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Driving in the UK – The Ultimate Tips for Americans!

Kwik Fit | Tuesday 4th July 2017 11:42am

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Happy 4th of July! In honour of our American friends celebrating Independence Day today, here’s our Top 5 driving tips for y’all Americans visiting or living in the UK!

1. Driving in the UK – Think LEFT!

When driving the in the UK remember to drive on the left and overtake on the right. There is no UK equivalent of “Right on Red” under any circumstances, a red light means stop! On the motorway, the left hand land is considered the “slow lane” and you should only overtake on the right. 4 lane highway rules where you can overtake on either side do not apply in the UK. Oh and it’s best to avoid using the hard shoulder of the motorway to undertake a vehicle as this could result in a possible arrest.

2. Roundabouts – Going around in circles

The UK is full of roundabouts also known as traffic circles. Roundabouts help promote a continuous flow of traffic and make some junctions a lot easier by moving the traffic along. Despite their obvious benefits, most Brits hate roundabouts and drivers often curse and swear at other roundabout users. Key things to remember when using a roundabout: traffic already on the roundabout has priority, always give way to the right rather than the left, and finally, get in lane early so other drivers know your intentions. When approaching a roundabout, look ahead to the right and observe any traffic entering or coming around. If it is clear, go straight on and leave at your chosen exit. When turning left indicate left as you approach, if going straight on only indicate left as you pass the exit just before the one you want.

3. Know your stuff - Learn the road signs

In the UK, there are 3 basic types of traffic sign: signs that give information, signs that warn and signs that give orders. Each type of traffic sign has a different shape and uses colour to determine a further function of the sign.

Road sign explanatory infographic

There are a vast number of road signs in the UK, many of which are very different to the equivalent signs in the USA. You can learn more about UK traffic signs on the Department of Transport website.

4. Learn the Lingo

Tell a Brit that you had to pop the hood of the sedan on the interstate ramp because you couldn’t make it to the rest stop, and they might look at you blankly. Here’s a quick translation guide to US/UK car terminology to help you adjust.

                                                            USA                                                               UK
Trunk Boot
Hood  Bonnet 
Fender  Bumper
Parking Lot Car Park
Rental  Car Hire
Median Central Reservation
4-Way Stop Crossroads
Divided FreewayDual Carriageway
Stick Shift Gear Knob
YieldGive Way
Turn SignalIndicator
Station Wagon
Estate Car
RV Caravan
Truck Lorry
Ramp Slip Road
Sidewalk Pavement
Crosswalk Pedestrian Crossing
Gas Station Petrol Station
IntersectionRoad Junction
Rest Area/Rest Stop Service Station
TurnpikeToll Road
Learner’s Permit 
Provisional Licence
Drink Driving

5. Driving in the UK with your USA License

Lastly, can you drive in the UK with your American driving license? Yes, you will be able drive in the UK on your full, valid USA driving license for up to 12 months from when you become a resident or up to 12 months from the date of coming to the UK. After the 12 months you’ll need to apply for your provisional license and pass the theory (written) and practical (road) driving test to be able to drive legally. You’re all set, go get ’em cowboy!

man driving car with hat on dashboard
Tags : Tips

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