5 Tips For Driving in London
There’s nothing like living in a capital city, and few capitals are as iconic as London. However, with all the perks of city living, there are some inevitable drawbacks too. For London, one of the most daunting aspects can be driving through the city – even experienced drivers can find that the prospect fills them with dread. The key to London driving is really one of adjusting to the unique environment, that being said, we have some tips which can help you prepare and avoid the feeling of being thrown in at the deep end.
Avoid rush hour
The roads will be at their worst during rush hour when all the city workers are clamouring to get in and out of London as quickly as possible. Although named rush hour, in reality this time period stretches from around 7-9am in the morning and 4:30-7pm in the evening on weekdays. If you can steer clear of travelling during this time, you will avoid the worst of the traffic and unnecessary stress levels.
Packed roads, dense traffic and impatient motorists make for a driving environment which is not for the faint hearted. When driving through London, you can’t be overly polite or drive timidly otherwise you’ll find your unassertiveness will be exploited by other drivers, leaving you stuck at junctions and getting nowhere. Try and mirror the speed and tactics of other road users to learn how the experts navigate city driving struggles.
Check your mirrors
It’s not only other vehicles on the busy London roads you have to account for. Cycling is an increasingly popular mode of transportation across London and therefore drivers should always be on the lookout for cyclists on the roads. Be sure to always check your mirrors properly, especially when pulling out, opening your car doors, changing lanes, and at junctions so as not to knock any cyclists or pedestrians.
The best drivers are those that can deal with unexpected situations calmly, quickly and effectively; you can guarantee you’ll need these skills when driving in London. Make sure the roads have your full attention as wandering pedestrians/tourists, one way streets and stopping and starting public transport are all plentiful in the city and can be hazardous if you don’t spot them in good time.
Be aware of the congestion charge
London traffic is notorious and many measures have been proposed to try and discourage so many vehicles on the roads. The main one you should be aware of and prepared for when driving in London is the congestion charge. This is a fee you have to pay for driving in zones of London at certain times, namely central London between 7am-6pm on weekdays. The congestion charge is £11.50 per day and can be paid through various methods such as online, text, phone or at some shops. The penalty for not paying is £130 so it’s well worth paying the day charge to avoid the hefty fine.
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