Driving in the UK is a pretty straightforward affair as it’s a relatively tight environment, with plenty of signs to help you make the right decisions.
The main difference for many people, certainly those from continental Europe or the Americas, is driving on the other side of the road. This doesn’t take too long to get used to but the main point of confusion comes at roundabouts.
Navigating roundabouts may take a while to get used to but it’s essential because no other country loves roundabouts as much as the UK does. Just remember to give priority to traffic coming from the right and that traffic already on the roundabout has the right of way.
Unfortunately although the roundabout is a great idea for low and moderate traffic flows, when traffic gets congested they can block up completely. For this reason you’ll find that many roundabouts now have traffic lights at each exit, so you’ll be back in familiar territory.
Compared with many other countries the traffic flows more continually. Traffic lights phases are shorter, ‘stop’ signs are rare and often there are filter lanes allowing you to proceed while other traffic is stopped. If you hear a horn behind you, it’ll usually be because you’ve stopped when you should be moving, but still look around carefully before moving off.
Speed limits are usually well marked but if there are no signs, then the limit is 60mph on an ordinary road and 70mph on a dual-carriageway or motorway. If you’re in a built-up area with street lights then the limit is usually 30mph – if it isn’t there will be small ‘repeater’ signs every so often to remind you.
The UK uses a lot of speed cameras as well as manned radar traps, but the fines are difficult to enforce against most overseas drivers and the police force do not collect money for traffic offences on the spot.
Obviously you must obey all traffic laws though – have fun!
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