• Home
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Find a personal travel manager
  • Travel Guides
    Essential Road Rules for the UK, Europe and America

    Essential Road Rules for the UK, Europe and America

    Share Share Comments comments

    Whether it’s for business or leisure, driving is one of the easiest ways to get around when overseas. While hiring a car in new country is convenient, it does come with a prerequisite – getting across the local road rules. It’s best to start your research early so you feel completely at ease when you pick up the hire car keys.

    The UK, Europe and America are all easily explored by car, but their road rules can differ significantly. If you’re planning a trip abroad soon, a personal travel manager can help you with everything from arranging car hire and researching the best accommodation on route, to ensuring you have the required documents and local road rules before you arrive.

    As an introduction to the differing road rules and to make your next trip abroad a little easier, here are some essential road rules to consider when hiring a car in the UK, Europe and America. Safe and happy driving!

    The UK

    For Australians, driving in the UK isn’t as daunting as they also drive on the left! This can make things a little easier when it comes to navigating your way around, however, the road rules can be very different, so it is important to familiarise yourself with the UK Highway Code.

    Some important rules to note:

    • The minimum driving age in the UK is 17
    • By UK law, seat belts must be worn at all times (common sense, we know!)
    • The speed limit is 30 mph (48 km/h) in towns and cities, 60 mph (96 km/h) on single-lane carriageways, and 70 mph (112 km/h) on dual-lane carriageways and motorways
    • The UK has lots of roundabouts. Vehicles already on the roundabout (coming from your right) have priority over those entering it
    • Do not drive, or park, in lanes reserved for buses and taxis
    • The sequence of traffic lights is red, red and amber, green, amber and back to red. Red and amber is a warning to get ready to go, but you mustn’t start moving until the light changes to green
    • At many traffic lights, cameras are installed to detect motorists driving through red lights, so ensure that you obey the rules!


    Road rules in each European Union (EU) country may differ slightly, so make sure you consider this if you’re travelling across borders. For example, in Switzerland you must drive with your headlights on all day, and in France it is mandatory to carry a self-test breathalyser while driving.

    To ensure you’re well aware of specific rules when planning your trip, why not ask your Personal Travel Manager to advise you on the road rules of your specific destination. Here are some important road rules to consider:

    • In Europe, they drive on the right hand side of the road
    • Driving and talking on the phone is a no-no; most European countries have banned talking on mobile phones while driving without a hands-free device
    • Several European countries have banned the use of speed camera detection on GPS navigation devices, including France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia
    • Want to know more? Try downloading the European Commission’s European road safety app, which is full of helpful tips


    America is the land of the great road trip, and its vast landscape makes it an ideal country to explore by car. Bear in mind that road rules can vary from city to city and state to state. For example, each state has rules and regulations regarding the towing of trailers or another vehicle.

    Be sure to ask your Personal Travel Manager about road rules in your specific destination(s). Important road rules are:

    • As with Europe, Americans drive on the right hand side of the road
    • Use of a horn is prohibited in some cities and should be used sparingly
    • There is no automatic priority to the right (or left) on any road
    • Generally, a turning vehicle must give way to one going straight ahead
    • Yellow centre lines mark the separation of traffic lanes moving in opposite directions
    • At roundabouts (traffic circles or rotaries), vehicles already on the roundabout (coming from the left) have priority
    • You must use dipped headlights after dark in all states


    Talk to your local, personal travel manager before you travel to make sure you have your transport organised  http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/ptm-search/

    Do you have any tips for driving in a new country that you’d like to share? Leave us a comment!


    Filter by category: ALL
    Filter by date:
    Choose a sub-category: