U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S.
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-10-2015, 02:16 PM
 
93 posts, read 57,284 times
Reputation: 71

Advertisements

Me and my brother are going on a roadtrip for 3 weeks in august to september. We are in our 20's and 30's. We will be visiting Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Gettysburg, Niagara Falls, Toronto(maybe) and New York. And I have questions.

We are both smokers. How acceptable is smoking in the US? Can you smoke in public? When walking on a sidewalk? Can you put it out anywhere? This might seem like silly questions, but in Sweden you can smoke almost anywhere and put it out anywhere and I don't want to offend Americans with my smoking or get fined.

As we are two guys. Will people think we are homosexual when we travel together? This might also be thought of as a silly question. But I don't want us to be mistaken for a gay couple. Although I have nothing against gay people.

Can you make u-turns in intersections? I have noticed when looking on streetview that in many places there is a barrier in the middle of the road in bigger roads, so lets say you want to go to a restaurant(or whatever) that is on the left side of the road, how do you get there when there is a barrier in the middle? Barriers in the middle of the road aren't common in sweden.

In movies set in America. I have noticed that many bars are set on the side of the road and people drive to the bar and drink. Is this acceptable in real life? In other words can you drink and drive? Offcourse I don't mean you can get completley drunk and drive... but a couple of beers and then get back in the car? They do this in american movies.

This is all the questions I have for now and I'd much appreciate answers. And yes I know some of them might seem silly but it's things that I have wondered about hehe.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-10-2015, 09:04 PM
 
892 posts, read 1,097,308 times
Reputation: 738
I understand why you would think some of these things, as the media and some posters on this forum tend to distort reality. There are probably a lot of things that I think about Sweden that are also distorted.

Most states have banned indoor smoking in most commercial buildings, but smoking outdoors is legal as long as you're more than 50 feet (about 15 meters) away from an entrance to a government building. Most bars allow smoking.

Unless you and your brother like to make out with each other in public, I doubt that anyone would suspect that you two were a gay couple.

U-turns are allowed at intersections unless there is a no U-turrn sign, except for a few places in the country I doubt you'd be going to where U-turns are prohibited except in places where there are U-turn allowed signs. Usually, when there is a central barrier, the parking lots of the businesses on each side of the street are connected, or there is a break in the barrier for people to make left turns into the parking lot.

You are allowed to have a small amount of alcohol in your blood before you get to the limit of where you'd be charged with driving under the influence. This varies by state. It's often better to have a taxi or other mode of transportation back to where you're staying. When you are in the large cities, the busses run through the night.

I hope that you enjoy your trip.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2015, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
6,490 posts, read 16,176,041 times
Reputation: 5646
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxdtdemon View Post
I understand why you would think some of these things, as the media and some posters on this forum tend to distort reality. There are probably a lot of things that I think about Sweden that are also distorted.

Most states have banned indoor smoking in most commercial buildings, but smoking outdoors is legal as long as you're more than 50 feet (about 15 meters) away from an entrance to a government building. Most bars allow smoking.

Unless you and your brother like to make out with each other in public, I doubt that anyone would suspect that you two were a gay couple.

U-turns are allowed at intersections unless there is a no U-turrn sign, except for a few places in the country I doubt you'd be going to where U-turns are prohibited except in places where there are U-turn allowed signs. Usually, when there is a central barrier, the parking lots of the businesses on each side of the street are connected, or there is a break in the barrier for people to make left turns into the parking lot.

You are allowed to have a small amount of alcohol in your blood before you get to the limit of where you'd be charged with driving under the influence. This varies by state. It's often better to have a taxi or other mode of transportation back to where you're staying. When you are in the large cities, the busses run through the night.

I hope that you enjoy your trip.
I agree with most of this. However, smoking laws are different in different states. In most, if not all, of the states you plan to visit, smoking is NOT allowed in bars. You will have to step outside to smoke. Smoking is also not allowed in many parks in New York City. There will be signs indicating this, so just check before you smoke.

As dxd said, u-turns are allowed most places, unless signs tell you otherwise. Since you will be driving in New Jersey, it seems fair to warn you that on many NJ highways left turns or U-turns are made using small ramps called jughandles. As you approach a signalized intersection there will be a small white sign directing you to the ramp for "U AND LEFT TURNS." These are common in New Jersey but not common in other states.

You'll have more fun if you take a taxi to the bars than if you try to drive to the bars and back. Enforcement of drunk driving is very strict in the U.S. and the consequences for being arrested for drunk driving are severe. Do not risk it.

It looks like you guys have a good itinerary. It will be a lot of driving! I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2015, 10:53 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
1,291 posts, read 1,196,603 times
Reputation: 729
Legally, you can have anything under a .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and be allowed to drive. Some places are different, but that's the norm.

