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Tips for Expats Driving in Austin

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Austin.
|-Tips for Expats Driving in Austin

1. Understanding Austin’s Traffic

Austin is known for its heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. The city is growing rapidly, and the infrastructure is struggling to keep up. Be prepared for delays and plan your trips accordingly. The I-35 and Mopac Expressway are particularly notorious for traffic congestion.

2. Car Recommendation

There’s no specific car recommendation for Austin. It depends on your personal needs and preferences. However, considering the city’s warm climate, you might want to consider a car with good air conditioning. Also, if you plan to explore the Texas Hill Country or other outdoor areas, an SUV or a car with good ground clearance might be beneficial.

3. Parking in Austin

Finding parking in downtown Austin can be challenging, especially during peak hours or events. However, there are numerous parking garages and lots available. The cost of parking can vary, but expect to pay for parking in most downtown areas. Some residential areas require a permit for street parking.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Texas with a valid international driving permit for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a Texas driver’s license. It’s recommended to get your Texas license as soon as possible, as it can also serve as your primary form of identification.

5. Getting a Texas Driver’s License

To get a Texas driver’s license, you will need to visit a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) office. You will need to provide proof of identity, proof of Social Security number (if you have one), proof of Texas residency, and proof of legal presence in the U.S. You will also need to pass a written test, a driving test, and a vision exam. It’s recommended to study the Texas Driver’s Handbook before taking the tests.

6. Be Aware of Pedestrians and Cyclists

Austin is a very pedestrian and cyclist-friendly city. Always be aware of pedestrians crossing the street and cyclists sharing the road. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and give cyclists plenty of room when passing.

7. Watch Out for Wildlife

Especially if you’re driving in the outskirts of the city or in the Hill Country, be aware of wildlife. Deer are common in Texas and can often dart out into the road, especially at dawn and dusk.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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