Driving Rules & Regulations in England
Even veteran drivers need some help when they are driving in an unfamiliar country. If you are not used to driving in England, take some time to research the driving laws and practices in force there. The most obvious difference for visitors to England from most of the EU, the United States, and elsewhere is that you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.
The minimum age for driving in England is 17 years. Car rental companies will have their own age regulations, so check the terms & conditions before booking. Ensure you have your licence with you at all times. (A provisional/learner’s driving licence issued abroad is not valid for use in England).
These are the usual speed limits: 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!
A detailed map, a sat-nav or a GPS system is a very useful navigation tool, particularly if you are not familiar with English roads.
UK roads are listed as M (Motorway Roads) or A or B roads. Local Authorities may also classify roads C, D or U (Unclassified). A zone system dictates road numbers. Many major urban routes are connected via motorways. A Roads are known as Primary Roads, which do not belong to the English motorway system.
Always yield to traffic travelling from the right on roundabouts.
Drinking alcohol before driving is not an option. The blood/alcohol level in England is 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. A first offence is punishable with a fine of up to £5,000 and/or 6 months’ imprisonment and removal of your driving licence for one year. Police may also test to detect the presence of narcotics.
Unmarked police cars are a common feature on roads. They monitor use of seatbelts, front and rear, and 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 front seat protected by an airbag if the airbag 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 drive while using a hand-held phone or similar device.
It is illegal to use the car horn when your car is stopped, unless another (moving) vehicle is creating a hazard or you are using it as an anti-theft device.
Just because you don’t live in England does not mean you can get away with a driving offence: Drivers without a proper U.K. address who commit traffic offences must pay a minimum £300 deposit in respect of a potential court fine. The deposit is payable immediately.
Acquire a good knowledge of English rules of the road by studyingthe Highway Code and becoming familiar with UK road signage and markings, speed limits, and parking zones.
Check out theAA Website for motoring advice and some good UK maps.
As soon as you know your travel dates, arrange your English car hire immediately to capitalise on the best rates and choice of vehicles. Know 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.)have been fulfilled, and that the car is undamaged.
For the very best deals in car rental check out our Car Hire England page.
Have you hired a car in England in the past? If you have any tips for driving around England please let us know in the comments box below.