No drinking, but give car plenty of fluids

What if I'm arrested for a traffic violation on vacation in the U.S.?

You can use your AAA card as a substitute for a bond certificate on misdemeanor traffic violations up to $1,000.

What do I need to know about driving abroad?

You can obtain an international driving permit from the auto club. Also, know the minimum and maximum age limits for driving in each country before you go and know on which side of the road you need to travel. The State Department has information and links at www.travel .state.gov/travel/tips/safety /safety_1179.html. Also check out www.drivingabroad .co.uk.

How do the drinking and driving laws differ abroad?

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the maximum blood alcohol level for drivers in most European countries, Mexico, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia is lower than the level permitted on U.S. roads. To be safe, abstain from all alcohol before driving.

What should I do before starting a long driving trip?

Make sure your tires have the proper air pressure. For each passing month, your tires can lose a pound of pressure per square inch. The proper tire pressure improves driving performance and gas mileage and reduces the chance of a blowout. Also, get your car's oil changed and make sure all the fluid levels are filled.

What if my car breaks down on the freeway?

Try to pull over to the right shoulder of the freeway. If you are blocking traffic or feel your safety is in danger, call 911.

If it's not an emergency, whom do I call?

If you do not have road- side assistance service with an automobile club or another company, make sure you know the number of the local metro freeway service, available free in many cities, including Los Angeles.

Where is it against the law to talk on the cellphone while driving?

These states prohibit the use of a hand-held cellphone while driving: California (effective July 2008), Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Washington (effective July 2008) and the District of Columbia.

Are there any other unusual driving laws I should be aware of?

Yes, here are a few:

California fines motorists up to $100 for smoking while a minor is in the car.

Rockville, Md., has made it a misdemeanor to swear from a vehicle.

All turns on red (left or right) are prohibited in New York City unless a posted sign permits it.

How can I save money on car rentals?

You can save up to 70% on the cost of car rentals by avoiding the airport rental counters where rental companies often add airport concession fees, customer facility charges and tourism assessments. Instead, rent a car from an off-airport property.

I've just climbed into a rental car. What now?

Before you drive onto a busy freeway or thoroughfare, make sure you adjust the mirrors and seat for your comfort. Also, make sure you know where to find the controls for the headlamps, emergency lights, emergency brake, cruise control and radio. Increasingly, legal experts say you should take pictures of the car to show any damage when you pick it up and at the end of your trip to show that you returned it scar-free.

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