The Main Differences between Driving in the U.S. and the UK
If you are thinking about taking driving lessons in the UK, then it’s important to be aware of the main differences between driving in the UK and the U.S. If you have recently moved to the UK, then there are several reasons why you may want to take driving lessons here.
Perhaps you haven’t gotten your full U.S. driving license yet and are therefore unable to drive in the UK without first passing your test. Or, perhaps you would simply like a little more practice when it comes to driving on UK roads before you head off behind the wheel on your own. Whatever your personal reasons are, we’ve listed some of the main differences that you should be aware of as a driver.
#1. Road Layout and Driver’s Seat
One of the biggest differences that you’ll notice straight away when you come to drive in the UK is that the driver’s seat is at the opposite side of the car. In the UK, drivers stick to the left side of the road, with the driver’s seat on the right-hand side of the car, which can take a little bit of getting used to as it is the opposite way around from driving in the U.S. However, it’s not as daunting as it may seem at first, since the position of the pedals and ignition is exactly the same. Yes, you’ll still use your right foot to press the gas and brakes. The only thing that’s different is that you’ll be using your left hand, rather than your right, for using the gear stick and handbrake.
#2. Manual Cars
Unlike in the U.S. where most cars are automatic, meaning that the car puts itself into the correct gear with no action needed from the driver, most cars driven in the UK are manual. For many drivers who are used to driving on U.S. roads, switching to changing gears yourself rather than relying on the car to do it for you is the biggest obstacle to cross. Failing to put the car into a lower gear when you slow down, for example. This could result in the engine stalling, whilst driving at speed in a lower gear will burn up your fuel quickly. Luckily, simply listening to the type of noise the engine is making can help you determine when it’s time to change gears. The car will struggle to speed up if the gear is too low, and will make a jittering sound if the gear is too high.
#3. Driving Theory
If you are planning on taking your driving test in the UK, then you will first need to pass the theory test before you will be allowed to take your practical driving test. Top Tests is a free service where you can find several useful resources, including practice driving theory tests, to help you take in all the information you’ll need for passing the theory test at your first attempt. You will be questioned on several topics, including road signs and markings, what to do in the event of an accident or breakdown, and how to determine your car is running safely.
Do you prefer driving in the U.S. or the UK? Let us know in the comments.