The American culture is so different in many ways from other cultures in the world. Will you be traveling to the U.S. soon? Then in this article, you’ll find 17 things you should avoid doing during your visit.
According to Wise Voter, in most countries around the world, the legal age for drinking is 18. But in the United States, the legal age is 21. Underage drinking in the U.S. is an offense, and you may be asked for identification when you order an alcoholic drink.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes. Visitors in the U.S. should not attempt to drive a vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol. If your BAC is above 0.8, you are presumed to be intoxicated.
Drive on the Left
World Data says that out of 241 countries around the globe, there are still 68 countries where you drive on the left side. But in all states in the U.S., apart from the Virgin Islands, drive on the right side of the road. Foreigners should not forget to drive on the right when traveling to the U.S.
Forget Your Seat Belt
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that all states and the District of Columbia require adult front-seat occupants to use seat belts (with the exception of New Hampshire). Before you travel to the U.S., you must check the seat belt laws and ensure that the vehicles you travel in meet those standards.
Forget to Tip
It’s common in many establishments in the U.S. to tip after receiving a service. If you do not, it’s often considered rude. Although tipping is less common in other countries around the world, non-U.S. residents should remember to tip when traveling to the United States.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the sale of tobacco products to any person under the age of 21 is prohibited. Although the laws on tobacco are different in the U.S. from other countries in the world, visitors must abide by the laws of the country.
Talk About Sensitive Subjects
Many subjects in the U.S. are sensitive, and it’s best not to be too dogmatic with your opinions when speaking about them. Some of the subjects you should be careful with during your trip include class and money, disabilities, gender and sexuality, and mental health.
Use Your Cell Phone While Driving
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that in 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. In some states in the U.S., the use of a handheld cell phone while driving is prohibited. Check the local laws before you travel.
While it’s common in other cultures to kiss someone you meet for the first time on the cheek, this is not appropriate in American culture. When you meet someone, you may shake their hand in a formal setting. In a more relaxed setting, just saying hello is enough.
Not Carrying ID
In some countries around the world, you aren’t obligated to carry identification with you when you travel. But when you travel to the U.S., you may be asked to identify yourself at any time and will be expected to present legal documentation. This is especially true when buying alcohol or tobacco products.
The legal age for driving in the United States is 16. Foreigners who are under 16 years of age and visiting the U.S. should not attempt to drive a vehicle. Ignoring the law on underage driving can lead to serious consequences and can also be very dangerous.
Ask Personal Questions
Although asking personal questions is perfectly acceptable in some cultures, in the U.S., it is not. Visitors to the U.S. should avoid asking locals private questions about their finances, including how much they earn or how much they pay for things. They should also avoid asking someone their age or how much they weigh.
Presume Healthcare Is Free
Healthcare in the U.S. is not free, and visiting the doctor can be expensive. It’s recommended that visitors to the U.S. have health insurance that will allow them to receive medical assistance if they need it. You must check your health care plan before traveling.
Underage Club Entry
The legal age for someone to enter a club in the U.S. is 18 in some states and 21 in others. Travelers to the U.S. must be aware of the laws of the state they will visit and abide by them. Failure to do so is an offense.
Expect Small Talk
While Americans will engage in a bit of small talk with strangers, most will only properly converse with someone that they know. If you approach someone unexpectedly and begin to talk to them, Americans might ask you to identify yourself first before they feel comfortable talking.
Americans are very punctual and view it as a common courtesy to get to places on time or a little early. To fit in with the culture during your stay, make sure you’re on time for your commitments. If possible, arrive just a little early so they can see your keenness.
In the United States, police enforcement and radars are monitoring your speed wherever you go. Visitors to the U.S. must obey the speeding laws in the state they’re in to avoid landing hefty fines and getting into serious trouble with road traffic control.
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