If this is your first time driving in the United Kingdom, get ready for some of the most amazing road trips of your life. The incredibly beautiful sights and rich history of the land, coupled with the famed road safety standard, is guaranteed to give you a memorable holiday in the British Isles.
With that in mind, we have compiled below ten handy tips that will help you make the most out of your trip.
Motorists are prohibited from manually using their mobile phones while driving, even when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights. A hands-free kit is permissible, provided you are in full and complete control of your vehicle. If you appear distracted, the police are authorised to stop you. Offenders can be fined up to£1,000, penalised with six penalty points, or banned from driving.
Driving, or even attempting to drive, when the body's alcohol concentration level is above the permissible limit can result in imprisonment (up to six months), fines (unlimited) and a driving ban (at least one year). Currently the alcohol limit per 100 millilitres (in England, Northern Ireland and Wales) is 35 (breath), 80 (blood) and 107 (urine). The limits are even lower in Scotland (22, 50 and 67 parts per 100 millilitres for breath, blood and urine respectively).
When reserving a car at rental agencies, please specify the type of transmission you prefer. Most cars provided by rental agencies have manual transmissions, so let them know in advance if you prefer an automatic transmission.
Make sure that you and your passengers wear seat belts. Failure to do so will lead to a £500 fine, per person - unless you have a Certificate of Exemption from a doctor.
It is not illegal to perform U-turns on UK trunk roads. So stop honking when you see vehicles making U-turns at busy multilane carriageways. The only exception is in areas where with 'No U-turn' traffic signage (an inverted U crossed with a red line).
Speed limits are not driving targets or life goals - you are not required to hit those speeds. In fact, as a tourist, it would make a lot more sense for you to drive at speeds well below the stated limits. As a general rule of thumb, speed limits are 70mph for motorways, 50mph for busy urban centres and 30-40mph for small rural trunk roads. There are an abundance of speed cameras located all over Britain, so chances are, you will be caught if you plan on tempting fate.
Gasoline is referred to as petrol here, and it is sold in litres instead of gallons (3.785 litres per U.S. gallon). It bears reminding that similar to continental Europe, petrol prices are significantly higher here compared to North America. Also, petrol prices are cheaper at gas stations in urban centres compared to those located on motorways. Don't ask.
That's right. As far as possible, try to avoid driving in London, especially during working hours. The roads are congested, and you have to pay a congestion charge of £10.50.
Traffic lights here change colour from red to amber instead of immediately to green. Do not step on the accelerator when the light turns amber - wait for the green light. Good driving can reduce wear and tear on your car parts aswell as reducing your petrol bill.
Turn your fog lights on where there is fog. Don't turn them on when there isn't any - you're liable to be fined if you do.