Guest post by Greg Perry
Big cities like London can pose a challenge even for experienced drivers. If you’ve just passed your test, you’ll be at even more of a disadvantage. London has been around in one form or another for centuries, and the road system is a little bit like organised chaos, with side-streets branching in every direction.
London is busy too; the road system is overburdened, and everyone is in a hurry. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can follow to make your trip that little bit less stressful. Let’s take a look at them!
Take a Smaller Car
The bigger and more cumbersome your car, the more difficulty you’ll have getting from one place to another. Parking, in particular, might prove to be nightmarish. If you plan on becoming a permanent resident in the capital, then you might consider picking up a smaller car to make your life easier on the roads.
Plan your Route
If you’ve never been to London before, then planning out your journey in advance is critical. Make sure that you know the route and it is always useful to have the assistance of a navigation app in your car or on your phone. Bear in mind that London is home to a wide variety of congestion zones, low-emission zones, roadworks and bus lanes to navigate – so you should be prepared to adapt to the situation in front of you.
Avoid in-car Distraction
Distractions should be limited when you are driving outside of London, but even more so if you are in the capital. If you’re distracted while driving, then you’re more likely to be involved in an incident – whether it’s your fault or not. For this reason, it’s a good idea to tell your fellow passengers to be quiet, to turn down the music you’re listening to, and to avoid taking phone calls – even if you’re on hands-free. Cyclists are easy to miss, so pay particular attention to them.
Take your Time
Rushing through junctions is an easy way to get yourself involved in a collision. The faster you’re going, the less time you have to react to one of London’s many hazards. This is especially true if you’re new to the experience of driving in the capital. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, or that your fellow motorists are losing patience with you, but take a deep breath and take your time.
Avoid Driving in Rush Hour
Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to avoid the busiest times of day, in the morning and evening rush hours. If you’re planning on living and working in London then there are many more effective ways to travel in the city, and ways that are better for the environment.
If you’re heading into the capital during a national holiday, like the Easter weekend, then you’re likely to see an increased volume of traffic as people come and go on their way to and from seeing family and friends. Unless you’re comfortable with driving in London, it’s a better idea to visit when things are a little quieter.