Us Citizens driving in the UK. Questions?

tcufrog

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
This summer my husband and our two kids are going to England and Scotland for a month. We will be renting a car for part of our trip and my husband will be doing all of the driving. I have some questions about it.
1. Which rental car agency do y'all recommend?
2. Does my husband need to get an international driver's license? I've seen differing advice online.
3. My younger son is 7 and rides in a backless booster at home (Texas). What are the rules where we're travelling regarding carseats? When travelling here and renting a car we use in inflatable booster called a Bubble Bum but I don't know if that will be enough in the UK.
4. Which driving navigation app do you recommend? We use Google Maps or Waze here but I was wondering if those are the best choice for this trip.
5. Is there anything else we need to know?

Thanks for your help. We can't wait till our trip.:jumping1:
 

Woodview

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Try Rentalcars.com Or Holidayautos.com ( Fuel ..... Full to Full ..... Unlimited Miles ..... QUOTE in $ )

A Pre Paid Voucher is given .

..........

A Good Paper Map from AAA is best ....... You will know which Towns are 20 + miles away .

Buy a TOM TOM with life time updates ( World Wide ) or A Garmin .
 

JaxDad

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
This summer my husband and our two kids are going to England and Scotland for a month. We will be renting a car for part of our trip and my husband will be doing all of the driving. I have some questions about it.
1. Which rental car agency do y'all recommend?
2. Does my husband need to get an international driver's license? I've seen differing advice online.
3. My younger son is 7 and rides in a backless booster at home (Texas). What are the rules where we're travelling regarding carseats? When travelling here and renting a car we use in inflatable booster called a Bubble Bum but I don't know if that will be enough in the UK.
4. Which driving navigation app do you recommend? We use Google Maps or Waze here but I was wondering if those are the best choice for this trip.
5. Is there anything else we need to know?

Thanks for your help. We can't wait till our trip.:jumping1:
Stay to the left...
:D
 
  • Woodview

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2013
    The price of " Gas " = " Petrol " is Per Liter NOT GALLONS

    & WATCH out for Correct HOSE for Refuelling ........... DIESEL is common
     

    A Small World

    <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/509
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2007
    To answer your question on car seats

    The laws on car seats changed last year. This is the most up to date information - Im sure the inflatable seats are not allowed in UK

    https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules

    Its worth asking about car seats if you are hiring a vehicle as the rental agency may well provide the seats with the car
     

    Smittolis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2017
    couple of tips I find useful when my parents come to the US and vice versa...

    1. Diesel in Europe is usually the black hose / pump handle. Green is often used for unleaded, where as Green here in the US is usually Diesel. My dad's made that mistake more than once haha
    2. If you are ever confused, just remember that the driver is always supposed to be closet to the middle of the road, so if you are ever confused coming out of a junction or traffic signal, just align your position with the center of the road and you will get on track.
    3. You cannot, I repeat, you cannot turn on a red light. Took a while for me to learn that the other way round when I first came here lol
    4. Google maps is fine, if you are using your smart phone and roaming / international data then just use that. Failing that, you can always get your phone unlocked before you go by calling your provider, and then when there pop in a local pay as you go sim card and then choose a plan with data. That way you only spend what you have on it and don't come home to a $3000 roaming bill!
    5. Just remember that a US Gallon is different to a UK Gallon, 'gas' aka petrol prices, are in litres not gallons, so cost that in to your fill ups. Gas is wayyy more expensive, but your car will be getting 30-40mpg so it averages out, especially if you are used to 10-12 mpg's in a pick up or SUV.
    6. If you don't want to use your phone, rent a gps or take one with you and download the relevant maps for it via your computer. makes life easy.
    7. Car seats? I would go for the mi-fold, recommended and tested / vetted for European standards so will be more than good enough for your children. You can buy these at Target now so the kids can check them out.
    8. Review the 'highway code', something you can view online, it will give some good insight into the law differences that tend to get people in trouble.... When to yield, when to go, how to navigate the dreaded roundabout, as well as various rules regarding the police's ability to pull you over etc... All good info to have.
    9. review the rules and regulations about using 'cell phones' while driving, a lot more stringent than most states here...

    But most of all, don't sweat it, enjoy it and embrace the challenge!
     

    Kate_45

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2017
    Great tips from the poster above.

    2) Here is a tool to work out whether you can drive on your licence in the uk https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence
    3) Here are the laws regarding car seats. https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules

    High backed booster seats are far safer and only that type of booster seat will be approved to be manufactured now. However if you have purchased a backless booster seat prior to the law change it is still legal. So you can use your bubble bum legally in the uk. I keep a couple under the seats in my car for surprise trips taking kids friend the short ride home from school for example. I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with them for a month on winding narrow roads and roundabouts going the opposite way to that I'm used to, along with kids falling asleep in the back due to jet lag. You can buy a high backed booster seat for £30 from kiddicare which might be worth considering. The rental car may be smaller than your own car which will also affect how you feel. I would bring the bubble bum for the initial journey to avoid stress and then invest in one as a holiday purchase but legally you can use the booster.

    4) I use googlemaps. But as the previous poster mentioned it uses data.
    5) Have fun! Scotland is great to drive in, you will see some beautiful scenery
     
  • BLAZEY

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 29, 2006
    Great tips from the poster above.

