Driving In London
Driving in an unfamiliar city can be a scary experience! It can be difficult to navigate around London whilst taking note of the local vehicle laws, speed limits and driving customs before you even consider that you might be on a side of the road you don't normally drive on.
The goal of RentalCarLondon.co.uk is to make sure you have a pleasant car hire experience in London and that you remember your visit for the right reasons. To help those who haven't driven in London before we've put together a list of important things to consider when you're driving in London and throughout the various boroughs.
Things To Remember When Driving In London
When driving in London remember the following:
London is without a doubt the busiest city in England, at least in terms of traffic. The speed limit on most of the streets is set at 30mph (48 km/h) but during the rush hour you'll find that not many cars will manage to hit 20mph (32 km/h) as the roads become very busy. In fact, due to recent studies which show that a person hit by a car at 20mph has up to a 70% higher chance of survival than a person hit by a car at 30mph, many residential areas have speed limits set at 20mph by the local authorities. It's very important to pay attention to road signs which will indicate the speed limit in that particular area. Outside London, usually on rural roads, you can speed up to 60mph (96 km/h).
If you've just had a beer and are planning to drive, it may not be the smartest thing you ever did. It is well known that a small amount of alcohol is enough to reduce your concentration and reaction times, vastly increasing the chances of a car accident. In London the alcohol limit is set to 0.08%. In our language this translates as roughly one beer or a glass of wine. Going over the 0.08% limit is not something you want to do. If the police stop you and discover that you have over 0.08% you can be left without your licence, face a fine of up to £4000 or in the worst case a prison sentence if you cause an accident. The answer is simple, don't drink and drive.
Road Rules & Lanes
As you may have seen on television, in the UK we drive in the left lane unless overtaking. Most junctions you will encounter are marked with priority signs but if you encounter an unmarked one you must give way to vehicles coming from your right. The same rule applies for roundabouts. A lot of drivers from other countries have said that the roads seem to be narrower than the ones in Mainland Europe or the USA. It is always helpful to carry your vehicle documents with you because the police are known to perform random stops just to check licences and vehicle registration documents.
Bad Weather Tips
London, like a lot of the UK, is known for the large amount of rain which falls here every year. During a heavy rainstorm or foggy weather we recommend drivers to slow down, especially on motorways. Use your fog lights when the visibility is reduced, both front and rear. If driving in London during winter be sure to check your screen wash level before starting the engine as dirt accumulates quickly on the windscreen. It might also be a good idea to top up with more fuel than you intend to use, just in case.
Because London is such a busy city the police and traffic wardens have no mercy for drivers who park their cars in inappropriate places. A warning is the last thing you should expect if you park your car in the wrong place, a fine or removal of the vehicle is more likely. Always remember to fasten your seatbelt as soon as you get behind the wheel or you could face a fine if you don't wear it. The use of your horn when the car is stationary is not allowed, unless you find yourself in great danger.