Driving in the UK

london-drivingIf you’re coming to London this year and thinking of hiring a car, then let us give you a few tips on what to look out for. Firstly, for visitors coming from the USA or Europe, in the UK we drive on the left hand side of the road.

Remember that you should always look to the left first at junctions to avoid oncoming traffic and cars on the main road have right of way. Roundabouts are something US drivers will have to get used to too – we have lots of them! If you have never tried approaching one than you’re in for a shock, particularly in the centre of London, where the traffic is heavy and everyone is in a hurry.

Also note that from Monday to Friday during the day, there is an £8 (soon to go up to £10) congestion charge in the centre of London. Failure to pay will result in the hire company deducting the £80 fine directly from your credit card. All vehicles are monitored by CCTV cameras which operate all over London and the U.K. The fines are generated automatically so there is no escape!

Parking restrictions are also in place (and heavily enforced with clamps and fines) all over London and official parking is expensive; it can cost as much as £12 an hour. Add to this the various one way streets, heavy traffic, crazy drivers and you have a very dangerous experience.

If you do decide to drive then a Satellite Navigation system is a must, however with London so built up with high buildings and the streets so small and on top of each other, the GPS is not as accurate as it might be, sometimes leaving you lost and confused.

Should you decide to go out of London and experience the rest of the UK, then there is plenty to see, but even in the quiet country lanes look out for those carefully hidden speed cameras.

Generally U.K drivers are quite good but there are truck drivers, motor bikes (who weave between the traffic) caravan drivers and bicycles, all of which cause additional hazards on sometimes narrow roads.

Our advice would be to let someone else do the driving and enjoy the scenery in a chauffeured vehicle. After all, whether on business or vacation when you are in the car you have time to relax and enjoy yourself.

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