UK Driving & Car Rental

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The UK driving and car rental guide gives travellers more information and useful tips on driving in the UK and outlines the process of hiring a car & other vehicles. The guide outlines important rules of the road, speed limits and other practical advice for those that wish to drive during their visit to the UK. Seeing the UK by road is popular among visitors, with a road network taking you to all corners of the UK, it represents a great way to see and enjoy the sights and sounds of the UK.

Driving in the UK & Car Rental

UK Driving Information
UK Driving Travellers Tips
UK Car Rental
UK Motorcycle Rental
UK Motorhome & Other Vehicle Rental

UK Driving Information

Below are important rules of the road, visitors to the UK need to be aware of and familiarise themselves with, some important ones are outlined below:

Vehicles are driven on the left hand side of the road.

When overtaking use the right hand lane only.

Always stop at red traffic lights.

Stick to the speed limits do not drive over the prescribe limits.

At junctions there are no set priority rules, priority at each junction is marked.

At roundabouts priority is given to traffic coming from the right (unless otherwise stated.

Obey all traffic signals and road signs.

Do not drive in bus lanes during the restricted time periods.

All vehicles need to give way to vehicles of the emergency services i.e. police, fire brigade & ambulances.

Car horns should not be used in built up areas from 23.30 to 07.00.

Do not use your mobile phone whilst driving, it is illegal and you are liable to prosecution. If your mobile rings and you are driving or you have an urgent need to make a call, pull over when safe to do so and stop before using your mobile.

Drive carefully and show consideration for other road users & pedestrians.

For more information and a comprehensive overview of the rules of the road please see: Highway Code

Please Note: The rules of the road above are intended to give you a general indication on the rules you can expect in the UK, there may be occasions & situations indicated or marked that could deviate from these.

UK Speed Limits:

The speed limit on roads depends on which vehicle is on the road and the type of road you are driving on, as a general guideline the current speed limits are:

For Cars & Motorcycles:

Built Up Areas: 30mph (48kph)
Single Carriageways: 60mph (96kph)
Dual Carriageways: 70mph (112kph)
Motorways: 70mph (112kph)

For Cars Towing Caravans & Trailers:

Built Up Areas: 30mph (48kph)
Single Carriageways: 50mph (81kph)
Dual Carriageways: 60mph (96kph)
Motorways: 60mph (96kph)

Buses & Coaches:

Built Up Areas: 30mph (48kph)
Single Carriageways: 50mph (81kph)
Dual Carriageways: 60mph (96kph)
Motorways: 70mph (112kph)

(mph = miles per hour; kph = kilometres per hour)

The speed limit is the maximum speed you can go, there may be other factors such as weather and road conditions that mean you cannot safely drive at that speed. It is important to drive at the right speed safely for the conditions ensuring you stay within the speed limits. Drivers should exercise caution when approaching junctions, when sharing the road with other road users such as motorcycles and cyclists and ensure they drive carefully near hazards and where there are schools and children present.

Driving in the UK:

If visitors want to drive in the UK, they need to have:

A full valid driving licence issued in a country in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) or

An International Driving Permit issued abroad or

A valid full national driving licence

Note: Provisional licences issued outside the UK are not valid.

If you licence is issued from outside the EU/EEA, you can drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and a maximum of eight passenger seats. For this to be valid your driving licence/driving permit needs to be valid for 12 months from the date you enter the UK.

For further information please see: Driving the UK on Foreign Licences

UK Driving Travellers Tips

It is a good idea to come with an International Driver's Permit, it means you have another form of identification and car hire companies may request this in their requirements for hiring a car n the UK.

Take care to obey the rules of the road, traffic laws and the rules & regulations contained in the Highway Code.

The UK has more traffic & surveillance cameras than just about anywhere else, stick to obeying the rules of the road and do not break traffic laws or chances are you will be caught and subject to a fine or prosecution.

If you encounter any aggressive driving or 'road rage' - do not react back, being cool, calm and collected can help calm the situation down and stop any potential conflict and help maintain your safety & the safety of other road users.

UK Car Rental

Many visitors hire a car to travel around the UK. Visitors can use the extensive road network to experience the UK first hand at their own pace. In order to hire a car in the UK you will need to have the correct documents and pass the regulations car hire companies have.

The documents needed include a full valid licence that has been issued in your home country and the validity needs to be usually at least 12/24 months. If your licence is issued from a country outside the EU/EEA, an International Driver's Permit may be requested. Car hire companies may be very strict about any points or offences recorded on your licence, they may demand a full clean driving licence without any sanctions.

The minimum age to hire cars in the UK is usually 23 with some companies allowing 21. The maximum age usually is 70 with some companies extending this to 80. Drivers should note car hire companies may put restrictions on the type of vehicle drivers of a certain age can hire and the cost of hiring expensive/higher powered cars may be more costly for i.e. younger drivers.

The majority of car hire companies provide breakdown assistance from either of the two largest roadside assistance companies in the UK, the AA (Automobile Association or the RAC. Drivers are advised to check first before booking their vehicles.

Check to see if the hire cars are insured, do not assume they are. Make sure any hire car use is fully insured when you use it, otherwise do not drive it.

See UK Car Rental to search for car hire at competitive rates for a range of makes and models to suit all budgets at locations across the UK.

When booking car hire most companies take payment by credit/debit card, cash payments are possible in some cases if you go to the company or travel agent in person.

The cost of hiring a car in the UK varies widely, there are smaller economical cars available at reasonably rates while expensive, premium cars can escalate the cost substantially. Drivers are advised to think carefully to ensure the car they hire is the right one for their needs & budget.

UK Motorcycle Rental

Hiring a motorcycle to travel across the UK can be an exhilarating experience for visitors. The minimum age for hiring scooters is usually 17, while if you wish to hire a motorcycle the minimum age rises to around 25. Hire companies may put restrictions on the types of motorcycles and the models that can be hired especially when it comes to younger riders.

Documents needed include a full, valid motorcycle licence along with another form of identity i.e. passport. Check to see if helmets are included in the price and protective clothing too. Ensure you wear helmets and protective clothing when riding the motorcycle. Insurance may or may not be included as part of the total price, check to see if it is and if not ensure the insurance is added before you ride the motorcycle/scooter.

There are a wide range of scooters and motorcycles for hire in the UK from small scooters, to touring bikes, prestigious & classics to sports bikes. The cost varies too from reasonable for more basic models to expensive for prestigious bikes and performance models.

UK Motorhome & Other Vehicle Rental

Using a motorhome to travel across the UK offers the chance to travel across the country and take your accommodation with you. Usually the minimum age for hiring motorhomes is 21 and the maximum is 75, with some variations.

In order to hire a motorhome up to 3.5 tonnes, visitors with need a full, valid driving licence issued in your home country held for 12/24 months. For visitors with licences issued outside the EU/EEA, an international Driver's Permit may be requested. The price of motorhomes varies depending on the make and model and the facilities and amenities they provide.

The UK driving & car rental guide is intended to assist visitors to the UK who may wish to drive vehicles whilst travelling in the UK, the information given in this guide has been given in good faith. Rules and regulations in driving and vehicle hire are subject to change, alteration & updates. It is recommended you check the appropriate links provided in this guide for the latest up to date situation.

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Disclaimer: The information given in on this website is given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge. If there are any discrepancies in no way do we intend to mislead. Important travel details and arrangements should be confirmed and verified with the relevant authorities.
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