The majority of people can recall their first driving experience in London. Driving in London is a pain, and even regular drivers may be humiliated.
The streets are convoluted and perplexing.
There are many things to be aware of while driving in London, such as mini-roundabouts and pedestrian crossings.
You also need to pay attention to speed cameras, street signage, bus lanes, and other drivers.
Is Driving In London Easy?
When you arrive in London, many newcomers feel as if they are learning to drive all over again. Even seasoned drivers find the difficulty of navigating around London exhausting, so some people give up driving altogether and switch to public transportation.
Some people, however, dread having to meet public transportation schedules or fumbling with coins for the bus.
They would rather drive so they can come and go as they please.
The great thing about driving your own car in London is that you call all the shots–you can choose where and when you want to go, or stop whenever you want without worrying about a schedule.
Traffic in London
London is a bustling city that’s always on the move. It can be tough to drive during morning rush hour from 7am-10am as people travel all over London for work or head to their job.
Traffic is heavily congested on all roads and vehicles move significantly slower than normal.
The evening rush hour begins at 4:30 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m.. This is when many workers head home from work, but others head to begin their night shifts.
If you thought the morning commute was bad, just wait until evening rush hour in Central London. The streets will be packed with people trying to leave the city center for areas outside of town.
Night Driving In London
Driving in London during the day is not fun.
Too much traffic, roadworks, angry cyclists, and wild motorbikes.
However, driving at night is much more pleasant.
The streets are clear of daytime clutter and the roads are mostly free of heavy traffic.
There are also few buses and pedestrians on crossings.
UK Road Rules and Standards
If you’re planning on driving in London, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the UK driving requirements and standards. This includes understanding common road signs, such as speed limits, give way markings, bus lanes, yellow box junctions, and approaches to roundabouts.
Learn what each line on the road sign means, as well as their meanings. Also, get familiar with lines for parking, passing, giving way or yielding, and other phrases. You must also read “The Highway Code,” which is a UK driving handbook. It will quickly get you up to speed on those road standards.
Driving in London on the Left
For many people, driving on the left side of the road is a non-issue.
In fact, London sees visitors from all over the world who come from countries where they drive on the right side of the road – which is different than in England.
Thus, it may only take a little bit of time to adjust for some individuals. Nonetheless, anyone that has switched will tell you that it definitely doesn’t feel ‘normal’.
It may feel as if you’re learning to drive all over again, but with a bit of time and practice, you’ll be back on the road in no time. Once you become more aware of the subtle differences between driving at home and abroad, it will only be a matter of adjusting your habits accordingly. For instance, get into the habit of looking right instead left when making turns or pulling out onto streets. With a little effort, these adjustments will soon become second nature.
If you’re planning to hire a car during your stay, remember to bring your valid driver’s license or international driving permit. Additionally, it’s always wise to play it safe and avoid any unnecessary trouble by having these documents on hand if you get pulled over by a London police officer.
Renting a Car
Additional things to keep in mind if you plan on hiring a car when you arrive in London, if you’re not confident driving a manual, get an automatic instead. It’s not worth the extra stress to try and drive on roads with unfamiliar rules while also having to worry about shifting gears.
Some drivers who convert from a right-side to a left-side drive have trouble shifting gears with their left hand, according to some experts. As a result of this, they are able to devote all of their attention to the driving as opposed to having to shift gears.