Driving in NC
Getting around North Carolina is easy.
Here are some essentials for North Carolina land, air and water travel as well as NC-specific information for driving.
North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the nation, incorporating over 78,600 miles of highways. Five major interstate highways intersect North Carolina: I-26, I-40, I-77, I-85 and I-95.
Rules of the Road
- Seat belt use is mandatory for drivers and passengers in front and rear seats.
- Child safety seats are required for children up to age 8 and weighing less than 80 pounds. For information, visit www.buckleupnc.org.
- When passing an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the highway shoulder, reduce speed and, if possible move over a lane. When approaching an emergency vehicle on a two-lane highway, motorists must slow down while maintaining a safe speed and approach with caution.
- If you are in a minor, non-injury accident, move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
- Motorists are required, if they can safely do so, to move one lane away from any law enforcement or other emergency vehicles; on a two-lane highway, motorists must slow down while maintaining a safe speed and approach with caution.
- Motorists are required to use headlights when using windshield wipers in inclement weather.
- Right turn on red is permitted after a complete stop, unless otherwise posted. Left turns on red are not permitted.
- Motorists under the age of 18 are prohibited from talking on any cell phone, hand-held or hands-free, while driving.
- All motorcycle and moped riders must wear an approved helmet.
- It is illegal to read or send text messages or e-mails while driving.
- Cell phone use by drivers younger than 18 is prohibited except in an emergency or when talking to a parent or spouse.
511 Statewide Travel Information
By dialing 511 from a landline or cell phone, visitors can access road conditions, weather updates and other travel-related information. This service also allows access to travel information though the state’s 1-800-VISIT NC (847-4862) information line as well as the NC Department of Transportation’s Rail Division, Ferry Division and other transit agencies.
TIMS is the internet-based version of the 511 information line. TIMS stands for Traveler Information Management System and provides real time information on events that cause severe or unusual congestion on state-maintained roadways in North Carolina. Visit TIMS.
Take a Break
North Carolina’s Welcome Centers and Highway Rest Areas offer opportunities for convenient stops and provide easy roadside access to public restrooms, drinking water and telephones. Welcome Centers also provide picnic tables and grills, family restrooms, even displays of North Carolina arts and crafts. North Carolina Welcome Centers and Visitor Centers are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Rest Areas are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
North Carolina recognizes a valid driver’s license from other countries for hiring and driving a vehicle. If your license is not in English, an International License is suggested. Most rental car companies will require the driver to be at least 25 years of age and will often insist on a credit card; otherwise, a large cash deposit may be required.
Car Rental Companies
|Alamo||1-800 GO ALAMO||www.alamo.com|
|National||1-800 CAR RENT||www.nationalcar.com|
|Triangle Rent-A-Car||1-800-643-RENT (7368)||www.trianglerentacar.com|
added: December 5, 2008
updated: April 7, 2010