If you’re living in London and simply have to take to the roads, then you will need to ensure that your driver’s license and other paperwork is up to date and in line with the legal requirements of driving in the United Kingdom. You really do not need a car when you are living here. The public transport is excellent and you’ll be able to get from your flat to anywhere in the city using the ‘tube’ and buses. It is very expensive, not to mention frustrating to operate a car in London, but if you do want to get out of the city for a mini-break and see some of the London countryside then renting a car is great idea.
Getting a Drivers License While Living in London
If you are moving here from another country, you will want to get you IDP (International driver’s permit) as soon as possible. There are several schemes operated by the driver’s organizations in your country of origin that will allow you to convert your driver’s license to an IDP before you leave home. The IDP is only valid for a year and you will have to convert it to an English license if you are going to be living in London for a substantial amount of time. If you don’t convert your license during the year, you’ll have to take your driver’s license test again!
Taking a driver’s license test while you are living here can be slightly more difficult than at home. You’ll have to get provisional license first and then apply for your test. Nearly all cars in the United Kingdom operate on a manual gear system (stick shift), so you’ll have to learn how to drive one with some success to pass your test. Remember that you are only allowed to take your driver’s license test when you are 18 years old, which is slightly higher than many other countries in the world. You can only apply to drive heavy vehicles, like vans and trucks when you are 21.
If you are going to rent a car while you are living here, go for a hybrid or an electric car. The road tax charges for electric cars is much less than other types of cars, you’ll be saving a huge amount of money avoiding the congestion charge.