Taking a vacation to the United Kingdom can be an exciting experience. Hiring a rental car will likely be necessary in order to enjoy the freedom of traveling around the countryside to see all the sites. Of course, there are some differences to driving in the UK, and those hiring a holiday car should be aware of them.
What to remember when hiring a rental car in the UK
Many visitors enjoy using the country’s extensive road network to see the popular destinations and to experience all the United Kingdom has to offer. To keep the fun from being ruined, keep these tips in mind.
*Permit – Some car hire agencies may require customers to have an International Driver’s Permit in order to hire a car. Check with the car hire agency prior to arrival to see what their requirements include.
*On the road – Traffic on UK roads travels on the left side of the road. Passing can only be done on the right side, even on a three-lane roadway. This can be especially difficult to get used to for those who are used to driving on the right side.
*Signs – Stop signs do appear in the UK, though they are rare. More than likely motorists will see “Give Way” signs, which are similar to yield signs. This means motorists need to slow down, look around and give way to traffic that is already on the road.
*Speed limits – It is highly advisable to follow the speed limits in a given area. Traffic cameras are widely used to catch speeding motorists, rather than having officers sitting in speed traps. The cameras will measure a driver’s speed and if they exceed the limit, the police can track them down through their rental agency. Speed limit signs will be clearly displayed, but generally the limit is 30mph in built up areas unless signs indicate otherwise. The national speed limit sign means you should not exceed 60mph, or 70mph on a dual carriageway or motorway. Usually, signs will be posted advising when cameras are present.
*Roundabouts – Traffic is maintained throughout Britain by the use of roundabouts. Motorists new to the country are advised to slow down when approaching one and give way to traffic already using it. Traffic coming from the right is always given priority.
*Don’t rent in London – Those flying into London would probably do well to use the Tube (subway) to see the sites in that city then take a train to a neighboring town to hire a car there. London rentals can be more expensive than those in the smaller surrounding cities, and the traffic congestion in the capital can make driving difficult.
*Parking – Most car parks (parking lots) require motorists to purchase a ticket on arrival based on how long they plan to park and display the ticket on the vehicle’s dashboard. On the street, double yellow lines mean no parking ever, single yellow lines mean parking is generally not allowed and dashed yellow lines indicate parking is allowed though restrictions may apply. No lines may mean parking is free, but be sure to check for signs as sometimes there are restrictions on free parking, such as a time limit.
Hiring a car while on vacation in the United Kingdom can be a good way to get around and view all of the country’s beauty. There are some issues motorists should be aware of, but they won’t inhibit any of the fun.