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The magnificent countryside.

As with driving in any country, getting around the United Kingdom by car opens up a new way to experience it, giving you the freedom to get around at your own pace to see the places of your choice.

The motorways link all of the major cities and smaller road networks link the smaller towns and villages. Care should be taken on the smaller roads in the countryside. Farm animals and slow-moving vehicles can be a hazard and the limited space on these roads can make it difficult to pass oncoming traffic.

Read our United Kingdom travel guide. You may also like to view information about destinations in the United Kingdom.

Tips for driving in Great Britain

Which side of the road do they drive on?

Drive on the left, overtake on the right. When approaching a roundabout, give priority to traffic approaching from the right, unless otherwise indicated.

Seat belts

If fitted, seat belts must be worn at all times by all occupants of the vehicle.

Driving with children

It is illegal to carry a child under 3 in a rear-facing child seat in the front unless the airbags are deactivated.

Children under 12 or shorter than 135cm must use a child restraint system.

Seats can be chosen depending on height or weight:

Height- must be rear-facing until the child is over 15 months old. The child can use a forward-facing car seat when they’re over 15 months old.

Weight- Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until the child weighs more than 9kg.

Learn more about the UK requirements here.

Blood alcohol limit

The blood alcohol limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood. Drivers registering above this level will automatically have their licence withdrawn for at least 12 months.

Can I use a mobile?

It’s illegal to use a mobile unless you have a hands-free kit.

Reflective vests, triangles & other essentials

While it is not compulsory, it is recommended that you carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and a reflective vest.

Do I need winter tyres?

There is no legal requirement requiring you to use winter tyres or snow chains. They are, however, advisable in some parts of Yorkshire and Scotland.


Parking is controlled by single and double yellow lines. Cars parked illegally may be towed away, so always check the parking restrictions before parking and leaving your vehicle.

Most car parks operate a pay and display system.

On the spot fines

Non UK residents who commit traffic offences will have to pay a financial penalty deposit equal to the amount of the fixed penalty or £300 as a deposit in respect of a potential court fine. The deposit has to be paid on the spot.

UK residents will be issued with a fixed penalty notice which must be paid within 28 working days.

Horns and headlights

You must use sidelights between sunset and sunrise and headlights at night on all roads without street lighting and on roads where the street lights are more than 185m apart or are not lit.

You must use headlights or front and rear fog lights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally to less than 100m.

Use dipped headlights at night in built-up areas unless the road is well lit. Use headlights at night on lit motorways and roads with a speed limit in excess of 30 mph.

It is prohibited to use the horn when your vehicle is stationary, except in an emergency. The use of the horn is prohibited in built-up areas from 23:30 to 07:00.

London congestion zone

If you drive through London, you'll probably be affected by the Congestion Zone Charge.

This is a daily charge to drive in central London between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday excluding Public Holidays. There is no charge outside these times, at weekends or on Public Holidays.

It's designed to reduce traffic and raise money to improve transport in London.

The zone is monitored by cameras which record vehicle number plates and determine whether the charge has been paid. They recognise both British and European number plates.

Pay the charge here.

What should I do if I breakdown?

If you breakdown, call the supplier who will be able to advise you further.

It is recommended you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.

What should I do if I have an accident?

If you’re in an accident, you MUST notify the Police and the car rental provider and get an accident report for insurance purposes. Failure to do so may result in you footing the whole bill. It is recommended that you contact us at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.

Toll road

Toll roads in the UK include the M6 motorway, plus some major bridges and tunnels such as the Dartford crossing.

Driving distances

London to Plymouth – 237m (4hrs 10mins)

London to Cardiff – 151m (2hrs 55mins)

London to Liverpool – 220m (4hrs)

London to York – 202m (4hrs 5mins)

London to Edinburgh – 414m (7hrs 10mins)

Edinburgh to Aberdeen – 128m (2hrs 35mins)

Edinburgh to Kendal – 144m (2hrs 55mins)