You’re better off using public transportation (especially at rush hour), but Glasgow goes a long way towards encouraging car use with several multi-story parking lots. Metered parking is available, but expensive, and you’ll need plenty of coins to feed the meter, which issues a ticket that you must affix to the windshield. Some zones in residential areas are marked Permit Holders Only. Your vehicle may be towed if you lack a permit. A double yellow line along the curb indicates no parking at any time. A single yellow line along the curb indicates restrictions, too, so be sure and read the signs on what the limitations are.
If you want to rent a car, it’s best to arrange it in advance. But if you want to rent a car locally, most companies will accept your foreign driver’s license. All the major rental agencies are represented at the airport.
In Scotland motorists drive on the left and pass on the right. Most roads in Scotland are actually of very good quality; there is an excellent motorway system and the surfaces are well maintained in most areas. Small country lanes are extremely narrow with large hedgerows, but they can be avenues to beautiful scenery. When driving on these roads you must be constantly prepared to bring your vehicle to a crawl and negotiate with the oncoming traffic. Generally, priority is given to vehicles on the right. Where priority is the prime control, vehicles entering priority roads are under no obligation to stop unless yielding to a vehicle on the priority road. This may be a surprise to foreign drivers at first, as vehicles seem to come flying out of side roads and partially onto the priority road with little thought of stopping; but really they do stop. Vehicles on a roundabout have priority so vehicles entering a roundabout must yield. Traffic coming from the right hand side has precedence at roundabouts.
Yellow lines indicate parking restrictions. Nearby there will be a sign which details the exact parking restrictions, but typically a double yellow line means no parking at any time, a single yellow line means no parking from 8:00am to 6:30pm Monday to Saturday, and a broken yellow line means that there are few restrictions. Check the nearest sign for details. Red lines mean that you cannot park or stop at any time on the side of the road that they are painted on. They are usually placed on busy commuter roads in big cities. Pay-and-display machines are very common throughout Britain as well as parking meters. In pay and display machines you need to prepay for the required amount of time, collect a small ticket and display it clearly on your dashboard. If there are parking meters, just park beside the one allocated for your parking space and then put in money for the time allocation that you require. The tariff and time limit are shown on the machine. Cars illegally parked or causing obstructions can be fined or towed away. Never park on white zigzag lines, found next to school entrances and at zebra crossings.
Unless otherwise signposted, speed limits on UK roads are:
Built-up areas (towns): 48kph/30mph
Dual Carriageway: 112kph/70mph
Single Carriageway: 96kph/60mph
Residential areas: 35kph/20mph
Round signs indicate speed limits with the limit amount circled by a red band. When the speed limit has stopped then there is a black line at an angle crossing over the speed limit indicated.
Unlike most European countries there are no toll roads in Britain. All tolls in Britain are used to cross bridges such as the Humber Bridge in Hull or the Severn Bridge in Bristol. Costs on toll bridges depend on what type of vehicle that you are driving. Charges start from about £2.00 pounds to £2.50 for a car this goes up to £14.00 pounds for a truck. The prices are one-way.
In the UK seat belts are compulsory in the front and the rear if fitted. The minimum driving age in Scotland is 17.
If you are an American visitor you may find some differences in the language used in relation to driving. The following translations may be useful:
Petrol = Gasoline
Petrol station = Gas station or garage (for buying fuel)
Number plate = License plate
Gallon = About 1.2 US gallons
Fuel consumption = Gas mileage
Lorry = Truck
Saloon = Sedan
Car park = Parking lot or garage (for parking)
Bonnet = Hood
Manual gearbox = Stick shift
Handbrake = Parking brake
Boot = Trunk
Windscreen = Windshield
Tyre = Tire
Kerb = Curb
Pavement = Sidewalk
Dual carriageway = Divided highway
Motorway = Freeway
Car hire = Car rental
In case of accident or emergency, dial 999 for Police and Ambulance. If there is any damage to the car or to a passenger of yours or another car then calling the police is essential. You will need to take contact details and the registration number of all witnesses to the accident. If have a camera make sure you take photographs from all angles before any vehicles is moved. You may need to call the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), FIA member, tel. 0181 686 0088, 8710 or the Automobile Association (AA), tel. 01256 20123 if you need to get your car repaired.
Provided your driver’s license is valid, you can drive any category of small vehicle shown on your license for up to 12 months from the time you become resident. To ensure continuous driving entitlement a provisional UK license must be obtained and a driving test passed before the 12 month period elapses.
You can apply for your provisional driving license by completing the D1 application form that is available from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency form ordering service or Post Office® branches. Licenses are typically delivered within three weeks of application. For more information, contact your local DVLA office.
DVLA Local Office – Glasgow
46 West Campbell Street