Driving in the UK

In UK, you drive on the left side of the road and this is a little unusual for most of expats. When you are coming from some other country, driving here needs some readjustment to ensure you are safe on the road. The United Kingdom is one out of 76 countries where you drive on the left hand side of the road.

Driving in the UK

Here is a guide on driving in the UK, telling you what to expect.

Road Infrastructure in the UK

Driving in the UK can be great fun if you have mastered being on the left-hand side of the road and having the steering wheel on the right.

In Great Britain, there are ‘A-roads’, ‘B-roads’, and motorways, often simply called ‘M-roads’. Let us look at all of them separately:

A-roads: These are federal roads and the ones between cities.

B-roads: These are local routes and have less traffic.

M-roads: These are the large freeways and are meant for fast driving in the UK.

The roads in Northern Ireland follow a different scheme. There are ‘C-roads’ that are minor roads.

There are hardly any toll roads for driving.


Greater London

Driving in the UK’s large cities such as London can be quite difficult. The public transportation system is very comprehensive so it is advisable to use that. Almost all the neighbourhoods are well connected to the public transport system. These neighbourhoods of London come with numerous serviced apartments options for travellers.

London is known for having lots of smog and pollution and to reduce that, the city takes several measures by levying Congestion Charge in Central London to minimize traffic. Along with this a “Low Emission Zone” was implemented for driving in the UK’s Greater London area in 2008. This requires people to pay in case their vehicle does not meet the standards.

The UK Highway Code

The minimum driving age is 17 years. When you are driving in the UK, you have to follow British road rules whether you are a local license holder or a foreign license holder. Some of the rules are as follows:

  • Seatbelts has to be worn by everyone in the car.
  • Kids who are under the age of 12 cannot sit in the front seats.
  • 8 percent is the legal blood alcohol for the one who is driving
  • If you park illegally, your car can get towed
  • Usage of hand-held phone is illegal. It results in huge fines and penalty points to your license. You should even avoid using hands-free or headset mobiles for a safe drive.
  • Speeding is illegal. If caught, there are fines and penalty points. There are speed cameras and automatic license plate recognition and it is very important to be cautious. The speed limits are 29.8 km/hour for cars in towns and cities, 59.6 km/h on single-lane carriageways and 69.5 km/h on dual-lane carriageways as well as motorways.

When you violate a rule, you get penalty points and if you have more than 12 penalty points in 3 years, your license gets revoked for not less than 6 months.

Note: You may face a fine, a court appearance, a longer disqualification or jail depending on the offence and penalty points.

If you are disqualified for more than 56 days, you have to apply for a new license and take another driving test.

If you get 6 penalty points within the first 2 years of driving, your license will be suspended. This is for new drivers.

The rules and regulations of Northern Ireland are different and hence you should check it separately.