Can You Drive in California As a Tourist?

California As a Tourist

California is a beautiful state with an immense number of attractions to see and things to do. As the third-largest state in the country, California is very different at its northern border than at its southern border. People from all over the nation and around the world travel to California to visit. However, many tourists may be unsure if they can drive in California.

Visiting From Another Part of the U.S.

If you have a valid driver’s license issued by a U.S. state, territory or the District of Columbia, you can drive in California without restriction. Of course, you will need to abide by the California traffic laws. If you want to avoid needing to frantically search for “traffic lawyer San Francisco,” consider briefly reviewing the laws for California.

Complying with the laws across states is usually not too difficult as many rules are shared between states or set at the federal level. If you do get into trouble, make sure to address the problem quickly. Dealing with tickets in another state can be frustrating but it is necessary.

Visiting From Another Country

If you are visiting from another country, there are some more restrictions to abide by. You can drive for up to a year on a foreign driver’s license. However, California does not recognize an International Driving Permit as a valid license. You will need a license issued by your home country. Additionally, you must be at least 18 to drive in California.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with California and U.S. driving laws. The last thing you want on your trip is to be called a speeding ticket lawyer because you didn’t recognize the signage. Compared to some countries, the U.S. is relatively strict about adhering to traffic laws. It is a good idea to take things easy when you first arrive until you get a better sense of the roads and traffic patterns.

Visiting the Multiple States

If you are traveling to the U.S. and visiting California plus several other states, be aware the at the laws are different depending on which state you are in. These differences are usually relatively minor, but it is a good idea to get to know the rules for each state before you arrive. That way you can avoid the headache of confusing laws.

For example, some states have different regulations about driving with an IDP. You don’t want to arrive in a state that allows driving with an IDP then drive to California only to be pulled over. The U.S. is big and diverse. Get to know the rules before arriving so you can avoid needing a traffic ticket attorney.

Learn More

Whether you find yourself with a traffic citation or are unsure how to deal with the laws, get some professional help. If you are visiting from another country, it may be tempting just to forget about a ticket because you are leaving the country. This is a bad idea. Get help and get the situation dealt with. It doesn’t have to be a headache when you have the right traffic lawyer in your corner.

Janet B
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