You might be planning to bring a car to the UK from abroad, importing a dream car or whether you have your eye on a classic car. Whatever the situation, if your vehicle is left-hand drive, find out more about the rules and what you need to consider.
Can you drive a left hand drive car in the UK?
It’s not illegal. In fact, there are many car dealerships that specialise in importing left hand drive cars to the UK. While you can drive a left hand drive car in the UK, there are certain precautions you’ll need to take, and a few things you’ll need to consider, before you get behind the wheel.
Left Hand Drive Cars Were Not Built For UK Roads
The first thing you need to consider is whether your left hand drive car will be fit-for-purpose.
The USA is one of the main exporters of left hand drive cars to the UK. American cars are built for American roads, and American roads are long, wide, and pretty regular. Most cities and towns are laid out in neat grids, and there’s ample parking almost everywhere.
UK roads, on the other hand, are not so regular. Our towns and cities are twisting labyrinths. Our motorways aren’t as long or as wide as America’s freeways. And we have miles and miles of narrow winding country roads.
Some American cars are simply too big to manage on UK roads. So before you consider driving your left hand drive car in the UK, think about the practicalities.
Driving a Left Hand Drive Car In the UK: Road Position
First, consider that your road position will be completely different. This will definitely take some getting used to, so it’s a good idea to get some practice in. Take things easy at first, and don’t hit the main roads or attempt to navigate a city until you feel confident.
Adjusting Headlamps of Left-Hand Drive Cars
You’ll have to adjust your headlamps to avoid dazzling other drivers. You can do this in just a few seconds with the right bit of kit. The AA sell headlamp beam converters, and they also have a useful guide to how headlamp beam converters work, and how to fit them.
Finally, pay attention to your speedometer. It might be in KPH, but in the UK, all speed restrictions are expressed in MPH.
Importing a Left Hand Drive Car to the UK Requirements
If you import a left hand drive car to the UK, you’ll have to use the government’s individual vehicle approval (IVA) scheme. This involves a visual inspection, along with some other tests, to ensure that the vehicle meets all the relevant standards for driving on UK roads. Head here for more information.
You’ll also have to pay import tax. The amount you pay will depend on the value of your car. But you can contact HMRC if you need a ballpark figure.
Specialist Insurance for Left Hand Drive Cars in the UK
Comprehensive insurance policies for left hand drive cars in the UK are identical to standard insurance policies. You don’t need to get any specialist cover. However, some insurers may charge you more for your insurance than they would for a UK car.
Why? Because car insurance is all about risk, and left hand drive cars bring inherent risks. The different driving position might make accidents more likely. And if the car is involved in an accident, any replacement parts may have to be imported, and you may also have to find a specialist mechanic who knows how to work with left hand drive cars.
All of these risks will be reflected in the price of your policy. But you can still make savings through working with an insurer who understands the needs of international drivers.
At Go Girl, we specialise in giving careful drivers comprehensive insurance for less. Get in touch for a free quote.