Driving in New York State isn’t just about navigating the iconic metropolis of the same name. In upstate New York and beyond you can find spectacular landscapes that include some of America’s most beautiful natural sights. And you can enjoy your trip even more if you avoid fines and offenses during your car rental vacation by knowing some of the rules of the road. We also share some sightseeing tips and general speed limits so you can sit back and enjoy driving through New York.
General Rules and Regulations
- In New York drivers must yield to other motorists or pedestrians in order to avoid an accident. In addition, drivers must yield to pedestrians in both marked and unmarked crosswalks.
- You must stop for school buses that have flashing lights or are loading and unloading. In New York, this rule even applies if you are on the other side of a divided highway.
- Drivers are required not to stop in an intersection when they can not clear the green light due to backed up traffic.
- All front-seat drivers and passengers must wear seat belts.
- Children under 4 years old must be placed in a safety seat. Children between 40 and 100 pounds up to 6 years of age must be in a booster seat while those over 100 pounds must use a seat belt with a shoulder and lap belt.
- Drivers must follow the 2-second rule when behind another vehicle and this must be increased to a safe level in adverse weather conditions.
Speed Limits in New York State
The speed limit throughout New York is lower than many other U.S states at a 55 mile-per-hour maximum unless otherwise signposted. On some Interstate Highways such as I-787 and I-495, the speed limit can drop to 40 mph. Like some neighboring states, New York also has the “reasonable and prudent” limit law that means you must adjust your speed to avoid accidents depending on the weather and road conditions.
|Within city limits||30-45 mph (48-72 km/h)|
|Highways outside cities||55 mph (89 km/h)|
|Interstates||55-65 mph (89-105 km/h)|
Passing, Turning, and Parking
When using multi-lane roads in New York, slower-moving drivers that are passed frequently are required to move to the right lane so that vehicles can pass safely on the left. When turning in New York drivers are required to signal 100 feet before the turn; hand signals must be used in the absence of functioning turn lights.
There are three different ways to park in New York and it is crucial to understand the difference between “parking”, “standing” and “stopping” if you want to avoid fines. When the sign reads “No Parking” you are not allowed to stop and leave your vehicle, but you can stop temporarily to load and unload people or goods. “No Standing” means you can only to stop briefly to load or unload people. “No Stopping” means that you can only stop if instructed to do so by a police officer, traffic signal, or sign. In addition, you cannot park or allow your vehicle to stand in front of driveways. You also cannot park, stop, or stand your vehicle within the following distances:
- Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
- Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing
- Within 30 feet of a traffic signal, flashing beacon or yield sign.
- Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.
- Within 20 feet of a fire station on the same side of the road or 75 feet when parking on the opposite side.
Car Rental with SIXT in New York
New York City is the state’s main attraction for many visitors and the iconic metropolis is a dream destination for city lovers. Our New York branch is located downtown meaning you can start your car rental vacation from the heart of NYC. Car rental in New York makes it quick and easy to see the major sights of Manhattan as well as leaving the island to visit all of the diverse neighborhoods in other boroughs.
If you love the great outdoors you should definitely venture upstate into New York’s majestic scenery. You can follow the road along the Hudson River north out of New York through the Hudson River Valley. Or travel west and you will come to Lake Eerie and the spectacular Niagara Falls. Closer to New York City you can explore the Catskill Mountains. Although the waterfalls are not quite as epic as Niagara, there are plenty and the forests, hiking trails, and camping opportunities make for a stunning vacation in nature.