UK Driving Rules for Foreigners Explained

UK Driving Rules for Foreigners Explained

Understanding the UK’s driving rules and regulations is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience on the road. In this article, we’ll explore the key driving rules and guidelines that foreigners need to know before driving in the UK.

Driving License Requirements:

If you’re visiting the UK from another country, you can drive using your valid foreign driving license for up to 12 months from your arrival date. However, if you become a UK resident, you’ll need to apply for a UK driving license.

Driving on the Left:

Unlike many countries where driving is on the right side of the road, vehicles in the UK drive on the left-hand side. This means that you should keep to the left when driving, overtake on the right, and approach roundabouts in a clockwise direction.

Speed Limits:

Speed limits in the UK are measured in miles per hour (mph). In built-up areas, the speed limit is usually 30 mph unless otherwise indicated. On single carriageways, it’s 60 mph, and on dual carriageways and motorways, it’s 70 mph. However, always be aware of speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly.

Seat Belts and Child Seats:

It’s a legal requirement for all passengers, including the driver, to wear seat belts when traveling in a vehicle in the UK. Additionally, children must use an appropriate child restraint until they reach either 135 cm in height or 12 years old, whichever comes first.

Drink Driving Laws:

The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in the UK is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath. However, it’s advisable to avoid any alcohol consumption before driving, as even small amounts can impair your ability to drive safely.

Using Mobile Phones:

It’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving in the UK. This includes making calls, texting, or using the device for any other purpose. If you need to use a phone while driving, pull over in a safe location first.


Roundabouts are a common feature of UK roads, and understanding how to navigate them is essential. Give way to traffic approaching from your right and indicate your intentions clearly when exiting the roundabout.

Parking Regulations:

Pay attention to parking regulations and signage when parking your vehicle in the UK. Always park within designated parking bays where possible and avoid parking in restricted areas or obstructing traffic flow.


Navigating the roads in the United Kingdom as a foreigner can be a rewarding experience, but it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the driving rules and regulations beforehand. By understanding key aspects such as driving on the left, speed limits, seat belt laws, and roundabout etiquette, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience during your time in the UK. Safe travels!

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