A *general* tip in the US is there is a 2 drink minimum before you can't drive anymore. Of course this varies on a lot of things such as your weight, metabolism, how much alcohol is in the drink, and other things. Do not expect somebody to be able to have a breathalyzer at a bar to help you with this, it's not required in bars (some exceptions may apply). Also, a lot of people come to the USA and think it's okay to drink in public (outdoors) - it's usually not. And you can get arrested for being "Intoxicated in Public" as well, if you don't maintain a bit of respect to the... public
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-11-2015, 07:09 AM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,444 posts, read 18,363,374 times
Reputation: 11926
Better yet, at most if not all of your destinations, book your hotels in right in downtown or close to public transportation/metro lines to place yourself in the most walkable areas and just not worry about having to drive anywhere if you go out for a drink. Some of these cities have different names for being right in town that it would be a good idea to book your hotel at, like the Inner Harbor area in Baltimore, and Center City Philadelphia. Most of NYC will be fine though Manhattan would be ideal if you can swing it, likewise in Washington if you're within the district or near a metro stop.

If you're going to Niagara Falls make sure you stay in and plan most of your activity on the Canadian side. It makes a big difference, most of the fun is on that side. If you're driving out all that way, you might as well make time for Toronto since you'll be in the area.

As to "drive in" type bars, yes we do have a lot of those around the country. It's difficult to explain since our drunk driving laws are so tough. Many have a restaurant combination so some will stop in for a drink or two while having a meal. Some will have a designated driver with them, some call a cab, and yes some just ignore the law completely and drink and drive. Fortunately the Northeastern cities are more conducive to having walkable areas giving you more options to park, stay, and walk.

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 05-11-2015 at 07:33 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-11-2015, 07:33 AM
 
56,749 posts, read 81,082,761 times
Reputation: 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert_SW_77 View Post
Better yet, at most if not all of your destinations, book your hotels in right in downtown or close to public transportation/metro lines to place yourself in the most walkable areas and just not worry about driving anywhere if you go out for a drink. Some of these cities have different names for being right in town that it would be a good idea to book your hotel at, like the Inner Harbor area in Baltimore, and Center City Philadelphia. Most of NYC will be fine though Manhattan would be ideal if you can swing it, likewise in Washington if you're within the district or near a metro stop.

If you're going to Niagara Falls make sure you stay in and plan most of your activity on the Canadian side. It makes a big difference, most of the fun is on that side. If you're driving out all that way, you might as well make time for Toronto since you'll be in the area.

As to "drive in" type bars, yes we do have a lot of those around the country. It's difficult to explain since our drunk driving laws are so tough. Many have a restaurant combination so some will stop in for a drink or two while having a meal. Some will have a designated driver with them, some call a cab, and yes some just ignore the law completely and drink and drive. Fortunately the Northeastern cities are more conducive to having walkable areas giving you more options to park, stay, and walk.
I'd also suggest taking a trip to these areas nearby as well: https://www.niagaraonthelake.com/
Niagara On The Lake | Niagara Falls Tourism (Canadian side)

Lower Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce | Visitors
Historic Lewiston, NY
Village of Youngstown, New York
Welcome to Old Fort Niagara
(NY side, of course)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-11-2015, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,319 posts, read 6,987,783 times
Reputation: 3504
You've gotten good advice here. Enjoy your trip!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lammius View Post
You'll have more fun if you take a taxi to the bars than if you try to drive to the bars and back. Enforcement of drunk driving is very strict in the U.S. and the consequences for being arrested for drunk driving are severe. Do not risk it.
Not compared to where the OP is from. Sweden, and Europe in general, is much harsher on this.

Think Drunk-Driving Rules Are Tough Here? Try Sweden - Driver's Seat - WSJ
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-11-2015, 01:53 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,130 posts, read 17,171,427 times
Reputation: 9982
Just a few FYI's
Most Rental Cars are Non/Smoking
Many/Most Hotels are Non/Smoking

And have HUGE Cleaning fees if they Think you smoked in them.

I would suggest get a vent Freshener Even if you don't smoke in them the smoke odor will be on your cloths, and they might be enough to trigger the Cleaning fees.

Febreze CAR Vent Clips Smoke Odor Eliminator

http://www.febreze.com/en-US/product...extra-strength

Last edited by flyonpa; 05-11-2015 at 02:01 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-11-2015, 02:00 PM
 
93 posts, read 57,284 times
Reputation: 71
Thanks for all the replys.

Another thing that I have wondered about is when driving on "country roads" (highways?) and you need to pee, can you just stop at the side of the road and relieve yourself behind some trees? In sweden, people do this all the time even though its illegal here but aslong as its in the "country" and nobody sees you, its okay. Is it like this in the US?

I know that in England, this is very much frowned upon and most people drive until they see a rest stop/restaurant or whatever to find a bathroom. But I think in the US theres much more wilderness, towns are further apart... you cant always hold yourself for that long.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-11-2015, 02:04 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,130 posts, read 17,171,427 times
Reputation: 9982
Yes, in RURAL area, with no one around, few if any cars passing its "OK". Just make sure the "Hardware" is not visible from the road.

(Two lane roads, wood/farmland etc)

Any developed area its expected you find a bathroom. Most (Like every other) exit off a hi-way will have something @ the exit, a Gas Station, Fast Food place you can stop at, there are Information (Blue) signs on the hi-way about what is @ the next exit. Its a common courtesy to give where you stop some of your business. Get Gas there, Get a soda, snack etc.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S.
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top