It costs surprisingly little to rent a car in the United States. You do not need an international or American driver's license （执照）to rent a car； you can use your national license in most cases.
When you rent a car， we suggest getting a rate with unlimited mileage（无里程限制）， you pay a fixed rate per day and can drive as many miles as you wish. Compare the company's rates——you may find interesting holiday or weekend rates， or international wisitor rates.
Most Americans drive and rent cars with automatic transmission（自动变速）， meaning you don't have to change gears（挡） manually.
Note that ， surprisingly enough， some car rental companies will not accept cash——you need a credit card. （They can then trace you if you've stolen or damaged the car.）
It is vevy often possible to get a "one-way rental"： you rent a car in one place and leave it in another. This can be extremely convenient， although it is normallly more expensive. Prices may vary according to what time of the week it is， as well whether mileage（里程） is included or not. It is worthwile checking around different firms to see which has the best arangemetns for you particular plans.
Choosing Your Car
Ameerican cars are generally much larger and heavier than Japanese cars， although there is now a big increase in the production of smaller cars.
The larger cars are extremely comfortable and relaxing to drive ， but they do not generally handle or corner as well as smallr cars. Besides， they consume（消耗） large amount of gasoline（汽油）。
For larger American cars terms such as "economy"， "mid-size" and "luxury" are used.
If you are anxious about changing gear with the wrong hand， it is a good idea to choose and automatic， even if you are more familiar with a gear lever. it takes no time to adapt to （适应） automatic transmission.
In some respects American roads are a good deal better than those in many other countries. They are ， for instance， generally much wider and straighter.
Driving on the Right
When driving， you should always drive on the right side of the road. You will have to remember that the mirror， hand brake and gear lever are all on your right， and that you should look over you right shoulder when reversing（倒车）。
Rules of the Road
You will learn these if you get a driver's license. Driving rules and customs vary from state to state， but these are some general respects in which they differ from those in other countries.
Traffic lights American traffic lights go green-amber（琥珀色）-red-green. In most cities， you can make a right-hand turn at a red traffic light after you have stopped and verified（证实） that you can enter traffic safely. There are some places，like New York City， where you cannot make right-hand turns on red. You must also give way to pedestrians crossing at lights.
American has four-way stop instead of round-about（环形路）。 A four-way stop is not a traffic light. it is indicated by a special stop sign thay says "4-way" beneath it. All cars must stop completely at a four-way stop before they continue throught the intersection（十字街口）。 The car that reaches the intersection first is the first one to leave（first-in ， first-out for the computer scientists out there ）。 If two or more cars arriver at the same time， the one on the right leaves first . If you cars arrive at the same time， the bravest leaves first！
The wearing of seat belts is now not compulsory（强制
的） in the USA， but it is in some of the states. You should also bear in mind that some insurance companies will not cover you for injuries if you are not wearing one.
Because of the inadequacy of public transport systems in the USA， most areas hae special school bues（which take children to and from school lonce a day，five days a week， and do nothing at all for most of the rest of the time）。 These are usually painted yellow.When they stop to take on or drop off children they display flashing red lights， and it is then illegal（非法的） to pass the bus， even if you are going in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. All traffic must stop.
If a policeman in a police car wants you to stop，he will not overtake（超过） you and stop you from in front. Instead he will drive aling behind you flashing his overhead lights， which are usually red（sometimes yellow or blue）。 Once you have stopped， you'd better stay in your car and let te policeman come to you.
Keep your hand visible， and don't do anything that might look as if you were going for a gun. Have you driving license ready-it will be the first thing that the policeman asks for .
The speed limit in cities is usually 25-35 miles per hour. On highways， it can vary between 55 and 65. On the highway， there is a minimum（最低的） speed limit as well as a maximum（最高的）。 This minimum speed limit is 40 miles（64 kilometers） per hour， unless otherwise indicated. If car trouble or bad weather forces you to drive more slowly than this， you should switch on you hazard-warning（危险警示） lights. The overall top speed limit is 65 miles（ about 105 kilometers） per hour. This is rigidly enforced in many areas. If you really feel that you want to go faster， see what other drivers are doing.
The Road Numbering System
The interstate（州际的） highway system use even（偶数
的） numbers for east-west roads and odd（奇数） numbers for north-south roads（the I-80 goes from New York to San Francisco， for example， and I-55 from Chicago to New orleans）。
You will see several types of paring regulation signs." No parking" means your can stop the car to let someone in or out ， but you cannot park between the sign and the next one. "No stopping " and "No standing" mean you can't even stop to take or drop off passengers.
You must no park in front of a fire-hydrant（消防龙头）。 It is important to remember this beacause there will be no signs anywhere to tell you. Fire-hydrants are easily recognized： they are large metal curbside（路边的） objects， perhaps two feet high， with parking spaces in front of them.
You must park in the direction of traffic flow， even in the daytime . This means that there is no way you can get to a parking space on the other side of the road unless you go round the block and come back.
At some urban parking lots you have to leave your car keys with an attendant and he parks your car for you.