Everything You Need to Know About Driving in the UK
It doesn't matter if you've just passed your test or have been driving for 20-plus years, brushing up on UK road rules always comes in handy. Indeed, it might be even more important if you're a seasoned vet as you're probably not super up-to-date with the rules of the road. With that in mind, we've put this guide together featuring everything you need to know about driving in the UK. From new rules to handy titbits, read on to become a pro on the roads.
New Changes to UK Driving Laws in 2023
Did you know that road rules are constantly evolving? Back in 2004 TV adverts ran encouraging people to drive at 30mph instead of 40mph when in the city. Today, most urban roads have a 20mph speed limit. But that's just one driving change in the last few years. And if you want to keep up to date, check out our blog on the UK Speeding Regulations Update 2023.This year, there are plenty of new rules in the pipeline including a pavement parking ban – driver access to pavements and dropped kerbs in parts of England will become a thing of the past. Another change is new number plates, with '23 and '73 plates set to be introduced in March and September of this year. The ultra low emissions scheme is also due an upgrade in London. This year, the charge will be expanded to 33 boroughs of the capital.
What are the UK Speeding Regulations
UK speeding regulations are strict for good reasons, with some speed limits as low as 20 mph and average speed check cameras regularly in use. Exceeding the speed limit by any amount can result in a fine, but police officers may allow a leeway of 10% plus two miles per hour. Oh, and the colour of a speed camera doesn't affect its legality or ability to issue fines, while some cameras are even switched off.
Find out more about UK Speeding Regulations
10 Tips for Driving Safely on the Roads
As a car owner, it is your responsibility to be a cautious driver and ensure your own safety as well as the safety of other road users. If you are new to driving, there is a lot to learn with endless new terminology, acronyms and road signs, as well as getting used to and being confident out on the roads. By educating yourself about driving safely, however, you can learn how to practice safe driving. Use these tips you can apply whenever you’re out on the road. Firstly, avoid distractions while driving such as using your mobile phone or playing loud music. This can cause longer reaction times and lead to a possible collision with another vehicle. Additionally, maintaining a safe distance and following speed limits are crucial in ensuring your safety on the while driving. Furthermore, be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to road markings and signs, as well as not using your mobile phone whilst driving.
Checklist for Driving in the Winter
As a car owner, it's a good idea to take care of your vehicle and ensure it's well-maintained, especially during the winter. To prolong the life of your car and avoid any car troubles on the way to your destination, have a checklist in place before you set out. What should be on that list, you ask? Firstly, the car battery should be checked and replaced if necessary, as cold and damp weather can affect it. Additionally, the screen-wash needs refilling with a proper solution and not just water, to ensure it doesn't freeze and is able to wash off dirt from the windscreen. Antifreeze is also essential to prevent the cooling system from freezing, and maybe even consider checking with an antifreeze tester. Furthermore, all car lights should be inspected and cleaned to ensure they are functioning properly, especially during shorter winter days. It's also worth considering winter tyres for driving on snow and ice. At the very least, check the tyre tread depth before hitting the road.
Find out more about our checklist for winter driving
Winter Driving Tips: How to De-ice Your Car
Before de-icing your windscreen, make sure the wipers aren’t switched on. Position the car’s fans so that they point at the windows, and turn on the fan before setting it to the highest temperature at full blast. Use a brush with soft bristles or a rubber blade to clear snow on your car, including the lights and engine grill. You can also make a solution of water and salt which you can use to remove the ice, if you're feeling in the mood. But remember that when de-icing on a public road, it’s an offence to leave the engine running. Also, leaving the keys in the ignition to warm up the car and get back in the house for a while may lead to car theft. The last thing you want it to return to your toasty car, only to find out it's no longer there.
Find out more tips about de-icing your car when driving in the winter
Winter Driving Tips: Snow Conditions
Driving in winter can be challenging, especially when the roads are covered in snow and ice. To ensure a safe and stress-free journey, it's important to prepare before heading out on the road. This includes checking the latest weather forecasts, allowing enough preparation time to de-ice your car and checking your fuel and battery levels. It's also a good idea to carry an emergency kit and save the number of a reliable breakdown service in case of any issues. When it comes to your car, make sure to check the tread depth and pressure of your winter tires, and perform a thorough visual inspection. Also consider changing your oil and adding anti-freeze to your engine's cooling system, while ensuring that your screen-wash is topped up.
