According to the Office for National Statistics, tourist numbers visiting London have reached a record breaking 19 million and are set to increase next year. If you’re one of these visitors and you’re bringing a car over or hiring one on your trip then you’ll need to know more than simply Brits drive on the left hand side of the road. While driving in London can appear to be a daunting experience to begin with, once you’re used to the rules and driving styles, then you’ll wonder why you’ve never enjoyed the freedom of getting from A to Z through the city’s roads. Whether you’re planning the perfect group business trip or visiting London with the family, having a car will make your life easier in many ways.
What vehicle to drive?
Getting used to British roads and drivers may take some time to get accustomed to but within a couple of days, you should get the hang of it. If you’re planning on buying a car, or hiring one, there are plenty of options to choose from depending on your needs. Choose anything from bigger vehicles on the road such as a SUV, wagon or van to more varied alternatives like a convertible, coupe or a luxury car. If you wish to drive an electric or hybrid car then the good news is that the number of electric points has doubled in 2018 which offers a greener choice for those driving in London.
How to drive safely
Driving in London often has a bad reputation but the truth is that it’s not much different than driving in most other European cities. If possible, avoid driving during peak times, at least until you’re more used to driving on the roads and all it entails. Having your wits about you and observing other drivers will certainly help to adjust to those rules you may not be aware of. Using a journey planner or operating a Satnav device the correct way will help you navigate your way through the correct lanes and traffic, therefore ensuring you arrive at your destination safely.
Knowing the practicalities
If you’re travelling through central London on a weekday, be aware that you will have to pay the congestion charge for the privilege. Planning a route around the boundaries of this charge can be done but if you absolutely have to drive into a particular central zone, there’s no avoiding paying the charge. You are likely to also find the parking charges in London to be expensive but you can find cheaper car park alternatives rather than roadside parking. Make sure you’re familiar with the road rules in London such as avoiding bus lanes and the correct way to drive in red routes and box junctions.
Providing you read up on the rules, are confident in your driving abilities and plan your journey ahead, there shouldn’t be any reason you won’t have a safe and enjoyable trip while driving in London.