    2) Here is a tool to work out whether you can drive on your licence in the uk https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence
    3) Here are the laws regarding car seats. https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules

    High backed booster seats are far safer and only that type of booster seat will be approved to be manufactured now. However if you have purchased a backless booster seat prior to the law change it is still legal. So you can use your bubble bum legally in the uk. I keep a couple under the seats in my car for surprise trips taking kids friend the short ride home from school for example. I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with them for a month on winding narrow roads and roundabouts going the opposite way to that I'm used to, along with kids falling asleep in the back due to jet lag. You can buy a high backed booster seat for £30 from kiddicare which might be worth considering. The rental car may be smaller than your own car which will also affect how you feel. I would bring the bubble bum for the initial journey to avoid stress and then invest in one as a holiday purchase but legally you can use the booster.
    This isn't exactly true. Backless boosters are still legal and are still manufactured and sold in the UK. Just the rules on WHO can use them has changed. They are for children OVER 125cm and OVER 22kg. Many children will outgrow a high back booster in HEIGHT before they are legal to go without with the new age 12 or 135cm. Backless boosters are fine for a child that are meet the new current legislation, which by age 7 most kids are over 125cm (49") and 22kg (48.5lbs). My daughter is age 9, 132cm and 29kgs. She has outgrown her highback booster as her shoulder is above the highest setting. She is who backless boosters are made for. The new laws are intended to keep the children ages 3/4 out of the backless boosters.
     
    Last edited:

    lovesmurfs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2006
    We're planning a trip to southern England in late June. Check out TripAdvisor forums and car rental reviews -- be sure NOT to book Green Motion for the rental -- there's apparently a lot of upselling (not recognizing insurance paid for damage) and what seems to be illegal stuff ("supposed" damage charges) with that company. We're renting with Avis.

    We did a self-drive tour of Scotland in the fall of 2017. We benefited a lot by watching YouTube videos of driving. It was an immense help to teach us about "roundabouts" - they're traffic circles everywhere that are used instead of stop signs or traffic lights.
     

    Embraer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 27, 2006
    Our motorways have lane discipline. Inside (left most) is for slow traffic including trucks, the middle lane is for fast traffic and the outside lane is for overtaking. The national speed limit is 70mph on motorways but anything under 85 shouldn’t lead to any action by Her Majesty’s Finest
     
  • alanandline

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2019
    Sorry but last post has 2 major things wrong with it.

    1: Lame discipline - yes the left lane is for the slowest moving car but both other lanes in a 3 lane motorway are for overtaking. So if you are driving at 65mph and car in front 60mph you go into middle lane to overtake, it if another car is their at say 62 you’d go to lane 3, it once you’ve overtaken and it’s clear in lane to your left you move back left. Whilst what Embraer said is often what happens it is not the law.

    2: The highest speed LIMIT is 70mph. Whilst one person will say ok at 80 and others 85 you would be breaking the law and could be prosecuted.
     

    Embraer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 27, 2006
    I was at 80 as well. I was reflecting real world rather than traffic law with regards motorway discipline btw
     

    lovesmurfs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2006
    Sorry about the Zombie Thread. I'm planning our trip to England later this month and was trolling the UK Community Board. Read "July" but didn't realize it was a year ago!!!

     

    AurumPunzel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 20, 2018
    Sorry about the Zombie Thread. I'm planning our trip to England later this month and was trolling the UK Community Board. Read "July" but didn't realize it was a year ago!!!

    It’s all good. :-)
    Still good to add things that are missing in this thread.

    Another thing to note when driving on our motorways is the increasing trend of 'smart motorways' that are spreading across the country. These use a system known as Active Traffic Management (ATM) and information such as speed limits, active lanes and advance warnings of conditions and accidents are indicated on the overhead gantries. Because the 'hard shoulder' (the emergency lane) can be activated as an additional running lane whenever there is congestion, there are emergency refuge areas (indicated by a sign that shows a layby with an orange legend and 'SOS' on it) that can be used in the event of an emergency, such as a breakdown.

    However, as the speed limit varies, and due to the fact that smart motorways have enforcement cameras fitted on the gantries, they are legally enforceable, so you must always pay attention to the displayed speed limit (indicated as number with a red ring going around it). When the restrictions end, the white circle with a black sash will appear on the signs above the lanes, meaning that the speed limit defaults back to the national speed limit (70mph).

    A red X above the lane means that you must NOT drive in the lane. Usually, in advance of the red X, an arrow sign pointing to the adjacent running lane would appear, meaning that you must move into that lane immediately. Recently, a change in the law means that the red X is now being enforced, with a £100 fine +3 penalty points (endorsements) on your licence if you violate the red X.

    One more thing to note when driving on motorways or dual carriageways (especially in Scotland, and particularly on the A9 going through Perthshire) is that you'll occasionally come across what are known as Average Speed Check cameras, which are also known as SPECS, and often nicknamed 'yellow vultures' due to their appearance. These are usually temporary, and often found in road construction zones, but sometimes, particularly on the A9 in Perthshire, they can also be permanent. These calculate the average speed between two cameras, and the purpose is to prevent drivers who would slow down for the cameras and then subsequently speed up after passing them from doing just that. The rule of thumb is to ensure that your speedometer doesn't exceed the speed limit signposted before exiting the zone, as there'll be frequent cameras checking the time it takes to pass each camera, and they even work when you change lanes, and because they have infrared technology built in, they can also function in darkness.
     



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