Driving Rules & Regulations in Wales
Driving in a new country is exciting, but it can be a little scary too, if you don’t know the rules of the road. For many visitors to Wales, the biggest issue will be driving on the left-hand side of the road. Take note of some of the other principal driving regulations to make renting a car in Wales even sweeter.
If you want to drive in Wales, you must be at least 17 years old, but if you are renting a car in Wales, the likelihood is that the car rental company will have its own specific age regulations, so refer to the terms & conditions before booking. You must have a full, valid licence from your own country and keep it with you at all times.
Speed limits are usually clearly indicated on traffic signs. Here are the usual ones: Up to 30 mph (48kph) in built-up areas, 60 mph (96 kph) on standard roads, motorways and dual-carriageways up to 70 mph (112 kph). Speed cameras are installed on many roads.
Welsh roads can be tricky to navigate so bring a detailed map or hire a rental car with sat-nav or GPS.
Welsh roads are identified as M (Motorway Roads) or A or B roads. Local Authorities may also designate roads as C, D or U (Unclassified). A zone system governs road numbers. A Roads are called Primary Roads – not part of the Welsh motorway system.
Traffic travelling from the right on roundabouts has right of way.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited. The blood/alcohol level permitted in Wales is no more than 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. If this is your first offence, you could face 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 drivers for narcotics.
Seatbelts are obligatory for all drivers and passengers, as are appropriate child restraints and car seats. Children under three years of age are required to use a correctly installed child seat suitable for their weight. Rear-facing baby seats can only be used in a front seat with an airbag if the airbag has been deactivated. Children aged between 3 and 12 who are shorter than 135cms (approx 4ft 5ins) must use a proper child restraint.
Driving while using a hand-held phone or similar device is banned.
Use of the car horn in a stationary car is banned, unless another (moving) vehicle is creating a hazard or you are using the horn to prevent theft.
Living outside Wales will not safeguard you against prosecution. Offending drivers without an adequate U.K. address must pay a minimum £300 deposit in respect of a potential court fine. You must pay this on the spot.
Once you know what dates you are travelling, arrange your Welsh car hire as soon as you can and take advantage of the best rates and choice of vehicles. Be aware of what is included in your car rental and what your insurance covers. When you are picking up your rental vehicle, check that any additional requests (GPS systems, roof racks, child seats, etc.)have been honoured, and that the car is undamaged.
For the very best deals in car rental check out our Car Hire Wales page.
Have you hired a car in Wales before? If you have any tips for driving around Wales, we’d love to hear them in our comments section.