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Driver`s License

U.S. driver`s licenses are valid for 12 months in the United Kingdom; if you want to drive longer than that, you need to apply for a UK license. If you lose your U.S. license, make sure you apply for an International Driving Permit before leaving home and bring it with you at all times. This may help you in such a stressful event.

Additional Documents

Bring your passport, your driver`s license, including an International Driving Permit if you applied for one, a European Accident Statement (ask your car rental company), paperwork for accident and breakdown coverage, insurance certificate, and registration.


Third-party insurance is the legal minimum drivers must buy before driving in the United Kingdom. Fines of £300 will be given to violators.


If you wear glasses or contact lenses for driving in the United States, you are required to wear them in the United Kingdom as well.

Warning Triangles and Visibility Vests

First-aid kits, warning triangles, and fire extinguishers are required before driving in the United Kingdom; your car rental company should already have these placed in your car. Make sure you check before leaving. If broken down on a carriageway, place your warning triangle approximately 150 feet behind your car. High-visibility vests are not required in the United Kingdom but many people choose to include them in their first-aid car packages.

Headlamp Beam Deflectors

Beam deflectors are not required for driving in the United Kingdom but are required in other EU countries, so if you plan on driving to France, you will need to make sure the headlights are fixed before leaving. Ask your car rental company how you will apply headlamp beam deflectors. Some cars require stickers, others require for the beam to be adjusted manually.

Snow Chains

Snow chains are legal in the United Kingdom but they must be used only on snow-covered roads and not in a way that will damage the road surface. Once back on smooth concrete, snow chains must be removed.


Headlights must be used in the time period that corresponds to 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. Side lights and rear registration lights must be lit during nighttime hours as well. Lights can be dipped at night in urban areas and in daytime weather that is cloudy or foggy. Headlights must be used during times of reduced daytime visibility, but they must be turned off when the visibility improves.


Emergency, police and fire services in England can be accessed by calling 999. Another number that can be used in the case of emergencies is 112, and that is a number that can be dialed from any mobile phone for free. Non-emergency services can be accessed by dialing 111.