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  1. #1

    Default Road trip and Las Vegas Wedding

    4 of us are visiting America for the first time. We have been invited to a wedding in Vegas and have decided to make it more of a road trip, rather than a brief visit to Vegas and home again.

    We will be flying out to America from the UK a week to maybe a week and a half before the wedding. We plan on flying to LA, then driving to San Fransisco doing a bit of sight seeing, then driving to Vegas, probably via LA for the wedding. We plan on staying in Vegas for a few nights, visitng the Grand Canyon and Death Valley and the driving back to LA to fly home again.

    As none of us have ever done this before could anyone give us any ideas about the best routes to take, places to stay and any tips for driving and anything we should be aware of.

    Thanks,

    Al

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Doing the loop.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I'm a little confused as to why you plan to go back to LA to get to Vegas, when you are already planning to start and finish your trip there. You should also note that the GC National park is more than a day trip from Vegas and an overnight is recommended. Although you might be thinking about taking a tour, do your homework as most tours from Vegas go to the West Rim on Indian lands [Skywalk] which is not within the National park and although good, will not resemble the views made famous across the world by photography.

    What I would actually do [if possible] is to make your road trip a complete loop and stop 'in the middle of it' for the wedding. For example you could start out in LA and head direct to the Grand canyon and then back to Vegas before driving across Death Valley and up to Yosemite NP, across to San Fran and down the coast to LA. Heading south down the coast has the advantage of the Ocean being on your side of the road.

    What time of year are you travelling ? Here is a link to some of our favourite threads covering the area, although you will find many more searching around the forums and by simply scrolling down this page.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you so much for the reply.

    If I'm being honest, we aren't very sure about what we're doing. I've already got a better idea from looking through some of the forums that you've recommended. Thanks :).

    We'll be going about the middle of May next year. So hopefully, we have given ourselves enough time to plan!

    Do you have any tips about driving around America that we would need to know?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Right on Red.

    Do you have any tips about driving around America that we would need to know?
    The one stand out difference is the 'Right on Red ' rule. This is where you can turn right on a red light if the way is clear, but only after you have come to a complete halt. I've had many UK visitors mention how they were not aware of this and sat at the lights on red, wondering why the traffic behind was tooting the horn ! Other than driving on the wrong, Ooops....the other side of the road it is quite straightforward and you will soon adjust, even if you have had no previous experience of doing so.

    Driving in the US is a pleasant experience once you hit the wide open road ! If you have any other questions just ask.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Another tip: don't drive slower than most of the other traffic, especially on the interstates. If you are doing 60 and everyone else is doing 70, speed up a little. You can cause an accident if you are going too slow!


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default It doesn't happen often..............

    ...if at all, but I disagree with Donna on this one.

    I understand exactly what Donna is saying here and we all know what a pain 'dawdlers' can be on the Motorways here in the UK, and it's no different in the US. However you will NOT cause an accident by driving at a pace you are comfortable and relaxed at, [within reason] and you should feel more than comfortable if you are driving at 60mph plus on Interstate [conditions permitting]. If you use the correct lane procedures, your indicators when needed, and your mirrors regularly you will be fine. Also make sure you maintain an average speed where possible. By speeding up and slowing down with traffic you will cause more problems for those that are overtaking you while maintaining a safe, steady pace. [I have been a truck driver, and there is nothing worse than trying to pass someone when you are carrying a heavy load, who is clearly travelling slower than you, and then they decide to speed up leaving you 'stranded' alongside them for an age, and blocking a lane in the process.

    It is those that do not concentrate on their driving and the traffic around them [especially when speeding] that will actually cause an accident, if anyone. If there is a 10-15mph difference between your speed and that of others on the road/speed limit and you feel comfortable at that pace, maintain it. Do not speed up just because others are going faster, that's a more likely reason that you could cause an accident.

    Basically my message is, you will not cause an accident when driving sensibly and safely and within your comfort zone. I have never heard of a person being blamed for an accident because someone wasn't paying attention and ran into the back of them, or had to swerve because they didn't see them in time, and caused a crash. Don't worry though, as I said previously, on the whole it's a lot more pleasant and easier than driving here in the UK.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default probably never!

    Dave is quite right... and speaking from experience. I would just like to add, that I have now clocked up over 110000 miles on USA roads (and a bit in Canada), 99% of which has been below 65mph (usually around 100kph). Not only has it never caused me to be in danger of an accident, I actually quite regularly overtake other vehicles, especially trucks, some of which are limited at 65 and even 60mph. (I have a friend who drove for a company which had all its truck limited at 60. The only accident - near fatal - he was involved in, was when some *idiot* shot out of a driveway onto the road without looking. He saw the car disappear under his engine.)

    It is however important that you use your cruise control and retain a constant speed. Nothing irritates other drivers more than a vehicle which speeds up, slows down, speeds up again, and so on. They are probably a greater cause of accidents, even if only caused by frustration.

    Having just driven down I-95 from VA to Ft Lauderdale (speed limit 70) at a steady speed of 64mph, I lost count of the number of accidents I passed. Trucks rolled over; cars rear-ended; one looked like one car went into the side of another, etc.

    Also, you will often find that someone will stay behind you at the same speed you are travelling. I had vehicles sitting behind me for dozens of miles, travelling at the same speed. One sedan trailed me for almost 50 miles, until he exited.

    As for the turn on red, watch for places where it is not allowed. They are always signed... though I think they are mostly on the east coast.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 08-08-2012 at 02:18 PM. Reason: clarification

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Another thought.

    Back in 2004, I think it was, I was driving behind a car which had a hand drawn Union Jack in the rear window, with the words 'British Driver' underneath. At first I thought it was a sign of lacking confidence. But as time progressed, I saw the wisdom in his method.

    Since then, every vehicle I have driven has had an Australian flag in the rear window. The flag I have at the moment is about 8" x 12". I have of course, no idea if this makes a difference. But since I feel extremely uncomfortable at times, having to turn right on red, I simply wait till the light turns green. Not once have I had anyone toot their horn at me.

    So let them know you are not a local, and who knows, it may be the source of other drivers affording you extra courtesies.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    9

    Default

    When I first drove in the USA it was the uncontrolled intersections (no signs) that had me stumped. I have never seen one in AUS, except for when the traffic lights are out of action of course.

    It reminds me of all of the eastern staters who come over to Perth and think they can do U turns at the traffic lights

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default What???

    Quote Originally Posted by chironbe View Post
    It reminds me of all of the eastern staters who come over to Perth and think they can do U turns at the traffic lights.
    You mean to say that you can't??

    Lifey

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