London is a sprawling cosmopolitan city, the capital of the UK, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world; therefore, sometimes, it can be a genuine nightmare to drive around the place.
However, it can really help you out if you know all the best handy tips and pointers on how to get around in London by car. We chose to come up with this article to driving tips for Londoners. Carry on reading to discover more.
Be Wary Of The Congestion Charge
Since the congestion charge scheme was first introduced by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone on 17th February 2003, driving around London has been a little trickier. The daily congestion charge is now £15 if you pay in advance or on the same day, or £17.50 if you pay by midnight on the third day after travel. If you fail to pay within this time, you will be issued a Penalty Charge Notice, and many individuals have let these fines go up and up and have lost lots of money by not paying them off early on.
Therefore, our advice is to make sure you know whether a destination in London is in the congestion zone before you set off in your car and drive there. Otherwise, you may get a shock when looking at your bank balance or receiving a Penalty Charge Notice. The purpose of the congestion charge isn’t to catch you out; it’s there to help reduce traffic levels in the centre of London and bring overall air pollution in the city down. You certainly don’t want the stress of having to pay off a hefty fine unexpectedly. Therefore, when driving around London in 2022, you need to do your homework, research your route, and try and avoid entering the congestion zone with your vehicle if you can.
Find Yourself An Affordable Car
Paying to purchase a new car outright or through financing means you have to contend with covering the high monthly payments, and you don’t want to plunge yourself into debt by buying a car that you can’t really afford. A sensible alternative is to lease a car, and this way, you only have to pay out every month to cover the car’s depreciation over the lease period. Also, Car lease deals often only last a couple of years max; therefore, you can enjoy getting a new replacement car every few years without much of a fuss.
If you’re passionate about doing your bit to look after the environment and protect the planet from harmful pollution, you may want to look into the option of leasing an electric car. There are various new models of electric cars released on the UK market year after year as car manufacturers are all doing their best to embrace sustainable solutions that will help look after our beautiful planet. Take a visit through this resource to find out more about electric cars and whether getting one is the right move for you as a driver in the London area.
Watch Out For Speed Cameras
Even in 2020, during the pandemic, when the roads were less busy as lockdowns were enforced and many people had to work from home across the country, 18.5 billion vehicle miles of traffic travelled across 9.2 thousand miles of roads in London. So, with the sheer quantity of traffic that passes through London on working days and weekends, you may not be surprised to hear that there are a pretty high number of road traffic incidents, with some of them resulting in fatalities or serious lifelong injuries.
Therefore, this helps you understand why there are so many speed cameras around in the capital. You must be careful that the cameras don’t catch you driving over the speed limit, or you will be issued a minimum fine of £100 and 3 points on your license.
Even if you’re going slightly over the limit and doing 22mph in a 20mph zone, you can still be fined accordingly. Speed limits are put there for a reason, and they are often placed along roads close to schools where children could easily come out the gates and accidentally wander in front of your moving car. Turn on the speed cameras alert setting on the filters for your web mapping app or GPS navigation system to warn you about speed cameras coming up ahead or in the immediate vicinity near where you’re currently driving.
Speed cameras have been put there to help save lives and stop people from dying young due to being hit by high-speed moving vehicles. There tends to be a deliberately high concentration of speed cameras in built-up urban areas.
Remember Where Your Destination Is Relative To The Thames
The River Thames is 215 miles long, and starts in Gloucestershire and ends in Kent/Essex. When navigating your way around London by car, it helps to know whether the destination you’re heading to is north or south of the Thames riverbank. At times, ginormous traffic jams can develop on the bridges connecting areas of London lying north and south of the river. So, before setting off in your car in London, we recommend checking where you’re going to is located relative to the River Thames.
When driving around London in summer, you can enjoy breathtaking majestic views of the glistening water on the River Thames from your motor vehicle. Just make sure you avoid the congestion charge or sitting in traffic for hours if you possibly can. The River Thames is a good reference point when travelling around London by car.
Display The Blue Badge If You/Someone In Your Car Have One
In the UK, if you or someone in your car has a permanent disability, not a temporary one like having broken your leg recently, you can apply for what’s known as a ‘blue badge’. Getting a blue badge for you or one of your passengers will mean you can park closer to your destination. Some on-street parking areas are specifically designated for blue badge holders. However, privately run car parks operate according to different rules. Anyone thinking about abusing a blue badge by using one when the car owner or a passenger doesn’t have a disability ought to think twice since misuse of the blue badge can incur a fine of up to £1,000 and lead to the badge being swiftly confiscated.
Remember to make sure the blue badge is clearly visible to any inspecting parking wardens on duty by placing it in an appropriate position on your windscreen window. Failing to display your blue badge is an easy way to be slapped with a hefty fine, so get it all sorted before leaving your car. London can be a tough place to park at times, with its 9 million population and endless tourists throughout the year. Have you or someone you know got a disability and would like to find a decent parking spot in London? In that case, we strongly suggest using your blue badge as much as possible. You do not need to have a disability or a blue badge to park in a space you have been designated as part of a ‘residential permit’ for being a resident living in an area of London.
Although driving in London may seem like a minefield at times, especially for newcomers who haven’t lived in the capital before, there are certainly ways to make your life easier. These driving tips aim to make things go more smoothly for Londoners intent on getting around the city by car.