Winter Driving Tips: Driving Safely at Night
Driving at night can be tricky for many drivers, especially those who aren't used to it. The lack of lighting on the road and the glare from other vehicles can make it difficult to see and increase the risk of accidents. To stay safe when driving in the dark, check all of your car lights regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. Use them correctly and avoid staring at oncoming vehicles, so you don't end up seeing unnecessary bright lights. You should also keep your windscreen clean and be aware of other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and animals. And don't forget to drive slowly, especially in residential areas and be attentive to unexpected movements. If you have difficulty seeing at night, it may be helpful to get an eye check-up.
Tips for Driving in Heavy Rain
Driving in heavy rain can be challenging and dangerous, especially as UK winters are known for their wet weather (then again, just about every month is over here in good ol' Blighty). Before setting out, ask yourself if the trip is absolutely necessary. If it is, then it's good to have patience, focus and enough time for the journey. When driving in heavy rain, make sure to turn on the headlights, watch your speed, leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front and don't use your hazards. If the weather becomes worse, pull over and wait for it to pass. Additionally, when driving on flooded roads, make sure to check the depth of the water and if unsure, find another route.
Our 5 Top Tips for Driving Safely in the Fog
Driving in the fog can be difficult and potentially dangerous. To stay safe in foggy conditions, it's necessary to plan your trip first by checking the latest weather updates, while also knowing how to use fog lights. Plus, make sure you understand the laws about using fog lights, and don't forget to use the dipped beams instead of full beams. Lastly, drive slowly because the road conditions can be very tricky. If visibility is severely limited, it may be best to wait for it to improve or consider postponing your journey if it is not urgent.
Find out more about driving in the fog safely with these top five tips
How to Renew Your Driving Licence
Drivers in the UK need to renew their driving licence every ten years, or every three years if over 70. The process of renewing a licence or changing an address on a licence is easy, and can be done through the official government website. You can also change the photo on your licence if the validity is less than two years. But how much does it all cost? Well, the online process for renewing or changing a licence costs £14, while the postal process will set you back by £17. It's good to renew or update a licence when needed, as failure to do so can result in a fine of £1,000. Ouch.
Find out more about renewing your driving licence
What are the Rules for Driving with Glasses?
Good eyesight is crucial for safe driving and there is a minimum requirement that you need to meet in order to legally drive in the UK. It is important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that you are meeting the required standards and to ensure that you can see clearly while driving. If you need to wear prescription glasses, it is a legal requirement that you wear them while driving. Failing to do so can result in fines or even a prison sentence. If your vision deteriorates, you must declare this to the DVLA and surrender your driver's licence. It is also important to consider the type of lenses you wear while driving and to try to reduce glare. Not wearing your prescription glasses can also invalidate your insurance. To ensure your safety and that of other road users, make sure that you meet the required vision standards and wear prescription glasses while driving if necessary.
How to Check If Your Eyesight is Fit for Driving
Good eyesight is crucial for safe driving, both for yourself and for other road users. It's good to regularly check that your eyesight meets the minimum standards for driving and to wear glasses or contact lenses when necessary. There are a few different ways to do this for driving, including at the driving test, where you will be asked to read a number plate from 20 metres away. Fail this test, and your provisional license will be revoked, meaning you'll need to retake the test after an eyesight check. Another way is through a police roadside eye test. Of course, you're not going to voluntarily take this test. But if the police stop you because they think you're driving dangerously, they might ask you to take it. If you fail this test, you'll be considered unfit to drive and may face penalties. It's also recommended that you have an eye checkup with an optician every two years, or more frequently if you notice any changes in your vision.
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7 Car Hacks to Improve Your Driving Experience
Driving on the open roads can be an enjoyable experience, but adding some inexpensive upgrades to your car can make it even better. A Garmin dash cam, for example, can give you peace of mind by recording any incidents on the road. The Xtreme Auto heated car seat cushion keeps you warm on cold winter days and helps relieve back pain. Then there's the Viper SmartStart, which allows you to unlock your car hands-free and monitor its speed and location. If you have an older car without Bluetooth capabilities, the MPow Bluetooth receiver can connect your phone to play music. While the Launch CRP129E Scan Tool is a diagnostic tool that can graph live data, perform emissions tests and reset diagnostic trouble codes. A Trademark Global car swivel tray can keep your food and drinks steady while you're on the road. And lastly, the Anker PowerCore car jump starter and portable charger can jump start your car's battery and charge your phone at the same time.
