Driving in a city that you're not familiar with can be a nerve-racking experience! It can be hard enough just navigating around Boston, 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.
BostonRentalCar.net are here to make sure your time spent in Boston 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 Boston and throughout Massachusetts 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 Boston.
In Boston the speed limit is set at 30mph on most of the streets. In school areas or in residential areas you may need to reduce your speed down to 20mph, these areas will be properly marked with a sign. You should not drive faster than the limit, especially in school areas because there are a lot of police patrols and speed cameras. In rural areas outside Boston you can drive at up to 55mph. On freeways and highways the limit is set to 65mph if there are no road signs indicating a different speed limit.
In Boston a driver is considered to be above the legal limit if his or her blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08%. If you are caught in control of a vehicle whilst over the limit you could face fines and potentially a loss of your license. It is important to note though that for drivers under the age of 21 a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.02% is the legal limit. It is also illegal for people under the age of 21 to buy or carry alcohol in their personal cars without being accompanied by an adult.
During winter time in Boston driving can become more challenging, that's why we recommend you take extra care when driving. Always remember that braking distances increase on wet, icy and slippery surfaces. Keep a larger distance between your vehicle and the driver in front of you. Don't accelerate or brake too fast in cold conditions as you could risk losing control of your car. Always make sure your vehicle is carrying enough windshield fluid. It is always a good idea to carry a shovel and a pair of snow chains, just in case you run in to snowy conditions. If the temperature drops below freezing make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent the gas line from freezing.
Night driving is obviously more dangerous than day driving because vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles become harder to see. You should use the high beam when the street you're driving on is not properly illuminated but bear in mind that you will need to switch to low beam when you are within sight of an incoming vehicle to avoid dazzling the other driver. In Boston it is a legal requirement to turn on your headlamps whenever visibility is reduced. However, it is good practice to turn your headlamps on about 30 minutes before the sun sets.
Seat Belt Law
Boston law requires that every passenger of a vehicle must wear their seat belt. Anybody who is at least 16 years old and who is not wearing their seat belt can be fined by law enforcement agencies. If there are passengers in the vehicle aged between 12 and 16 years old who are not wearing their seatbelt, the driver is held responsible and could receive a fine for each child. If you're traveling with kids under the age of 8 and who are shorter than 57 inches they need to be transported in a recognized child seat. Remember that even if your vehicle is fitted with airbags, they are designed to work with seat belts, not instead of them.