United Kingdom

Foreign Driver Rating: !! not too bad but they drive on the wrong side

If it’s your first time driving on the wrong side, the UK is a good place to try it (although Australia is probably even easier). The maintenance condition of the roads is generally excellent, hazards are well-signed, and drivers are ridiculously polite. Indeed when you make a signal to change lanes people will often go to alarming lengths to allow you to get where you wish to go.

The main challenges arise from the pre-car roads – probably more, as a proportion of total roads, than in any other European country. The English love to keep things as they are, which is charming but one often longs for a proper highway with decent visibility.

The motorways are much better: on UK expressways, which are usually in lovely condition, everyone goes about 80mph although technically the speed limit is 70mph. Speed traps on expressways are rare.

In town people generally follow the speed limits scrupulously even when they are very low (20mph is common). Perhaps it is politeness. It might also have something to do with the traffic cameras (usually in large yellow boxes) that automatically ticket you if you speed.

Note that there is a camera-based congestion charge system in London, so if you drive into London you must pay in advance (or at least on the day) online.

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Parking in Wales. The UK’s drivers are perhaps the world’s most courteous, usually. Photo by the author.