June 5 2012 by Mike Mason
With summer travel approaching, drivers are taking it to the nation's highways to explore the four corners of North America. This can be an exciting adventure, full of new sights and experiences, but it can also be confusing. Many motorists find themselves in a new place without really knowing what the local driving laws or road signs mean. Whether you're taking a trip to San Francisco or Louisville, here are five refreshers to help you stay safe on the road:
Yes, recycling is good for the earth, but that's not what this cautious yellow sign is communicating. If you are from a rural area and haven't tried a roundabout, there are a few tricks to remember. As you are approaching, be sure you know what street you need to go to, because your sense of direction may be compromised a bit going around the circle. When entering, make sure to yield to the vehicles already going around. When it's safe, glide on in and smoothly go around to the street you need to continue on. Most locales will mark each street at a lower level so you know which exit to take.
While this symbol could be mistaken for a classy moccasin, these marked pathways are for snowmobile use only. During winter in the Northern U.S. or Canada, it may be hard to distinguish between the snow-covered road and the snowmobile trail, which look about the same in the snowy splendor. Stay alert and watch for signs to ensure you're on the right roadway.
To help the flow of traffic in many cities around the world, the center turn lane has been designed to change direction depending on the time of day. This is common in cities such as Atlanta, Phoenix and Omaha. To stay on top of which lane you should actually be in, watch for overhead signs or lighted lane indicators that show if the lane is currently open in your direction.
If you're driving through a neighborhood in Vancouver and you see a sign like this, make sure you don't go 20 MPH or you could end up with a nice international ticket. (The speed is actually more like 12 MPH). The big difference is that once you cross the border of our neighbor to the North, all speed markings are in kilometers per hour, or about 1.6 miles per hour per kilometer. It's not just Canada who uses the metric system either; you may run into these speed limits anywhere else around the world. In fact, in some regions of the U.S., speed limits are also marked in kilometers per hour with a circle around the number to differentiate.
Don't Even Think of Parking Here
Finally, be cautious wherever you travel. In New York City, there's a common No Parking sign that says "Don't Even Think of Parking Here". Parking in that location could cost you a $115 fine. In addition, just making a right turn at any red light in Manhattan could cost you $130, because it's officially against city law.