Driving in London: Essential Safety Tips for Motorists

Every Londoner knows that driving in the city throws an array of unique challenges. From navigating multiple lanes on congested streets to understanding very local road laws, there’s a lot to get your head around. Sometimes, though, we all need to give the Tube a miss. 

We’ve outlined some of the most critical safety tips to ensure a smooth driving experience in the capital. It’s a different ball game to country lane cruising, so there are a few things to know before you hit the road in London.

Our top 5 tips for driving in London

Get to know London’s traffic laws

The most prominent London traffic regulation to know about might be the new Ultra Low Emission Zone, operating across all London boroughs. Introduced as an incentive introduced to help clear London’s air, it operates 24/7 every day of the year except Christmas Day.

ULEZ only applies to certain vehicles, so it’s worth taking the time to check if your vehicle is compliant before driving in the city. If your vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions standards, you will need to pay £12.50 daily to drive within ULEZ.

Avoid congestion charges

To combat pollution in busy areas, local authorities in London may also charge a fee for driving through particular streets during peak times. Effectively, depending on your route, you might need to pay simply to drive in London.

The Congestion Charge is a £15 daily fee incurred on certain vehicles from 07:00-18:00 Monday to Friday. The boundary surrounds the City of London borough, from Hyde Park Corner on the western edge to Tower Bridge on the opposite side of the perimeter. 

Drive defensively 

Defensive driving techniques make all the difference when it comes to staying safe on London’s roads. If you’re new to city driving or you’ve moved t from a quieter area, changing your driving style could help you to stay confident, cool and collected behind the wheel.

To learn how to drive defensively, it could be worth taking a supplementary course. However, the basics involve effectively managing the space around your vehicle and managing your speed. To help expect the unexpected, it’s worth obtaining a comprehensive car insurance policy

When you know how to protect the space your vehicle takes up, you can improve your communication with other drivers. Staying alert is a huge part of this, so make sure you’re taking regular breaks on long city drives.

Know where to park

Don’t make the mistake of driving into London without knowing where you’re going to park. Loitering or spending too much time looking for a space could not only extend your journey considerably, but also means you’ll risk entering a charged congestion zone by accident.

Do your research before you set off. If you’re not already confident that you have safe and secure parking at your destination, it’s worth making a quick internet search for car parks run by local authorities and private companies too.

Charge your EV prudently

Finally, if you drive an electric vehicle, it’s crucial to ensure that you’ve charged up your battery before you head into the city. While there’s no shortage of charging points in and around London, you could be charged more than you’d like to pay to simply top up.

It’s easy to find charging points from your phone if you happen to be running low. Take a look at mobile apps like Zapmap, developed exclusively with EV drivers in mind. 

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