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Driving in and around London...

24 replies

lollypoppins83 · 31/08/2017 22:14

I've not long passed my test and live in London so I am confident driving anywhere in or out of London, I know some people don't like driving into London because there's often a lot of traffic. But do any of you choose to avoid driving in London at all?
I've come to learn that some people are only willing to drive in and around the town they live in and not beyond - isn't that rather a waste of having a car and a licence?
I can't see why you wouldn't want to drive everywhere!?

OP posts:
BrawneLamia · 31/08/2017 22:24

It's not just that there's a lot of traffic - the rules of London driving are different ime. For example, people nudge their way out of junctions and it seems like the onus is on the other person to avoid colliding into them. If you aren't used to it then it can be quite disconcerting.

On the other hand, some londoners I know are more nervous about driving along unlit country lanes at night.

LaurieFairyCake · 31/08/2017 22:41

You have to drive very 'positively' in London, really hard to get the line between 'fuck me that's a box junction' don't want to get stuck there and 'some fucker just overtook me and nicked my space in the box junction'.

Anyone driving through Lewisham will understand.

elephantoverthehill · 31/08/2017 22:49

I learnt to ride a motorbike in London. When I passed my test my regular route was from home down the M4 and round the South circular. I will drive around Bristol confidently, but as I now live on an island, and have done for 20 years, motorways make me worried. The other thing about driving in London if you don't know it anymore, are the congestion charges and where to park. So it makes much more sense to use public transport

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 31/08/2017 22:51

There are definitely London Rules Grin

Crabbo · 31/08/2017 22:54

I passed my test in London too but I don't drive here - I'm not from here so I feel like I never know where I'm going and everyone is so aggressive I can't build up the confidence. I'll drive all the way to my parents in Devon but only if I don't have to do the London bit first.

Windbeneathmybingowings · 31/08/2017 22:56

I drive in to central London a lot because i actually find it quite easy - but like you say, having lived in London my whole life I suppose my definition of busy is somewhat skewed! I'll happily drive to Oxford Circus, Camden, Islington etc for nights out and be the designated driver!

I've never driven over a central London Bridge though. I might find that daunting perhaps. I've only driven to south London via the dartford crossing.

As already said, I struggle in the country side at night and I am told by family members that I am fairly pushy am impatient at junctions. Blush

TheBadgersMadeMeDoIt · 31/08/2017 22:56

I am happy to drive virtually anywhere - home town, any other town, country roads at night, unfamiliar motorways...except London. Like a pp said, the rules I am familiar with don't seem to apply there. Also, I don't know London well enough to confidently avoid the congestion charge. If I lived there I'm sure it would be different, but for now I'm happy to get public transport in and out of London and drive everywhere else.

Except maybe through the centre of Birmingham. And the Coventry ring road, which is like a tarmac wall of death.

Winebomb · 31/08/2017 22:58

I am a pretty confident driver, and drive to London from the north on my second week after passing (5 hour drive). Got a bit lost and came off the M25 too early.

And had to drive straight through the centre of London.

London is a different driving experience. I was driving through a oneway street when suddenly a foreign coach started coming towards me.

I was called a cunt by the Audi TT driver behind me for slamming on..

Also once got stick driving from South Kensington to Chelsea and back out towards the M1, when a Chelsea match had just ended and the roads where grid locked with diversions.

I know drive down south a lot, and there becomes a certain point down the M1 (about Nottingham) where all driving etiquette is lost, and it's like a really dangerous bumper car ride..

BrawneLamia · 31/08/2017 23:00

The other thing is that public transport into London is really good, so you don't have to drive there. I have driven into London, but the combination of the m25 and then London roads isn't very enticing compared to getting the train

BackforGood · 31/08/2017 23:04

It's pretty understandable that people get used to where they learned or where they normally drive.

I have a friend who is carefree along windy country roads / blind bends / what appear to be 50% inclined hills, but nervous of driving round some of the massive roundabouts I negotiate every day. My sister passed in a town that has no roundabouts Grin( or didn't at the time). Some people live miles and miles from a motorway or dual carriageway so don't ever get to practice on them.

