Most residents of our capital prefer to use public transport to navigate the city, but sometimes driving is necessary. Whatever reason you have for driving, if you have never driven in London before you may require some pointers before you feel confident enough to hit the roads.
If you are a frequent driver who owns your own car, or even if you’re looking for a rental car in London, driving in the city can be stressful.
You may think driving in London is much the same as driving anywhere else, however, the city has many rules and regulations for road users that aren’t in place elsewhere.
When driving in London, there are many laws and legislations to be aware of such as emission charges and tolls.
Road users in London will have to pay congestion charge fees when heading into the Central London zone. Operating times for these charges are Monday to Friday from 7am until 6pm on weekdays, which means you are obliged to pay this congestion charge if travelling during these hours.
Depending on your car’s emission standard, you may be required to pay a ULEZ charge when driving in London. This was put in place to help combat pollution in the city centre and congestion charge zone.
Some vehicles including hybrid and electric vehicles are entirely exempt from these charges, however, it is worth checking what vehicles are required to pay as you don’t want to end up with an unexpected charge,
Parking in London will always pose a challenge due to the sheer volume of people who live and work in the city. Certain areas will have designated parking spaces but beware that you don’t park in an owned space and end up with a hefty fine.
If you do park in London, be sure you pay and display if necessary to avoid finding a parking ticket on your vehicle.
Much like everywhere else in the country, you will have to follow the general rules of the road. Don’t travel down one-way streets, take wrong turns and enter no-access zones. London is known for having cameras stationed to capture your every move, so abiding by the rules is the best way to avoid trouble.
Planning your route ahead of time is a good way to scope out the area before you make the trip. This means you can plan the best route to avoid potential traffic, busy junctions and areas that you may not feel comfortable driving in especially busy places.
Travelling in cities is always much different to travelling elsewhere, so expect that it will be busy even during off-peak hours.
Avoiding rush hour is probably the best way to tackle driving in London the first time round. It can get incredibly busy and congested, which may heighten stress and anxiety when driving in an unfamiliar area.
Make sure you stay calm, trust yourself and as long as you follow the rules of the road, you should be a pro at navigating London streets in no time. The first time will always be the most confusing, so don’t stress if you find it difficult.