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Most Important Road and Driving Acronyms you Need to Know
Learning to drive can be overwhelming, especially with all the new terminology and traffic laws. To help new drivers navigate the world of driving, here's a list of the most common driving acronyms and initialisms. These include ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), ADI (Approved Driving Instructor), AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), AWD (All Wheel Drive), BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), BLIS (Blind Spot Indication System), CAZ (Clean Air Zone), CGZ (Congestion Charge Zone), DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), EV (Electric Vehicle), EBA (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), ESC (Electronic Stability Control), MOT (Ministry of Transport) and PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle). These acronyms refer to different features, technologies and laws related to driving and owning a vehicle. Understanding them can help new drivers feel more confident and informed on the road.
Find out more about important road and driving acronyms
10 Driving Tips to Save You Money When You're Driving
As a car owner, it's important to be mindful of how your driving style, tyre pressure and other factors that can affect your car's fuel efficiency. To save on fuel and car-related expenses, here are ten tips to consider: First, make sure to check your tyre pressure regularly so that your car runs safely and efficiently. Next, follow the speed limit and accelerate smoothly to lower fuel consumption. Also, consider filling up your tank at supermarkets, as they often have cheaper fuel prices than petrol stations. Another option is to shift to an eco-friendly car, like a hybrid or electric vehicle, which may have more expensive upfront costs but are cheaper to run and maintain in the long run. If you have an electric car, consider installing a home charger or taking advantage of free charging points available in certain car parks or retail parks. To save even more fuel, use your sat nav to plan your route ahead and avoid getting lost. And make sure to keep your car well-maintained and remove any unnecessary weight from your vehicle.
Find out more tips to save you money when driving around in the UK
Car Checks to Keep You Car Running Well
Regular car maintenance is essential to ensure a safe and smooth ride, and can save you money in the long run. By checking your dashboard for warnings, knowing your car's servicing schedule, testing all lights and indicators, assessing brakes and engine oil levels, examining tyres, and checking the horn, you can keep your car in top condition. Neglecting these basic checks can lead to accidents, costly fines, and even the loss of your license. So, take care of your car and drive safely!
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What Is the Update on Smart Motorways 2023?
Smart motorways are designed to reduce traffic congestion and improve travel times, but they have become a controversial topic due to safety concerns. There are three types of smart motorways, but critics argue that the removal of hard shoulders can lead to accidents and deaths. National Highways has set a deadline in July 2023 to implement safety improvements, including better working stopped vehicle detection technology. In the meantime, drivers are advised to pull over to the left lane and use the free SOS phone or call Highways England on 0300 123 5000 in case of emergency. It's important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and safety measures when using smart motorways.
Find out more about the update to smart motorways in 2023
How Can You Get the Most from Your Tank of Fuel?
Electric and hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular for their fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness. However, if purchasing a new car isn't an option, there are still ways to maximise your fuel efficiency. Planning your route carefully, improving your driving habits, reducing vehicle idling, using cruise control, and regular car maintenance are all great ways to get the most out of a tank of gas. By implementing these tips, you can save money on fuel and help reduce your carbon footprint.
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Driving in the UK From Abroad
First and foremost, you'll need a valid UK driving license to hit the road. Next, familiarise yourself with the rules of the road, including driving on the left side of the road, vehicle requirements, and speed limits. Driving in the city can be chaotic, so make sure you understand parking and congestion charge rules. If you prefer highway driving, UK's motorways are a great way to get around, but be prepared for high speeds and smart systems in place. Rural driving has its challenges, including narrow lanes, sharp corners and wandering farm animals. Lastly, adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, and fog can make driving more dangerous, so it's essential to be prepared. Remember to always follow traffic signals and signs, give way to emergency vehicles, and never use a mobile phone while driving.
Find out more about driving in the UK from abroad