Every year, millions of tourists from all over the world head to the United Kingdom for their annual holiday, and a significant proportion return time after time in a bid to discover more about this unique destination. Whether they are keen to explore the bright lights of London and Edinburgh or to discover more about the history of Stonehenge and the Giant’s Causeway, hiring a car will enable them to get around with ease and convenience.
Driving in Great Britain isn’t a difficult and stressful experience, but for foreign visitors it’s a good idea to do a little research beforehand. There are certain customs and practices in the UK that may not be familiar to tourists, so here are a few tips to ensure you get the most from your trip.
It’s not right… it’s left!
This may seem an all too obvious statement, but it’s worth noting that in the UK motorists drive on the left-hand side, unlike those in the USA and continental Europe. It can take a little time to get used to cars that have the steering wheel on the right, so if you’re hiring a vehicle for the first time in Britain it’s a good idea to practice a little on quiet back roads before you venture out into heavier traffic.
Don’t be a lane-hugger
On motorways and dual carriageways, it’s important to remember that drivers tend to change lanes regularly, as opposed to remaining in the same one for extended periods of time. In general, the left-hand lane is for regular journeying, while the other one or two lanes are for overtaking. Drivers are usually expected to revert back to the inside lane once they have gone past slower-moving vehicles.
Avoid illegal parking
In some countries, motorists are often able to park for periods of time without having to worry about receiving a ticket, but this practice is definitely not advisable for UK visitors. Even in the quieter towns and villages, there’s every chance that traffic wardens will appear at any given moment. Rules and regulations are clearly posted in car parks, so make sure you read them. A hefty fine, and possibly even a wheel-clamp, awaits those who break the rules.
Beware of toll roads
Compared to other countries, the United Kingdom doesn’t have a great many toll roads, but there are some, and motorists need to ensure they have enough money with them at all times. Some of the more prominent tolls are found on the M25 at Dartford in Kent, the Severn Bridge on the England-Wales border and the Humber Suspension Bridge in East Yorkshire.
This is a guest post by David Showell, a UK resident who has driven all over the country. He works for 121 carhire.com.