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Tips for driving in the UK

UK Road Sign - Roundabout

Drive on the Left

Always remember to drive on the left-hand side of the road. It may take some time to reprogram your mind, especially when approaching junctions and on roundabouts, therefore always take extra care.
If you are from the USA or Canada be aware most cars in the UK are manual transmission (stick shift) unless you specifically request an automatic when booking.


In the UK there are many roundabouts, they actually make junctions a lot easier and keep traffic moving. Key things to remember at roundabouts:

  • Give way to traffic from the right
  • Always drive clockwise
  • Get in correct lane & stay there
  • Indicate left as you exit a roundabout

Box Junctions

You will come across some junctions with yellow cross pattern on the road. It is illegal to enter the box area unless your exit is clear. Otherwise you could block the junction causing a traffic jam; the aim is to reduce gridlock.

Traffic Lights

There is no UK equivalent of “Right on Red”. Always stop on a red light. At some traffic lights there may be a green filter arrow. This is for the filter lane only and you must go in direction of arrow. Traffic lights run in the sequence: RED – RED & AMBER – GREEN – AMBER – RED.

Motorway Driving ( Freeway)

In the UK motorists can only pass on the right side, passing traffic on the left is hazardous and could be deemed as dangerous driving. Slow moving vehicles should always remain in the left hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking. At no time should you drive on the hard shoulder as this is intended for emergency services and breakdowns only.

Drink Driving

It is an offence to drink alcohol & drive in the UK. If caught and convicted the penalties are severe.

Mobile Phones (Cell Phones)

It is an offence to use a mobile phone while driving, unless via a hands free kit. Fines can be issued on the spot and can be as much as £1000.

Seat Belts

In the UK it is compulsory to use seat belts in both front & rear. Young children should be restrained in an appropriate child seat; these can be ordered when making your reservation.

Speed Limits

Most speed limits are indicated by black numbers on a circular white sign with a red border. Unless otherwise stated standard speed limits are as follows:


Motorway Dual Carriageway Single Carriageway Built up Area
MPH 70 70 60 30
KPH 112 112 96 48


Motorway Dual Carriageway Single Carriageway Built up Area
MPH 70 60 50 30
KPH 112 96 80 48


Some fuel stations are open 24 hours a day and all offer unleaded & leaded petrol as well as diesel. Do remember to fill up with the correct fuel as you may incur a charge if you accidentally fill your car with the wrong fuel and require recovery.