How to Adjust to Driving in the UK?
When you arrive in the UK you will no doubt be nervous about driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road in a country with notoriously narrow roads. Don’t worry, we have a list of helpful hints which will make the transition much easier.
Driving on the left:
Most tourists visiting the UK will have to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. This means using the left-hand lane, and sitting on the right-hand side of the car, which can be very disconcerting to begin with. One thing to watch out for is that most drivers lose focus after the first couple of days. Just make sure you stay in the left lane on dual-carriageways, unless overtaking. Also, pay more attention when rejoining the road after stopping, this is when you are most likely to forget.
The UK still uses the imperial system, which means all speed is measured in miles per hour. Speed limits change depending on what type of vehicle you are driving and whether or not you are towing something. However, the normal speeds are:
- Built-up areas: 30 mph
- Single carriageways: 60 mph
- Dual carriageways and Motorways: 70 mph
- Near schools/places with a lot of pedestrians: 20 mph
- Roads with sharp bends: 50 mph
There are three main categories of road in the UK:
- ‘M’ roads: These are motorways, high speed roads. An example is the M1.
- ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads: These are primary roads, smaller and slower, and can be dual or single carriageways. ‘B’ roads are usually regional. An example of this type is the A6.
- ‘C’ and ‘D’ roads: Non-primary roads, sometimes single track, usually in rural areas.
One of the main difficulties driving in the UK is finding a parking spot in town or city centres. This can be especially impossible in London, where it is probably a better idea to catch public transport.
The basic rules are:
- A single, continuous yellow line along the kerb means that parking is restricted at certain times of the day, usually you can park there for a short amount of time.
- Double yellow lines indicate no parking at any time.
- White marked bays indicate paid on-street parking. So always check the controlled hours, which are written on the payment machines.
Communicating with other drivers:
When driving in the UK, you will often find yourself without much space on the road. So you will probably need to move into the opposite lane to avoid parked cars or roadworks. British drivers use hand signals or flash their lights to allow others through the gaps. They also flash their lights as a rebuke, so if it’s to say thanks, perhaps stick to waving. Drivers also use their horn to warn others of their presence. This is for instance when crossing a small bridge where you can’t see oncoming traffic.
So now that you are fully prepared to have a safe holiday exploring the roads of the UK, it’s time to hire your car! Heathrow Car & Van Rental offer reliable and reasonably priced vehicle hire to clients around the Heathrow area. Contact us today.