Driving in a city that you're not familiar with can be a nerve-racking experience! It can be hard enough just navigating around Charlotte, never mind the driving laws and speed limits, without even thinking about the fact that you might be on the wrong side of the road if you're an international visitor.
CharlotteCarRental.net are here to make sure your time spent in Charlotte is remembered for all the right reasons. So, to help customers on vacation in our city, we've put together a guide to driving in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina using our local knowledge of what to expect from the drivers here and information about state laws.
Here are a few tips for safe driving in Charlotte.
In North Carolina you could be in trouble if your blood alcohol concentration is more than 0.08% while driving. Any driver who is caught could lose their driving license for a minimum period of 30 days. If you're stopped and refuse to take the alcohol test you may only make things worse because you risk losing your license for 12 months and you might even get arrested right there and then. Another thing we can say is that you're not allowed to buy or transport alcohol in your car if you're under 21 years old. We strongly recommend you don't drink and drive at all because your concentration and reactions will be significantly reduced.
Unlike many other cities around the world, Charlotte's laws allow drivers to use their cellphone while they drive, but only for voice calls. It is forbidden to use the cellphone for activities like text messaging, e-mailing or web browsing. Drivers who are younger than 18 years old are not allowed to use their cell under any circumstances. However the local authorities recommend that drivers only use their phones if it is absolutely necessary and to not use the devices on busy roads or highways. If it is possible, ask a passenger to take the call for you.
It is mandatory for all front seat car passengers to wear their seat belt but we recommend they are worn in the rear too. It is also important to know that kids under 8 years old who weigh less than 80 pounds must be secured in place with an appropriate booster seat. The only exception to these rules apply to passengers who are allowed to not fasten their seat belt for medical reasons. Infants and babies need to be transported in rear-facing retaining devices. Don't transport a baby on the front seat if the car has a side airbag; should you have an accident, the airbag could endanger the baby's life more than the impact itself.
You should use the high beam if driving on non-illuminated streets. However, if there's a driver approaching, you must switch to low beam when you're facing them. The same applies if you find yourself behind another driver. The use of your headlamps is mandatory if the visibility is not perfect. We recommend you be extra careful when driving at night, especially around Charlotte's rural areas because there might be animals crossing the road without a warning.
On most of the streets in Charlotte the speed limit is set to 35mph. However there might be certain pedestrian areas where you are not allowed to exceed 10mph or 15mph. Reckless drivers should know that anybody who is recorded at more than 55mph in Charlotte's built up areas can lose their driving license for a minimum of 30 days. In non-built-up areas around Charlotte the limit is set at 55mph. The maximum speed allowed on interstate road (highways) is 70 mph. Exceeding the limit by more than 10mph on any type of road can result in heavy fines.