How to drive in United Kingdom?
Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.
GENERAL TIPS AND ROAD INFORMATION
Traffic drives on the left and you turn left when entering a roundabout. The steering wheel is on the right hand side of the vehicle. The road system in the UK is generally in good condition.
Motorways are prohibited to pedestrians, holders of provisional car or motorcycle driving licenses, motorcyclists under 50cc, cyclists and horse back riders. Certain slow-moving vehicles and those carrying over-sized loads, agricultural vehicles and most carriages are also prohibited (unless authorized by special permission).
Roads, lanes or other routes reserved for trams are off limits and be careful where trams run alongside the road. The area reserved for trams is often marked by white lines, yellow dots or by a different type of road surface. Diamond-shaped signs give instructions to tram drivers only.
Parking tickets, purchased from parking meters, are displayed on the windshield. Parking is prohibited wherever a red line or double yellow line is painted at the curb.
FINES AND PENALTIES
United Kingdom Parliament has set maximum penalties for road traffic offences. The seriousness of the offence is reflected in the maximum penalty. The courts decide the sentence according to circumstances.
Some gas stations found along the motorways are open 24 hours.
Speed limits in the UK are measured in MPH (Miles per Hour).
Motorways 70 mph
Urban roads 60 mph
Two-way highways 70 mph
Suburbs 60 mph
Restricted roads 30/40 mph
Speed cameras are in use on all busy traffic routes
There are limited toll highways in the United Kingdom and all cars entering the city center are charged a congestion fee during the week. There are tolls on bridges in the UK, the most notable are the Dartford Tunnel and Queen Elizabeth Bridge which cross the Thames.
The minimum driving age is 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 21 years for large lorries and buses.
You can drive for up to 12 months in the United Kingdom with a valid foreign driver's license. An International Driving License is required if your license has been issued in a language other than English. To rent a car, you must be 21 years old (age may vary by car category) and have held your license for 1 year. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Some agencies have a maximum age limit of 69 years old.
British law states that all cars must be insured. There are four types of car insurance; comprehensive (the fullest coverage), third party fire and theft, high performance cars and third party only (the minimum coverage). Fire and third party liability insurance are mandatory and are included in all rentals. Foreign drivers are advised to purchase a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).
A valid and signed driver's license or an international driver's license for the category of vehicle you are driving, a valid insurance certificate covering you for third party liability and a valid MOT certificate are mandatory.
The driver and the front seat passenger must wear seat belts. Rear seat passengers must wear seat belts where they are fitted.
Drivers must use headlights at night and when visibility is seriously reduced, except on restricted roads.
Drivers must ensure that children under 14 years of age, wear seat belts in cars, vans and other vehicles, or an approved child restraint whenever required. If a child is under 1.35 metres (approx 4 ft 5 ins) tall, a baby seat, child seat, booster seat or booster cushion must be used suitable for the child's weight, and fitted to the manufacturer's specifications.
By law you must wear a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Sources: Frixo / Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency / Driving.co.uk / Driving Standards Agency / DrivingAbroad / Learner Drivers UK / Britain Express / About.com – United Kingdom for Visitors / AutoEurope.com / UK Highway Code / UK Highways Agency