Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues > Route / Travel Queries


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11th May 2015, 14:03   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Navi Mumbai
Posts: 304
Thanked: 198 Times
Default Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

I am leaving shortly for visiting family in the UK. Once there we have made rather elaborate plans to have a short driving holiday. Since I am the only person who knows driving, I will be driving for the entire stretch and also since this is the first time I will be driving abroad, I have been reading a lot over the net for things I need to keep in mind:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2522570 (Hayek's Road Trips : England, Wales and Scotland)
... among other driving travelogues!

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1....Visitors.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving...United_Kingdom

http://www.visitbritain.com/en/Trans...n-Britain.html

However, wanted to start a thread because I want to hear about your first hand experiences while driving in the UK and of course from veterans as well about the things I should keep take care of.

In addition, I have another question. For the driving trip we have hired a 7 seater which needs to accommodate 2 kids (1 year + 1 year 8 months) and 4 adults. What is the most recommended seating layout that we should follow in the car? I was thinking on the lines of:

1st Row: Driver + Passenger
2nd Row: Infant seat + Passenger + Infant Seat
3rd Row: Passenger

Do let me know!
PGNarain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th May 2015, 15:41   #2
Team-BHP Support
 
Rehaan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 22,381
Thanked: 22,606 Times
Default re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

This thread might have some pointers for you too : Link (Getting UK driving license)
Rehaan is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12th May 2015, 15:51   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,270
Thanked: 1,235 Times
Default re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

I've driven a Ford S-max from London to Leeds and back. To be precise, I shared driving with my brother-in-law, who was staying there, and got good inputs. Your accommodation plan for kids in the middle row looks fine. They should never be in the front seat.

Driving was a cake walk, but you need to keep in mind lane discipline. The lane closest to the divider on highways is used only for overtaking. You need to get back to the middle or left lane gradually after overtaking, depending on your speed.

Keep a lookout for speed limit boards and display signs, and stick to it. Else you have to pay a heft fine when you give back the rental car. At that point of time, one could spot speed sensors on the road by a series of dots, and the speed at which your car crosses those dots triggers the alarm to the traffic cops. It was quite simple to slam the brakes near those, but I don't advise you to cross the speed limits.

The latest edtion of Top Gear India has an article by Jeremy Clarkson lamenting about the new-gen speed sensors laid on the M1 highway, and how it is difficult to trick them. Do read that article, it is very humorous.

Drive safe!
vnabhi is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 12:49   #4
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,748
Thanked: 89,395 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Personally, I don't recommend driving straight off the airport in a new country. If you've been there earlier, it's a different matter. But if visiting for the first time, take a cab, observe the driving and get familiar with the local traffic scene. Even 1 - 2 days of localisation can go a long way .

Be doubly sure to have insurance coverage, and that your driving licence is valid in the foreign country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
I was thinking on the lines of:

1st Row: Driver + Passenger
2nd Row: Infant seat + Passenger + Infant Seat
3rd Row: Passenger
Yes, this is probably the best.
GTO is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 13:00   #5
BHPian
 
sreedotk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Chennai
Posts: 215
Thanked: 22 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

A few thoughts from my end.

The thingh i have found most of my friends have difficulty driving in a foreign land where they have good highways are.

1. Merging on to highway- especially as you have to accelerate hard to get from a 40 mile speed limit to a 60-70 mile speed limit and when there is a good amount of traffic at the merging end.
2. Changing lanes while maintaining speed
3. Remembering that Pedestrians have the right of the way
4. To stop at all stop signs irrespective of whether there is traffic or not
5. To know which traffic has the right of way at a roundabout
5. Also it would be a good idea to go on the net and check for all traffic signs as some of them may be unique to each country
sreedotk is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 13:57   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Navi Mumbai
Posts: 304
Thanked: 198 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Personally, I don't recommend driving straight off the airport in a new country.
Been there several times before but this is the first time when I will driving. Also, we did explore driving straight out from the Airport, especially since there are far more and better options available from Heathrow, but dropped it for exactly the reason you have mentioned and also because it was turning out to be costlier!

Quote:
Be doubly sure to have insurance coverage, and that your driving licence is valid in the foreign country.
Thanks and already done. Documentation wise, I am all covered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sreedotk View Post
A few thoughts from my end.
...4. To stop at all stop signs irrespective of whether there is traffic or not
5. To know which traffic has the right of way at a roundabout
Thanks for your post and pointing that out. It is exactly these kind of things I am apprehensive I might overlook given how we tend to drive here!
PGNarain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 14:07   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 526
Thanked: 546 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
..... we have made rather elaborate plans to have a short driving holiday. .... this is the first time I will be driving abroad.

... want to hear about your first hand experiences while driving in the UK and of course from veterans as well about the things I should keep take care of.
Having driven in the UK earlier, I would suggest that you buy a copy of the UK Highway code. The Highway code covers the road rules and do's an don'ts in detail.

