UK Driving Laws and Child Safety
United Kingdom Driving Laws and Child Safety
If you're planning to book a rental car in the UK during your next vacation, becoming well-versed in local driving laws in the UK is crucial to enjoying a hassle-free road trip. In this section of our United Kingdom travel guide, we'll delve into UK driving laws and child safety guidelines to assist you in avoiding fines while simultaneously maintaining a high level of comfort and safety while on the road.
United Kingdom Driving Laws: Rules Pertaining to Children
In the UK (and much of Europe for that matter), a child must use a child seat until they're twelve years old, or at least three and a 3.5 feet tall. Child seats in the UK must meet European Union guidelines, indicated by a large label showing a capital 'E' in a circle.The only time the law tolerates a child under twelve years old (but over 3.5 feet talll) not seated in a child seat is when on a bus, in the back seat of a taxi, or during an "unexpected journey", which is described as "unexpected, absolutely necessary, and over a short distance". This excuse is unlikely to work for anyone with a rental car in the UK, as the authorities would expect you had driven a child on several occassions while visiting the country in your rental car without any child seats.The appropriate seat for your child depends on their ages as well as weight; see the diagram below for appropriate child seat guidelines.
Generic Driving Laws and Guidelines for the UK
In order to rent a car in the UK, the potential driver must be at least 21 years old, and may be required to pay a "young driver surcharge" if they are under 25 at the time of rental. Check out our section regarding driving age in the UK for more information.
Turning on a red light is forbidden in the United Kingdom. Whereas you may be able to make a "right on red" in the USA or Canada, you may only make a "left on red" in the United Kingdom when there is a specific arrow designating that you may. Passing in the left lane (slow lane) is forbidden in the UK except when the right lane is traveling slower than the left. If you do pass on the left lane, return to the right as soon as possible. Talking on the phone while driving is illegal in the United Kingdom and can net you a minimum £100 fine. Insurance for your British rental car is required by law and can be attained through your credit card company, purchased locally upon arrival, or can be purchased in addition to your car rental when you book over the phone or online with Auto Europe.Any car rental insurance documentation, rental paperwork, and other relevant information must be kept in your vehicle at all times. Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other mind-altering substances, including prescription medications, is stricly prohibited and met with zero tolerance in the United Kingdom. In the UK, a legal blood-alochol concentration must be below 0.08% (compared to 0.10% in the USA), which can easily be exceeded with even a single drink. The way alcohol affects your body depends on a variety of factors, including your weight, age, metabolism, the amount and type of alcohol you've been drinking, how much you have eaten recently, and your level of stress. Better to be safe than sorry, and pay a little extra for a taxi ride or private chauffeur home than spend time in a British prison and pay thousands in fines. If you are in any sort of collision or accident with your rental vehicle (whether it is your fault or not), immediatly call the police and file an accident report. If you neglected to do so, your rental car supplier will likely hold you fully responsible for the damage as you did not provide any evidence suggesting the collision/accident was not your fault. It is also advised you contact Auto Europe immediately after filing a report, so an agent can provide you with any information or assistance you may need. Driving laws in the United Kingdom are dictated by the Highway Code, a set of mandatory rules and regulations, guides, recommendations, and other information for anyone who may be driving in the United Kingdom. The Highway Code applies to drivers, cyclists, commercial vehicle drivers, pedestrians, and even animals, so it's applicable to anyone (or anything) that may be on the road. One can access a comprehensive, digital copy of the Highway Code here.
In order to acquire a driver's license in the UK, potential motorists must prove they are competent in driving theory and practical driving with hours of classroom and driving training. Thus, a typical British driver has considerably more experience behind the wheel when they first begin to drive, and can be trusted to drive safely and confidentally.
Driving in the United Kingdom is a New Experience
Driving in an unfamiliar setting can be stressful and scary at first. Between driving on the other side of the road, learning new road rules and signage, and attempting to navigate congested city centers, folks new to driving in the United Kingdom will likely want to review as many resources as possible before departing. Auto Europe advises you review our comprehensive UK travel guide, and specifically our tips for driving in the United Kingdom to be as prepared as possible before you embark for your British vacation!