For many people, the idea of trying to navigate London by car is the ultimate nightmare: pedestrians wondering into the streets, car horns blaring and buses pulling out unexpectedly. But the reality is quite different, and while London can be scary to drive in, follow our top four tips and you’ll be navigating the city in confidence.
Do your homework
The amount of journey planners available online have made travelling in any part of the world, on whatever mode of transport, a lot easier to prepare for. Google maps can help you plan the best possible route for your drive across London, meaning you don’t need to freeze in fear every time you see a junction with four possible roads for you to follow. If you have a GPS, use it.
Get your wallet out!
Don’t panic, we’re not saying you have to pay to drive. But you should always be aware of whether you’re liable for the congestion charge or not. The congestion charge is a tax paid by vehicles travelling through central London at certain times of the day. If you can, try and drive through central London after 6pm on weekdays and before 7am. Weekends are free.
Alternatively, drive a car with ultra low emissions and you’ll be able to drive in central London whenever you want, without paying the congestion charge.
It sounds obvious, but driving in a busy city such as London means having your senses about you – you need to be aware of what’s going on around you at all times. You might have a cyclist coming up your outside, and a bus pulling out of a bus stop, all at the same time as a black cab stopping unexpectedly in front of you.
Scrap the distractions
Finally, if you’re unsure of where you’re going or are feeling nervous about driving in London, get rid of anything that’s a distraction. That means turning off the radio, and putting your phone on silent.
London is often portrayed as a big bad city to drive in – but it needn’t be like that. Follow these steps and you’ll be glad you’re not crammed in on the tube.