Although I had good driving experience in India, I didn't straightaway take to the roads in the UK, I went through the Highway code and familiarized with the rules thoroughly and observed the driving pattern for 3 to 4 months and then started driving there.

It is absolutely critical to go by the Highway code because the driving speeds are on the higher side and it can be risky to deviate from the rules (particularly the concept of "right of way" is followed everywhere, along with lane discipline).

Last edited by for_cars1 : 13th May 2015 at 14:15.
for_cars1 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 14:28   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 525
Thanked: 191 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

In addition to what others have said, my inputs are as below

City Driving - Likely tougher than Highway. Key things to keep in mind
a. Speed limit is usually 30 unless stated otherwise. Most roads will have boards announcing the limit. If there are no boards, watch for street lights. Street lights in a city means limit is automatically 30. Near Schools, it usually drops to 20.
b. Watch for roads with Yellow and Red lines. Yellow usually means you can stop to unload / pick up passengers / luggage, whereas Red usually means you cannot stop for that as well. Waiting is not allowed on roads with Red lines. Yellow line roads usually have signs telling you if you can wait.
c. Roundabouts - there are two types - Regular and Mini. Regular is like any circle in India. Mini has the same rules, but is just a painted circle on the junction.
The rule is fairly simple - Right has right of way. Which essentially means you have to stop behind the line before entering the roundabout and can enter it only if there is no one coming from the right / front side and cutting across you. You usually dont need to worry about the left. they'll be watching you.
d. Pedestrian Crossings. There are multiple types, most common of which are Zebra and Pelican. Pelican is simple since it will have lights. Zebra crossings are usually indicated by a set of poles with Yellow lights on them. You have to stop at Zebra if there are any pedestrians waiting to cross or crossing the road. No exceptions at any time of the day. And please wait for the pedestrian to cross the road before you proceed. Do not attempt to move as soon as they cross your vehicle
e. Stop signs and lines. A number of roads just have a line and no stop signs. That means you have to stop at the line before you enter the road
f. Give Way signs are taken seriously
g. Forget about honking. Horns are to be used only in an emergency and are usually seen as a sign of annoyance
h. FLASHING of lights. Its the exact opposite of India. If someone flashes you at an intersection, they are indicating that they'll wait and asking you to go. Same applies if you flash - it means you'll wait. This includes signs to pedestrians as well
i. The usual way of thanking someone on the road is to either raise your hand or switch on the emergency blinkers for one cycle.
j. Major and Minor Roads. If you are on a major road and entering a minor road, you will have right of way to enter. If you are entering a major road from a minor road, you have to wait for a suitable gap. Also, if you have to cut across a road (say turning right into a road), then you have to wait for a gap in the traffic in the appropriate lane
k. If a cop car starts following you and flashes his blue lights, pull over at a safe place and wait in the car. The cops are usually very courteous and willing to help
l. Carry change with you for parking meters. Most parkign meters accept coins only or you'll have to call and pay via credit card.

Misc: Mileage is quoted in MPG, but fuel is sold in litres, so be ready to calculate how much fuel you need for your journey

As others have suggested, good to study driving patterns for the first two days and also familiarize yourself with the highway code.

Trust me, you'll be a better driver after you drive a few hundred miles on UK roads.

Last edited by prashanthyr : 13th May 2015 at 14:30.
prashanthyr is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 14:35   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 257
Thanked: 282 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

I will add a few more to the ones posted by @sreedotk:

1. Knowing how to use on-the-road parking (where you can park, what time you can park, how to pay the fee, displaying the receipt, etc.)
2. Restrictions on driving in city centres (congestion tax, tourist vs. resident cars, etc.) which may be applicable in some cities.
3. Bus lanes, taxi lanes, cycle lanes and trams - watch out for them in towns. Do not cross them under any circumstances.
4. Procedure for paying toll on the highways - which lane should you drive into, where to take ticket and where to pay by cash/ card

Enjoy yourself, don't be too stressed!
reverse_gear is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 19:08   #10
BHPian
 
viper_711's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 346
Thanked: 55 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Most points are covered so I will share where I felt I had to focus during my London-Scotland-London drive:
Roundabouts - In India we have a tendency to slow down and enter the roundabout but the correct way is to stop and enter only when no one from the right is approaching
Parking signs - Interpreting the parking sign variations and sub-text
Speed limits - Needless to say everywhere but especially in urban areas
Road signs - There will be many unlike India and need to stay alert so as we don't miss one.
Traffic jams - When crossing large junctions/plazas we need to ensure that the road we are taking is clear. If it is blocked do not cross even if you have a green light

Your seating arrangement is spot on. Most cars do not have child seat fixing points on last row (just experienced it in Australia)

Most gas stations will sell you a copy of highway code.

