March 21, 2015

Can Expats Drive in the US

Because many Indian offshore team members know there are many rules to follow while driving in the US, and no one wants to get pulled over by the police for breaking the law, many ask , "What are the driving rules in the US? What do you suggest?" 

I suggest in ideal situations to follow these steps: 
  1. Learn the basics of driving in India because driving instruction in the US is expensive.
  2. Many states allow use of Indian driving ID for short stays. Check with the local or state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ask about the laws regarding foreign driving IDs in your area. 
  3. If you are in the US longer than a few months, get your hands on the driving manual by downloading it off the internet or calling the local DMV for a hard copy. To get the virtual version type into Google *City State DMV Driver Handbook* or related terms. For example, here is one for the state of Nebraska. Note: while probably 80-90% of the rules are the same from state to state, it's better to read and study the manual of the state you will take the test in. 
  4. Study the book to get your driver permit. Schedule a paper and pencil test. Pass and get your driver permit. 
  5. Practice driving for several months before taking the road test. Remember as a permit holder you must have a licensed driver in the car with you. 
  6. After passing the road test, you will be issued your driver's license! 



Pennsylvania DMV known as PennDOT -
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
One of the most challenging parts of the road test for most Americans is parallel parking. When I took my driving test many moons ago, we were asked to parallel park between parked cars. I think because there were so many dents, dings or accidents because of this, many driving tests set up cones or barrels to park between, as in the video below. Actually, coming from India, I think you will find the space between these cones or barrels quite generous! 

For more questions about driving licenses in the US, check with the local DMV in the area you are going to move to in the US. 

Author, Jennifer Kumar works with global professionals and aspiring entrants to the U.S. see her profile on LinkedIn.


~This post is part of "Questions about American Culture" - a part of the US Corporate Culture Training for Offshore Professionals. At the beginning and end of the training participants ask any question they have about living in the US as an expat. While some questions are answered on the spot, some will be followed up outside of the session, such as this one.

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