Windbeneathmybingowings · 31/08/2017 23:06

Driving is more enticing than the night bus, that's why I do it Grin Although at the weekends we take the kids out and then driving is also easier than dealing with the buggies (2 under 2)

If you know where to park then it's ok but I agree that this is learned knowledge that changes frequently. I used to drive to Camden almost every weekend but now it's permits only almost everywhere.

elephantoverthehill · 31/08/2017 23:07

TheBadgersMadeMeDoIt The Coventry ring road. Gah. I have only had the misfortune once, about 30 years ago. I ended up in a car park and had to explain to the attendant that I didn't want to be in the car park at all. He was very nice and directed me to the correct exit, off the ring road, where I would find my DB's awful student digs.

Rollercoaster1920 · 31/08/2017 23:08

And the constant two lanes into 1, bus lanes, inconsistency of whether the left lane is left only, or left and straight on, random no left/right turn restrictions so if you miss a turn you have to go miles out of the way to get back to where you want to be.

We live in zone 2. We very rarely drive the car into zone 1. We do a lot locally (we are nearly a mile from tube / train and the hospitals we used aren't near either).
When parking costs more than the tube / train there needs to be a reason to take the car instead of public transport.

TestTubeTeen · 31/08/2017 23:09

I drive in London as little as possible because tne traffic is so terrible and there is nowhere to park without paying a fortune.

I am quite happy round Hyde Park Corner and all London's more daunting interchanges, I just think driving is usually the least best use of time and money.

I am happy on country roads, too. Steep and twisty (I love the Hard Knott pass in the Lakes) or whatever.

happy2bhomely · 31/08/2017 23:22

I live in zone 4 and I'm happy to drive around here but I wouldn't want to drive into the city. But that is mainly because of parking!

I hate country lanes.

BorisTrumpsHair · 31/08/2017 23:29

I drive in London. I will/can drive confidentially anywhere/everywhere - motorways, city, country lanes, mountains etc.

London traffic can be full on, but on the whole I think london drivers are pretty considerate. I use sat nav both for directions, and to avoid traffic/find the best route even if I do know where I'm going.

I use public transport too - sometimes the traffic is a PITA, parking can be hell, there's the congestion charge, sometimes I like a drink etc.

We are blessed with many options.

BorisTrumpsHair · 31/08/2017 23:30

I loathe the M5.

Nonotmenori · 31/08/2017 23:58

I drive into zone 1 everyday. It is every man for himself. I've been hit twice in the last 6 months. One by a coach and another 4x4 that just drove off. I hate driving in because you get every type of inconsiderate plonker going. People will pull out on you, pedestrians will see the light I'd green and still walk right out in front of you. Mopeds will undercut you and you'll nearly hit them. If I had a choice I wouldn't drive in, but sadly my job has to be driving in and around central.

Adarajames · 01/09/2017 00:09

Laurie you nut be local to me, God I HATE the new 'not a roundabout' with all the building work still going on, I've taken to taking detours to avoid when I can! As for the speed bumps Lewisham is plastered with, urge! Mind you, I learnt to drive here and have no problems driving anywhere confidence wise, even when driving vans / minibus / motor home, just some places not so good for the sanity!

Adarajames · 01/09/2017 00:10

Urgh not urge!

lollypoppins83 · 01/09/2017 19:10

Thanks for all your replies!

As someone said above, I'm petrified of country lanes, I think I'd prefer them at night as the headlights would show around bends, I just want to explore everywhere now I finally can!!

Does anyone have any nice drive destinations they can recommend?

OP posts:
BackforGood · 01/09/2017 19:45

The Lake District is beautiful from a scenery pov, but best to avoid the Summer months from a traffic pov.
Best countryside / open roads / views for miles and little traffic are all probably in Scotland, which might be a bit far from starting in London.

lollypoppins83 · 01/09/2017 20:36

I think I'd need to upgrade my car before I take on the highlands but definitely sounds amazing, I'm driving a 1.0 micra at the moment.

OP posts:
TheBadgersMadeMeDoIt · 01/09/2017 23:46

The Peak District has some lovely driving country. I drove through Winnats Pass recently and it took my breath away.

And the Gower. Once you get out of Swansea and onto the country and coastal roads it's a glorious area to explore. If you don't mind stopping for sheep, cows and a few stray horses to wander across the road...

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