How to make the best of your Summer Road Trip in the UK
If spring is in the air, can a road trip be far behind? Warmer weather and clear skies bring out the adventure lover in all of us, and a road trip is one of the best ways to enjoy the best the season has to offer. If you’ve picked UK as the destination of your choice, you’d look forward to rolling hills, the picturesque English countryside, historical sites and quaint towns – there’s something for everyone. With so much to do and see, it’s always better to keep yourself informed of driving and planning tips so you can focus on enjoying your holiday.
Tips for Driving in the UK
Avoid driving around central London: Especially if this is your first visit to the UK, the British capital is most likely to be on your itinerary. It might be wise to explore this historic city on foot or with the help of the excellent public transport network because if you drive through here, even for a few minutes, you will get hit with a hefty extra fee that is charged automatically to your car rental provider (and passed onto you). Not to forget, finding parking in central London is neither cheap nor easy.
Start with the end in mind: As impulsive as you may want to be in letting your trip unfold spontaneously, it is more economical to pick-up and drop-off a rental car from the same destination rather than paying for a steep one-way fee, so it is worth planning accordingly.
Remember it’s a combination of imperial and metric systems on the road: It’s strange but it’s true. While the road speed limits and distances on signage in the UK follow the imperial system and are indicated in miles, fuel purchase is measured in litres (metric). For non-UK natives, it might also be a task to remember that the country drives on the left side of the road, but it’s only a question of getting used to a new normal.
Park in the correct spots: Parking rules are usually strictly enforced so remember that while parking areas on streets are usually clearly marked with white lines, there are demarcated areas that you should avoid. A single yellow continuous line along a footpath usually means there are parking restrictions at certain times of the day whereas a double yellow continuous line means no parking any time. If there are no lines at all, it doesn’t mean parking is acceptable either, so look to what other local drivers are doing and follow suit.
Tyre maintenance: Good tyres contribute to performance, comfort and safety, so the most important thing to do before setting off on an ambitious UK road trip is to check their condition. Incorrect air pressure leads to premature wear and tear so remember to check tyre pressure every 1000 miles. Depending on the length of your trip, that could be 2 – 3 times. Also keep in mind that it pays to periodically rotate tyres between different locations and from right and left on your car to help them last longer.
This article on tyre maintenance in the summer can get you started.
Replacement: Before you set off, do a 20p test to check if they need to be replaced. All you have to do is place a 20 pence coin into the main tread of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is covered when inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit and it’s time for new tyres.
Wheel balancing: Poor wheel alignment doesn’t make for a comfortable ride. What’s more, with misaligned wheels, one set of tyres will tend to wear down faster than others and it will mean that the whole tyre will need to be replaced. You don’t want to do that to your best car tyres. Take the time to have the wheel balance checked professionally and you’ll gift yourself a smooth ride.
There’s nothing quite like discovering a country by its highways and alleyways, and when you’re fully prepared you’re sure to fall in love with this part of the world.