been here? sit with an experienced driver to observe for a few days, switching from left to right takes about a week IMO.

Always remember, everybody follows rules/signs/lanes/etiquette here. If you jump a signal/sign/lane, do not expect others to watch out, they will rather crash into you than swerve/brake, lest they should crash into somebody else and get sued.

Take it easy, practice on local road first and you will be fine.
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Old 25th April 2013, 20:52   #171
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
Hi, This is my first trip to USA and the longing to drive in USA is not settling down. The roads and cars are very inviting.

My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved

I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
Depending on your driving experience, Its pretty easy to drive here, but just be sure to stick to the rules.
Suggest taking a rental and driving in the streets less crowded areas for a couple of days, to get used to the roads, rules.
Stick to the slow lane, and to the posted speed.
Don't panic if someone honks at you.
Have someone who has been driving here with you atleast the first time.

Good luck and have fun driving
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Old 25th April 2013, 21:30   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
Hi, This is my first trip to USA and the longing to drive in USA is not settling down. The roads and cars are very inviting.

My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved

I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
Welcome to NJ.

Observe and learn. Be courteous, drive in lane, be extra cautious while switching lanes, check your blind spots, remember to yield and most important do not ignore STOP signs.

I have highlighted the points we ignore the most carelessly in Indian driving and these can make huge difference in having a pleasure and safe driving experience in US.

OT- I am in Edison. Do let me know if you need any assistance settling down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nevertouchme View Post
We got a Sonata from Enterprise for the Vegas trip. It was a V6 & had good ride quality.
Are you sure? I don't believe this generation of Sonata was launched with V6. Might be a 2.0 turbo.

Last edited by noopster : 26th April 2013 at 10:54. Reason: Merged back to back posts
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Old 25th April 2013, 22:13   #173
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

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Originally Posted by DexterMorgan View Post
Are you sure? I don't believe this generation of Sonata was launched with V6. Might be a 2.0 turbo.
yes, the current gen has no V6. Comes in a 2.4L Standard and 2.0L Turbo
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Old 25th April 2013, 22:28   #174
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

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Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
New Jersey has some really "different" laws/rules, as i found out on my last trip. For example, many parking places (even rest areas next to highways) have "No Idling By Law" rule! And then you can't pump your own gas. When i lined up for gas, there was a queue in front of me (probably because gas is quite cheap in NJ?) and i saw attendants filling gas. I started looking for a pump that had no attendants, but couldnt find one. Later I came to know that this is also a law here that you cant pump your own gas. Even from the pump at the race track!

Oh here is another one. The pit area at the New Jersey Motor Park has 5 mph speed limit. Police cruisers sometimes patrol that area and have been know to hand out speeding tickets there!! Imagine going home and telling your wife, "Honey, i got a speed ticket at the track for doing 20mph"

Anyway, as for normal driving, just be aware of the road signs and signals. Although it may sound counter intuitive, but it is actually easier to drive on the freeway than inside the cities.
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Old 26th April 2013, 10:41   #175
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved
Easy to drive but you need to know road signs and rules, better to read up on the net or get a book from the local DMV.
Follow signs, follow the rules, stick to speed limits posted, don't honk, respect pedestrians, maintain good safe distance from vehicle ahead, signal ahead of time when changing lanes or turning, be courteous.
I'd also recommend you to get some insurance/Loss Damage Waiver plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
sit with an experienced driver to observe for a few days, switching from left to right takes about a week IMO.
Good point - Having someone experienced guide you on smaller roads with not too much traffic will definitely help you gain confidence.
The switching part will come with experience - it's like a self-test for me now since I don't travel often to the US but when I do, it is to the same place so I rent a car at the airport itself.
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:07   #176
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
Hi, This is my first trip to USA and the longing to drive in USA is not settling down. The roads and cars are very inviting.

My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved

I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
US is the easiest place to drive - follow ALL the rules you have ever read (because everyone else will) and you should be good. You can access all the rules at NJ MVC website.

