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The Only Rules You Need to Know for Driving a Car in the United Kingdom and Europe

Over on our busy message boards, the Forums, an interesting conversation has popped up in which Frommer's readers are compiling a list of all the rules a foreign driver would possibly need to know before they get behind a wheel in the United Kingdom. 

Is there right on red? Can I use a mobile phone while I drive? Will my rental car be an automatic?

So far, the list , which was started by GarryRF, a reader based in Britain, is more concise and easy-to-grasp than anything we've seen published in a guidebook:

"The UK and Ireland plus many others countries around the World drive on the left.

90% of Cars in the UK and Europe are stick shift.

Make sure you pre order an Auto Rental if that's what you're used to.

Maximum speed in the UK is 70mph.

All roads have signs to inform you of their limit.

If you see a warning sign "Speed Camera Ahead", drop just below the limit.

Exceed the limit and you will get photographed and fined.

Doing 35mph in a 30mph limit will get you fined.

Same as much of Europe.

At the Traffic Lights (Signals) you must STOP on Red,

(Unlike the US where you can take a right turn if its clear)

So NO left turns.

You MUST wear a seat belt.

The Driver MUST NOT use a cell / mobile phone.

We have no 4 way STOP junctions. We use Roundabouts.

[They are a] mirror image of the US ones.

You must "Give Way" (Yield) to traffic already on the roundabout.

If you're approaching a Pedestrian Zebra Crossing (B + W Stripes) and someone has a foot on the crossing you have to stop.

So it's best to stop if someone's waiting at the kerb.

An accident would always be the drivers fault. Think insurance claim. !

Toll Roads are rare. Expensive Bridges and Tunnels will charge you.

Avoid driving in big Cities like London. Many Train Stations outside big Cities have a Park and Ride scheme.

Sat Nav [a GPS system] is a great help to avoid getting lost - which is very easy to do !

Always stop and ask if you cant find somewhere - like the US. someone will be pleased to help !"


The list started out being about the British Isles, but many tips that pertain to Europe have made their way to the compilation.

Have more rules to add to this growing list? Zip over to our Forum (click here to go to the thread) and add your own entries. By the time it's finished, it'll be the most complete guide to driving in Europe on vacation that you're ever likely to find.


(Photo credit: Rob Enslin/Flickr)