Driving in the UK

From picturesque country lanes, to town and cityscapes connected by accessible motorways, Kent has an excellent road network allowing you to get from one place to another with safety and ease. Travelling in Kent by car is a fantastic way of discovering what the county has to offer, and gives you the flexibility to travel when you want.

If you are planning to bring your vehicle to Kent and drive, here are a few important and helpful rules and regulations to ensure your journey is as hassle-free and comfortable as possible.

Please remember that in the UK, we drive on the LEFT and special care must be taken when joining roundabouts. Enter the roundabout on the left make sure you give way to traffic on your right on a roundabout.

Driving License

It is not illegal to drive in the UK without a driving license. If you intend to drive in the UK you will need one of the following:

  • A full valid driving license issued in a European Community/European Economic Area
  • A valid, full national license
  • An International Driving Permit (issued abroad

If you are bringing your own car across to the UK, it is essential that you have sufficiently insured the car and that the vehicle is road-worthy. To find out more about bringing your car into the UK, visit the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Legal Requirements

Here are a few of the legal requirements when driving in the UK:

  • All drivers and passengers must wear a seat belt
  • The use of mobile phones and similar devices is prohibited when the vehicle's engine is running, even when stationery
  • It is compulsory for children to use car seats or restraints
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is taken very seriously and there can be heavy penalties for those found to be above the legal blood/alcohol limit
  • Motorcyclists must wear a helmet
  • For a full list of legal requirements please visit the Department for Transport.

Speed Limits

Different speed limits apply depending on the type of road and the vehicle you're driving. You must not exceed the maximum speed limit set for the road and your vehicle, or you could face police prosecution;

Cars and motorcycles

Built-up areas - 30 mph (48 km/h)
Single Carriageway - 60 mph (96 km/h)
Dual Carriageway and Motorways - 70 mph (112 km/h)

Cars towing caravans or trailers

Built-up areas - 30 mph (48 km/h)
Single Carriageway - 50 mph (81 km/h)
Dual Carriageway and Motorways - 60 mph (96 km/h)

For an easy and practical guide for tourists driving in the UK, available in several languages see Kent Road Safety.