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Driving in the UK
UK Road Safety
Every country has its own rules and signs when it comes to driving. It is therefore important if you are planning to drive in the UK than you know a little road safety. Below, we've put together the most important points to help keep you safe:
- Drivers in the UK use the left hand side of the road. If you have never driven on the left hand side, it can be a bit tricky the first few times, so make sure you are confident about which way to drive before you get into the car!
- Bear in mind that if you did not pass your driving test using a manual car, you will not be allowed to drive a manual car, only an automatic.
- It is illegal to drive without wearing a seatbelt. You can only legally have as many people in a car as there are seatbelts.
- It is illegal to drive while drunk. The maximum legal blood alcohol content in the UK is 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.08%).This can translate into two pints of average strength beer for a man of average weight, although you should not use this as a general rule. It is better to stick to sobriety if you are driving. Some pubs even offer free non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers. So, drive sober to save more money and more importantly, save more lives!
- Speed cameras are in operation throughout the UK. Whenever you see white hashes in front of you on the road, assume there is a speed camera nearby. Make sure you always drive at or below the speed limit. Remember that a speed camera will not let you off, even if you are just one mile over the limit.
- Parking in London can be a nightmare! Parking is managed through the local council and private companies. Parking attendants are very efficient at their job and you will probably be fined if you park your vehicle illegally. Before you park, make sure you are allowed to park there. Check for the following:
- Is it residents parking only?
- During what hours are you allowed to park?
- Do you need to pay to park?
- Are you blocking a drive-way, street or entrance?
- Are all of your wheels within the permitted parking space?
- Here is a quick guide to street parking:
- Double yellow line: No parking
- Single yellow line: No parking during specified times
- Single red line: No parking or stopping during work hours
- Double red line: No stopping or parking at any time
Pay As You Go Car Hire
Visiting a friend somewhere else in Britain and want a car to get around? Or travelling somewhere with a lot of luggage? If you are, then hiring a car may be perfect for you, whether you want it for an hour, a day or a week.
Having a car in London is in no way essential. The London public transportation service is reliable and efficient. Having a car can add more problems to your student life once you start having to deal with London traffic, MOT (Ministry of Transport Test) regulations, petrol prices and congestion charges. However, having a car can be handy when trying to get back to your student halls after a late night out or when touring the countryside.
The UK offers many car hire options, including all of the international companies that you would probably find in your home country such as Budget, Hertz and Avis. However, in accordance with international regulations, it is not easy to hire a car if you're under the age of 25. Furthermore, you even if you just need the car for a night out, to pick up some furniture or to avoid delays on the underground, you still need to hire the car for a full day, which leaves you to pay more than you have to.
With pay as you go cars, you do not need to pay for petrol, MOT or insurance. Additionally, you only pay for the hours you use the car. So, if you only need the car for an hour, you only pay for an hour.
A Car Club, not a car hire company. Once you become a member you will have access to many cars located all over London.
You register your details with the car club and you will be given an access code. Then, you just walk right up to the car, enter your access code and drive away. You will be charged an hourly rate for the use of the car.
When you have finished, drop the car back off at any of the many drop off points and that is it! You do not even have to return the car to the location where you first picked it up!
This is a great way to save money on travel and to treat yourself to the comfort of having a car without burning a hole in your wallet!