Wish you a safe drive!
viper_711 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th May 2015, 23:39   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
itwasntme's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: BANGALORE
Posts: 2,273
Thanked: 1,338 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Please read through the online Highway Code. I find it to be very lucid and readable.
https://www.gov.uk/highway-code

If possible, use a UK GPS - can really prevent 'last minute' panic changes if direction.

Do not let yourself get distracted by your passengers - make that a rule and appoint the front passenger as the intermediary between other passengers and kids!

Ensure everyone is belted up as per UK law - god forbid if anything happens, you as the driver will be held legally responsible for kids especially.
itwasntme is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2015, 00:03   #12
Distinguished - BHPian
 
SS-Traveller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 6,628
Thanked: 10,859 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

This thread (Things they donít teach you at an Indian driving school) would be a good primer for driving in any country that strictly enforces road rules. Also, this one (The Swedish Driving License - My Experience).

There are a few hundred things to remember when driving in UK, which we don't care for in India, if you want to avoid being penalized - and the penalties are really heavy by our standards. Indians tend to forget that there are cameras watching you, even if there's no cop physically present.

Good luck, and drive safe.
SS-Traveller is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2015, 08:07   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
ghodlur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Thane
Posts: 5,041
Thanked: 2,086 Times
Smile Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Man, I had a tough time when I had driven in UK. The traffic sense and discipline is immense in the country with of course a few exceptions but people generally follow good lane discipline. The signs are everywhere so directions shouldn't be a problem. In any case you can opt for a vehicle with a TomTom installed. The highways are not an issue, but the town roads may be narrow. As known roads in London specifically are congested and better to opt for public transportation.

I usually got distracted by the german beauties, they are a plenty in the country. How long is the stay in UK?
ghodlur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2015, 09:41   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Navi Mumbai
Posts: 304
Thanked: 198 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by viper_711 View Post
....Your seating arrangement is spot on. Most cars do not have child seat fixing points on last row....
Thanks for all the pointers and confirming the seating arrangement as well, GTO is his previous post also said the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by itwasntme View Post
Please read through the online Highway Code. I find it to be very lucid and readable.
Quote:
Most gas stations will sell you a copy of highway code.
Thanks, though I have gone through the highway code online - this is a good suggestion. I will surely get a copy once we land.




Quote:
If possible, use a UK GPS - can really prevent 'last minute' panic changes if direction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
In any case you can opt for a vehicle with a TomTom installed. The highways are not an issue, but the town roads may be narrow. As known roads in London specifically are congested and better to opt for public transportation.
We have not opted for a hired GPS simply because the couple travelling with us have UK phones / tablets which are GPS enabled. Also, because an additional GPS was turning out to be rather expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Man, I had a tough time when I had driven in UK. The traffic sense and discipline is immense in the country with of course a few exceptions.....
well that's not comforting, but I will surely update my experience once I am back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
I usually got distracted by the german beauties, they are a plenty in the country. How long is the stay in UK?
Well, I will try to keep myself under control. It was one of the reasons that I never really noticed traffic on my earlier trips. Was always using public transport and looking at cars!!

Perhaps I should have mentioned it - we will be there for about 2 weeks of which almost 10 days are driving. Also, we are not going anywhere near London - or for that matter any major city, with the exception of Bath!
PGNarain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2015, 10:43   #15
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 922
Thanked: 378 Times
Default Re: Driving in England / UK: Same side of the road, but what's different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sreedotk View Post
3. Remembering that Pedestrians have the right of the way
This is the most difficult thing for us to master, whether driving on footpaths or roads
Quote:
Originally Posted by sreedotk View Post
5. To know which traffic has the right of way at a roundabout
In roundabouts in 'most' countries, if you see an approaching car from your (driver side) window, the approaching car has the right of way. The logic is simple - you can see the other car from the driver window, but the other driver can see you only through a (limited visibility) passenger window.
Quote:
Originally Posted by viper_711 View Post
Traffic jams - When crossing large junctions/plazas we need to ensure that the road we are taking is clear. If it is blocked do not cross even if you have a green light
Most of the traffic jams in the town where I reside are due to drivers going ahead and blocking the junction, even when they see that they cannot move ahead.

Last edited by jinojohnt : 14th May 2015 at 10:46.
jinojohnt is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Interesting facts about Left Side or Right Side Driving kreddy Street Experiences 28 7th November 2013 14:30
What if all tyre are of same specs, but not from same make? sups Modifications & Accessories 9 24th December 2010 16:34
Same Profile, Same Make. But still difference in diameter. Possible? vrooooooom Tyre & Alloy wheel Section 34 13th August 2008 21:07
Different Speaker Brands = Different sound for same/similar music ? normally_crazy In-Car Entertainment 10 29th August 2006 12:05


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 17:42.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks