London driving tips 0

london-driving-tipsFor some, the idea of driving in the capital is one they would consider similar to walking over hot coals, or listening to someone scraping their fingers down a blackboard repeatedly. But with a degree of preparation the whole experience doesn’t have to be so unremittingly awful. Yes, there are nearly nine million people trying to coexist in a relatively small area, but if you have some semblance of what to expect, then getting from A to B needn’t be such a nightmare. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the crowded streets of the Big Smoke.

  1. Do your homework. Nowadays, you only have to go online for a few minutes to access any amount of journey planners, mapping out most cities of the world. This has made all forms of transport a great deal easier. Services such as Google Maps and Waze will allow you to plot the most suitable route across the city, taking into account permutations such as congestion, road works, and one way systems. This eliminates the blind panic of reaching a four pronged junction and not knowing which way to go. Also, if you’ve got a GPS, use it!
  2. Be prepared to pay. London is served by a congestion charging zone, so before travelling into the city, find out where the boundaries lie, and if you’re eligible for the charge or not. The charge is only payable at certain times of the day, so if possible try and make your journey after 6pm on weekdays and before 7am. It’s free to travel through the centre at weekends. Alternatively, if you drive a car with ultra low emissions, you’ll be able to drive in central London happily exempt from the congestion charge!
  3. Be alert. This might sound obvious, but driving in a bustling city like London requires you to be ‘on the ball’ at all times. Having a good awareness of what’s going on around you is paramount. Cyclists can appear from nowhere, buses can pull out without warning, and black cabs can stop suddenly in front of you. Keep your wits about you!
  4. If the thought of driving in London is something that fills you with fear, get rid of anything that could distract you whilst driving. Keep the radio off and put your phone on silent. London is often portrayed as a big, bad city but it doesn’t have to be like that. Keep to these steps and you’ll be glad you’re not rammed in on the tube.

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