In NJ, you could take the written exam and get the NJ DL w/o giving the road test. Don't know if it is still the case there.

Also - couple of unique laws pertaining to NJ - don't try to pump your own gas, and lookout for jug handles in order to take a left turn.

Rent a car, take full insurance (LDW especially), and start driving !
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:57   #177
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

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...
Also - couple of unique laws pertaining to NJ - don't try to pump your own gas, and lookout for jug handles in order to take a left turn.
Err ... what are "jug handles", in the context of a left turn?
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:59   #178
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Err ... what are "jug handles", in the context of a left turn?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jughandle
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Old 26th April 2013, 16:05   #179
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikoneer View Post
Hi, This is my first trip to USA and the longing to drive in USA is not settling down. The roads and cars are very inviting.

My question here is, how easy / difficult to drive in usa and what are the pointers to consider before i can think about driving in usa. Please also highlight the risks involved

I am in NJ and have carried both IDP and Indian DL
I drove in the US for the first time when I visited couple of months back. It was much easier than I had thought. I spent some time going over the rules and some blogs related to driving in the particular state (CA, OR and AZ in my case). Once I was there spent a couple of days observing my colleague as he drove. He pointed out small things that are important. Then I took over. Switching to driving on the RHS was pretty easy.

One key point is: If your driving mentality in India is on the defensive side-you are more comfortable when there is some semblance of rules being followed (like proper traffic lights, traffic police, not honking too much, prefer to stick in lanes, park in the right places etc) you'll find the adjustment easier.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 10:32   #180
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Default Re: Rentals and me - driving in US

A little digression...

I drove a rental car in the US for the first time in 2000 Aug. I had to go pick-up a friend from Atlanta Airport as he couldnt afford flying into smaller ports like Gainesville where we studied. We were Poor Indian Graduate Students you see ;-). So I rented this compact car from Avis in Gainesville and drove to Atlanta which is a good 350 miles away. My friend, who didnt know driving back then, accompanied me so that I wasnt all by myself. It took me a good 6 hours to drive from Gainesville to Atlanta. I forgot one important thing during that trip. To fill gas! Right when I was entering Atlanta, it was a 10-12 lane highway (5-6 lanes each side) with 55 MPH speed limit while most of the cars were doing 65-70 MPH and there was considerable amount of traffic. The car engine just turned off! I press the pedal and there is no response. For a moment I was clueless and my friend had no idea what was going on. I quickly realized after a glance at the fuel gauge that we had run out of gas. The full tank lasts only 300 odd miles. I hit the hazard lamps and slowly started changing lanes crossing 3-4 lanes to park on the side. As we were students existing on Teaching Assistance, we didnt have mobile phones or AAA membership. The nearest Gas station was a couple of miles and we didnt have a can to carry the fuel even if we got there walking. Also we had a friend who was arriving at the airport in less than an hour after a day long journey. With so much confusion in our minds we sat discussing for a couple of minutes. Just then a pick-up truck came parked behind us and honked. It is quite unusual to hear honking sound and we were pretty tensed given the situation. Just when I thought I will get out and talked to them, a man talked over a microphone asking why we have stopped. I yelled back saying we were out of gas. He couldnt hear. When I tried to step out again, he said dont step out, show your hands out (or something to that effect!). When I waved both my hands out, he asked me to step out while he was seated in his truck. Slowly I walked up to his truck and explained that I was out of gas. He got out, took a can filled with gas and a funnel and asked me to open the tank and filled some gas. When I asked him how much to pay, he said just go. I then saw what was written on the truck. It read Highway Emergency Response Operator! Really a HERO. Within about 5-10 minutes of stopping, we were back on the road with the fuel gauge showing 1/4th of the tank full and not a penny spent! I cant put into words how I felt then. To imagine what all could have gone wrong is crazy. Obviously a blunder on my part but from then on, I always make it a point to glance at fuel gauge, temp gauge etc every once in a while to ensure nothing is amiss.

Thanks
Madhav

Mods: I might be off topic but wanted to mention the importance of HERO in US. Please merge with any other relevant topic.
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