In contrast to U.S. and continental European traffic, which moves on the right side of the road, UK traffic moves on the left. This causes foreigners to instinctually look the wrong direction before crossing the street. Do to this fact many street intersections are painted with a "look right", "look left" and "look both-ways". Be safe and enjoy!
I think everybody knows that you drive on the "wrong side" off the road but it´s easy to forget as we have our natural rutines to look left first before you cross the street. So the English people were so kind to write on the crossings "look right". To remind you. It was really confusing at first but you make a habbit of it.
London traffic is chaotic as in any big city in the world, hemm, well, but it is not as bad as some places I have been, like China. Few years ago they introduced a tax pay for vehicles entering the city which improve the traffic situation as well as the quality of the air.
For thoses of us who drive on the "right" side of the road the drivng can pose a danger to us. Since we are conditioned to look left first before crossing the street we don't see the oncoming traffic coming from the right. Most of the streets in the touristy areas are now nicely marked to remind us so we don't get hit by oncoming cars.
London has about 150 pedestrian FATALITIES a year. That number does not include all the head injuries, broken bones and internal injuries caused by people being struck by vehicles in this congested city. If you look down on most crosswalks you will see the words ‘LOOK LEFT’ and ‘LOOK RIGHT’. This is not just child’s play. Chances are you are from a country where they drive cars on the right side of the road. Here we drive on the left and often too fast. So ALL vehicles are coming from the direction you are looking away from. You are probably only here for a short stay. Please stop and read. It could save your life. I have lived in the UK for 12 years and I still find myself looking the wrong way.
Before you park your car ANYWHERE in London.. please check the notices on lampposts all along the roads.... most are permit/ residents only... others you need to phone the number given on the notice and give your card details to make the parking payment.
The cost of having your car un-clamped is anything between £110-£130 in Southwark... but each borough will have their own rules/fines etc. Check the GLA website to find more information regarding car parking in London.
This particular car had a German 'F' (for Frankfurt??) number plate - and a sleeping bag in the back.
This is worth repeating - before crossing the street always look right and left. So many pedestrians get injured by not doing something that should be very obvious, so obvious that the pavements have "Look Right" (or left) painted on them.
London's 33 boroughs have permanent cameras to enforce the law on who can and cannot use Bus Lanes. Whilst I totally agree that cameras are the fairest way to enforce traffic laws (because all offenders get caught, not just those who stray into an area in the one hour on the one day each month when the police bother to carry out 'manual' enforcement), there is a nauseating, stinking double standard between the way rules on siting Speed Cameras protect speeding motorists and the way Bus Lane cameras 'nick' anyone who strays onto a Bus Lane.
For example, I was driving on a road in Richmond with a nearside Bus Lane. The Bus Lane ends just before a junction and becomes a left-hand filter lane onto the A316. As the right lane (for traffic going straight on and turning right) had a queue and the left lane was empty, I drove into the last ten yards of an empty Bus Lane. Guess what? I got 'done' by a Bus Lane camera because I used my initiative by using the end of an empty Bus Lane to get into a left hand filter lane, rather than make the queue in the right lane longer!
By comparison, one of the guidelines for speed camera locations forbids them just inside lower speed-limit zones, because they can't differentiate between speeders who ARE slowing to the limit and those with no intention to slow down.
I had to pay a £100 fine, reduced to £50 because I paid within 14 days. I appealed, but lost! ...The robots at the London Borough of Richmond showed no discretion and sent me a picture of me driving in the last ten yards of an otherwise empty bus lane.
From July 1st, 2007, the fine for illegally driving in a bus lane (as well as parking offences and moving offences, such as blocking box junctions, ignoring no entry signs and going the wrong way down a one-way street) goes up to £120 (£60 if you pay within 14 days).
Ken Livingston's controversial congestion charge was implemented on 17th February 2003. They are trying to say that all of the money, millions each day, will go into the public transport... hah!
It now costs £8.00 per day to go in and out of mainstream London for motorists. There are some exemptions, like if you have a Disabled badge, but you do have to put in for the exemption charge first, and pay £10.00 for the pleasure. Strange really, considering the DVLA has all registered disabled cars on a database there anyway; so this should just come automatically.
And you ought to see how many foreign number plates you see on our roads, since these charges came in, it makes you wonder who's diddling who doesn't it? Yep, money goes to money as usual.
But, these charges are like everything in Britain, they are only hurting the less well off as usual. And, did you know that people like 2 Jags John Prescott, doesn't have to pay these congestion charges anyway? As do none of the Ministers. Also, John Prescott can drive unhindered in the Bus lanes, as the rest of them can, you and me couldn't. Talk about one rule for some and one rule for the rest of us eh.
The biggest problem I had as a stranger in London was looking the wrong way for oncoming traffic when I crossed the street. Invariably I would look to my left and see no traffic and start forward only to be surprised by a beep and a car swurving around me from the right side.
I am uninjured today only because the London drivers tend to be more conscientious than let's say New York City drivers.
So when you go, practice looking right when you cross a street.
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