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11 Tips To Drive in London Safely - Hotel Hyde Park

11 Tips To Drive in London Safely

Driving in London is always exciting for foreign visitors and quite a challenge for someone who is not used to the norms of Great Britain. Feeling curious? Well you will find more about the excitement as you read on. Here are some quick tips for beginners to drive safe and not miss out on the excitement of London.

  1. Choose a car and make sure it has an insurance: You can select a car of your choice from the Airport (if you are going to be flying to London) or from a town or at a rail station. Picking a car from the airport will include a surcharge. Next, you can use an insurance plan, offered by most of the car rental companies, known as CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) which assures that any accidents that occur will be covered by the insurance.
  2. Get to know your car: Check the car thoroughly. Examine the steering wheel, wipers, windscreen, headlights etc. for any damage. If any previous damage remains unrecorded, the company would assume the damage is done by you. Don’t hesitate to ask about any unknown feature.
  3. Stay on left: In Britain, you should stick to the left side of the road whereas you would be sitting at the right side. In the intersections, stop your car along the dotted line and an inverted triangle across the road. Yield to incoming traffic during making a right turn. Also make sure, you cross the traffic to make a right turn.
  4. Speed limits: These are indicated on a circular white sign by black numbers with red border. But the NSL (National Speed Limit) is indicated with plain white circular sign with black diagonal stripe. The measurements are shown in miles (1mile=1.6Kms). The NSL is 60mph on single carriage way and 70mph on dual carriage way and motorways. Built up areas have 30mph speed limit but it drops to as low as 20mph near schools, or housing estates Normally, the average speed fluctuates from 30mph to 40mph. Violating the speed limit incurs a fine and penalty on the license. Roadside cameras and mobile police radar are in place at all times.
  5. Driving on a motorway: Speed should not cross 70mph-80mph. If traffic ahead of you is moving slow, you can choose to drive in the left lane and if you want to overtake the vehicles in front, it is safe to stay in centre or outer lanes. If you overtook all the vehicles in front of you, return to the left lane. You must not use the “hard shoulder” anyway unless it is an emergency. When reaching to end of a motorway, you will find “slip road”. You should not only stop here, but also give way to traffic to the end of the lane.
  6. Driving in roundabouts: Driving in roundabouts need expertise. In roundabouts, all the lanes are explicitly marked. So you can understand whether at the entrance or the exit, which lane to take. Always use indicators to let cars behind or in front of you know your intention. Going through a roundabout needs patience.
  7. Take care of the pedestrians: Wait at the zebra crossings so that pedestrians can walk easily. Allow them to cross the road when the traffic signal turns red.
  8. Box Junction: Don’t access forcibly into the box junctions marked with cross hatched yellow pattern on the road. You are not allowed to enter the box until the exit is clear.
  9. Parking: A single continuous yellow line means parking restriction exists in a specific time of the day. Double continuous yellow line indicates parking is not allowed at any time. White marked bays are also used to show parking is metered. You should use “pay and display” areas where you can buy a ticket and display the ticket on your car. Don’t forget to check the controlling hours.
  10. Fuel: Use diesel powered cars while renting as they are economic. Britain is a small country, so there is no need to drive a lot.
  11. Lights: Ensure all sidelights and the rear lights are lit after sunset. At night, use headlights. During fog, use rear and front fog lights. Also use indicators for taking a turn.

For any queries regarding driving in London, feel free to contact the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) authority.