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Driving Guide for United Kingdom

The driving rules in the UK are very different from the other countries in Europe. Most notable is the flow of traffic on the left side of the road. If you are not prepared for this change, you can get into some very dangerous situations. It is important to prepare mentally before you embark on your driving journey in the UK. This guide will help you avoid problems and provide you with some important knowledge.

Driver’s License

Type of License

Requirements

EU license

All EU licenses are valid for use in the UK

Non EU license

All licenses are valid provided they are in the English language

Licenses in different languages need to be supplemented with an IDP

All drivers

Must be 17 years old to drive a car

Must have a valid driving license

If your license is not in the English language, you need to get an international driving permit (IDP). This will be used as a supplement to your current license. You need to carry the IDP as well as your own license. It is also acceptable to have an official translation of your current license into the English language.

 Speed Limits

Type of Road

Speed Limit (mph)

Speed Limit (km/h)

City roads and built up areas

30

48

Urban roads (single lane)

60

96

Highways

70

112

The speed limit signs look exactly like other European countries. They are circular signs with a red border and a black number. The only difference is that the signs are expressed in miles per hour (mph). If you look at the sign and drive in kilometer per hour (km/h), you will be traveling much slower than the other cars.
You are not required to pay fines on the spot. If you fail to pay the ticket before you leave the country, a notice will be sent to your home country and you will cause yourself problems. It is best to pay the fine as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Rules of the Road

Category

Description

Flow of Traffic

Always drive on the LEFT side of the road

Only pass cars on the right hand side

Give way to traffic on your right in a roundabout

The driver

Is not permitted to use a mobile phone

Must use headlights during poor visibility times

Is responsible for the safety of passengers under 14 years old

Must have a blood alcohol content of .08% or less

Passengers

Must wear safety belts

Young children must be in the proper safety seat

Other rules

Speed must be reduced during poor weather conditions

It is illegal to use your horn in an aggressive manor

It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure all of the passengers under the age of 14 are properly restrained. Anyone over this age that is not wearing a safety belt will be given a personal fine. If you are stopped by police for a traffic violation, be as cooperative as possible. If you are given a ticket, you should pay it as soon as possible. However, police are not legally able to levy on the spot fines.

Parking in the UK

Day

Hours

Price

Monday – Saturday (street)

7:00 – 20:00

1.00 – 2.00 GBP/hour

Sunday

All day

FREE

Monday – Sunday (garages)

All day

1.00 – 3.00 GBP/hour

8.00 – 30.00 GBP/day

(1.00 GBP = 1.15 EUR, 1.60 USD)
Please be aware that the parking scenarios, times and prices will vary greatly from city to city. You can be sure to pay a much higher price in London than any other place in the UK. The table above shows the approximate times and tariffs for parking in the UK. Garages are the safest place to leave your car and one of the best options for long-term parking. If you park on the street, there is more than likely going to be maximum time limits. It is easiest to find a parking place in a designated garage or parking lot. If you park in one of these areas, you can be confident not to receive a violation ticket.
*Information on this page is accurate as of May 25, 2011