Driving in the middle of London

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devonutopia
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Driving in the middle of London

Postby devonutopia » Fri May 26, 2017 12:47 pm

Well, what an experience! :car:

I normally reside in a nice quiet backwater town by the sea in Devon. My 2 mile commute to work on the seafront poses no problems.

Therefore imagine the fun of attending an event at Buckingham Palace, driving (my VAN! :gear: ) into the middle of London (Chelsea) parking it up in a rather nice spot, devaluing the neighbourhood, and then driving out again. The way in was fairly busy when I was driving (about 2pm) but on the way out it was about 6.30-7pm and trying to get out by the river, those nutter cyclists :bike: and the general road chaos.... What an eye opener! I did have the luxury of a chauffeur on the way out so I got to see everything from the passenger seat! Felt very much like a dog eat dog environment to be driving in!

My commute this morning was very pleasant indeed in comparison!

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Mr Cholmondeley-Warner
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Location: Swindon

Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby Mr Cholmondeley-Warner » Fri May 26, 2017 7:39 pm

Nobody in their right mind wants to live, let alone drive, in London imho.
Nick

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GTR1400MAN
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby GTR1400MAN » Fri May 26, 2017 8:01 pm

You need your assertive/positive/committed head on to drive/ride in London.

I always tell riders who are going to do it for their first time: Make a decision about the turn you are going to make at any junction, plan it and do it ... even if at the last minute you realise it's the wrong way. You can always find somewhere to turn round, which is much easier than picking yourself off the floor after making contact with a local on a mission!
Mike Roberts

martine
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby martine » Fri May 26, 2017 8:54 pm

I find big cities esp. London to have a fairly assertive/aggressive driving style...impatient also with even the smallest delays in moving forward at traffic lights, penalised with a horn. Probably best not to expect too much courtesy either...trying to emerge from a junction into busy traffic usually gets little cooperation. I treat it as a challenge with my pinnacle being driving a 17 seat minibus through central London (inc. Hyde Park/Marble Arch) with parents of a local basketball team on board. No one died, the minibus was unscathed and I don't think I upset the locals too much.
Martin - Bristol IAM: IMI National Observer and Group Secretary, DSA: ADI, Fleet, RoSPA (Dip)

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dvenman
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby dvenman » Sat May 27, 2017 6:55 am

I found that driving a 26' American camper van through London whilst navigating using the A-Z on my knee was a little challenging. Although if you position early and positively people do tend to give way...

Although that was less challenging than taking a (smaller) camper van east to west through Paris, at rush hour (including a traverse of the Arc de Triomphe) where the locals were less inclined to care. On arriving at Versailles I needed a good 30 minutes to calm down.

sussex2
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby sussex2 » Sat May 27, 2017 9:53 am

You get used to it in a very short space of time, irrespective of the city.

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angus
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Location: Colchester - Oldest Town, oldest roads

Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby angus » Sat May 27, 2017 10:53 am

My first experience of driving in London was in a minibus, loaned to us by Ford and therefore brand new. I was 23 and given the same advice as Mike and Martin give above. Of course, size matters, and driving a minibus is probably easier than a car.
Another piece of advice I was given (don't know if it's correct tho') is to "aim" for black cabs - they will back down as with so much as a scratch they are off the road until they've been checked.
Oh, and if you think London is a problem/tricky, don't consider driving in countries like Sri Lanka

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Discov8
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby Discov8 » Sat May 27, 2017 12:19 pm

I'm in a borough of London so have the daily joy of suburban driving and the commute on the west side of the M25!!

Noticeable difference between driving the MGTF or the Discovery, size does matter.

Worst place I've driven is Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, common to see vehicles taking the shortest route even if it's traveling half a mile down the wrong side of a dual carriage.

gannet
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby gannet » Sat May 27, 2017 2:57 pm

Traffic last night in the rush hour was frankly the worst I've seen it for looooooongg time - probably something to do with the bank holiday and nice weather.

Didn't slow me up too much though - 15.5 mph average :bike:

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jont-
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Re: Driving in the middle of London

Postby jont- » Sat May 27, 2017 5:52 pm

gannet wrote:Traffic last night in the rush hour was frankly the worst I've seen it for looooooongg time - probably something to do with the bank holiday and nice weather.

Start of half term too, which never helps.

Having got back from a week in China recently where we made extensive use of taxis, most driving in the UK seems fairly tame.


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