A Guide to Driving in London

Although some might say that the best advice for driving in London is to avoid it completely, with a little common sense and insider knowledge, you can navigate the streets of London by rental car without too much hassle.

As with any metropolis, London can be daunting for the first-time visitor. Public transport may not suit your specific needs or destination, however, so fasten your seat belt and drive with confidence. Watch how others deal with the traffic and be assertive. You won’t get anywhere if you wait for others to let you into traffic. That said, there is no need for road rage!

The basics

Drive on the left hand side of the road, and always wear your seatbelt. Never use a mobile phone while driving. And, unless you want to be arrested for drunk driving, ensure your alcohol limit is under 80mg per 100ml of blood.

The congestion charge

Authorities have introduced a congestion charge in an effort to reduce the number of cars in central London, so you’ll have to pay a £10 daily fee if you drive between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday in the congestion charge zone (an area of central London south and east of Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, respectively). If you don’t pay, you risk a fine of up to £195. The congestion zones are clearly marked, and you can pay online, by phone, in certain shops or by SMS on your day of travel.

The government’s Highways Agency is a useful source of real-time traffic information, so you can avoid traffic blackspots. See the Highways Agency traffic news website. Ultimately, driving in London is a lot like learning to ride a bicycle – tricky at the start, but once you get going, you have the skill for life.

Car hire in London doesn’t restrict you to the city, either. With a quality rental car from Nova Car Hire you can travel around England at your own pace.