How to Drive in the UK

This wiki guide should help any visitors to the UK out with any driving issues.


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    Remember to drive on the left side of the road. If you drive on the right you will likely be killed and will be arrested for dangerous driving which is a criminal offense and may end up with a custodial sentence.
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    Learn the language. bonnet, boot, windscreen, tyre, bumper, gear stick, mobile, car hire, roundabout, motorway, A-road, B-road, RTA...make sure you know what these mean before driving on the roads.
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    Remember that the majority of British cars are shift operated. If you cannot use a shift gear you will have to hire an automatic shift car because you will not be qualified to drive or insured to drive a shift gear operated car. if you have an accident whilst using a shift gear that you cannot operate you may be arrested for dangerous driving which can result in a heavy fine and maybe a custodial sentence.
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    Always give way to the right, not the left.
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    Make any necessary modifications to your headlights to adjust the beam to avoid blinding oncoming drivers if your car is from a country that normally drives on the right side of the road. Often, there are adhesive or static shields that can be applied to the headlamps. Some cars even have a simple mechanism under the bonnet for adjusting the beam pattern.
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    Never drink alcohol or use drugs and drive. The UK has very strict drink and drugs regulations and many police forces stop cars to carry out random drink and drug testing. The view of the police and the courts is that alcohol immediately makes you guilty in an accident, even if it was not your fault. Refusing to provide a breath or urine sample when asked will result in an arrest.
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    If stopped by the police, wait for instructions before doing anything. Always do as you're told without a bad attitude and never assume that if you are polite you will get off any offense you have committed. Always provide ID when asked. You should always carry a valid drivers licence and evidence of vehicle insurance when you drive. It is a criminal offense to refuse or give false details which will result in arrest. Unlike in the USA and maybe other countries the UK police do not need permission or a reason to stop and search you, your belongings (handbag, rucksack or pockets) or your vehicle if stopped while driving. Do not attempt to stop them as you will be detained or arrested.
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    Know that overtaking on motorway or dual carriageway on the inside (known as undertaking) is not illegal, however it may be a valid reason for you being stopped by either a unmarked police car or a police car with decals. In the UK the left hand lane is considered the "slow lane" and some drivers may pull over without checking properly which will cause an accident. Be aware that using the hard shoulder of a motorway to undertake vehicles will also result in a possible arrest.
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    Be aware that the UK has speed cameras with automatic number plate recognition. These are fixed cameras, mobile speed traps and are also fixed to most police vehicles. These automatic systems in police cars can also confirm whether or not the vehicle is insured to be on the road.
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    Check with the police about any legal requirements for driving your car/truck in the UK as this can vary for different types of vehicles. Always make sure you have the correct motor insurance policy, failure to do so will result in your vehicle being seized and you being arrested. Make sure the vehicle is road legal to UK standards, failure to do so will void any insurance policy and result in the vehicle being seized. If driving a friend's vehicle always get their permission and check your own insurance policy to make sure you are permitted to drive other vehicles.
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    Don't speed. The speed limits on the motorways are 60mph (96km/h) for goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, 60mph (96km/h) for buses and coaches and 70mph (112km/h) for cars. [1]
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    Be aware that fuel prices in the UK are almost three times higher than in the US, and renting a car may also cost more. Image
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    Be aware that in some cities there are bus lanes (Indicated by road signs, the words BUS LANE in large letters on the road, and occasionally the tarmac will be colored red). Only public buses, taxis, motorcycles, bicycles and emergency services vehicles are licensed to use this lane. Anyone else will be photographed (automatic cameras) and fined for using this lane £60 (roughly $100 USD).


  • Be polite, forcing your way into a stream of traffic on a road you're turning onto is considered bad manners.
  • The Highway Code is the British Equivalent of the DMV's Drivers Handbook and it is recommended that you purchase and read this before driving on UK roads.
  • The Police in the UK cannot just stop and search you without a reason! The Police must ge very specific in the reason why they stopped you.

The driver is legally obliged to identify himself and only if stopped legally.


  • Never drive if you are tired.

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Categories: Country Specific