Driving Rules & Regulations in the U.K.

No matter how experienced a driver you are, if you’re planning to drive abroad, you should take time to familiarise yourself with the driving laws and practices in force in that country. Probably the most notable difference for visitors to the UK from most of the EU, the United States, and elsewhere is that you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.

driving uk

· You must be at least 17 years and hold a full, valid driving licence from your own country to drive in the UK. Ensure you have your licence with you at all times. (A provisional (learner’s) driving licence issued abroad is not valid for use in the United Kingdom).

· Speed limits are generally as follows: Up to 30 mph (48kph) in built up areas,  60 mph (96 kph) elsewhere, motorways and dual-carriageways up to 70 mph (112 kph). Speed cameras are common!

· If you have never been to the UK or driven there before, a detailed map or good sat-nav or GPS system is a very useful navigation tool.

· UK roads are classified as M (Motorway Roads) or A or B roads. Local Authorities may also name roads C, D or U (Unclassified). The roads are numbered according to a zoned system. A large number of the major urban routes are connected via motorways.  A Roads are known as Primary Roads, which are not part of the UK motorway system.
· Always give way to traffic coming from the right on roundabouts.

· Don’t drink and drive – the blood/alcohol level in the UK is 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The penalty for a first offence is a fine of up to £5,000 and/or 6 months’ imprisonment and 12 months withdrawal of driving licence. Police may also conduct tests to detect whether drivers are under the influence of narcotics.

· Unmarked police cars are common on roads. They check for use of seatbelts, front and rear, and for the appropriate use of child restraints and car seats. Children under three years must use a properly installed child seat appropriate for their weight. Rear-facing baby seats can only be used in a seat protected by a frontal air-bag if the air-bag has been deactivated. Children 3 years to 12 years and under 135cms (approx 4ft 5ins) must use the appropriate child restraint.

· It is illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving.

· It is illegal to use the car horn when your car is stationary, unless there is a hazard caused by another (moving) vehicle or as an anti-theft device.

· Don’t think you can get away with an offence just because you’re not a UK resident, either: Drivers without a satisfactory UK address who commit traffic offences must pay a minimum £300 deposit in respect of a potential court fine. The deposit must be paid on the spot.

· Acquire a good knowledge of the UK Rules of the Road by studying the Highway Code and becoming familiar with UK road signage and markings, speed limits, and parking zones.

· Check out the AA Website for motoring advice and some good UK maps.

· If you have not hired a car yet for your UK travel, do so as soon as possible to avail of the best rates and choice of vehicles. Make sure you are aware of what is included in your car rental and what your insurance covers. When you are collecting your rental vehicle, check that any additional requests (GPS systems, roof racks, child seats, etc.) are  included, and that the car is undamaged.

Going to the UK in the near future? Thinking of taking a dream holiday to the UK and need a car to get around? For the very best deals in Car Rental check out our Car Hire UK page.

Have you hired a car for your UK holiday in the past? If you have any tips for driving around the UK please let us know in the comments box below. As always we appreciate your comments!