Driving in London and especially in central is often an adventure. From buses to cycles, all kinds of drivers are using its complex and narrow roads.. Carefulness and caution is important as each of them can drive dangerously. Here is a non exhaustive list of the different species available in the capital. Tell us by commenting or by answering the poll next to the article who you believe deserves the award of the worst drivers.
Big and massive, buses can put in a bad mood when you meet them on the roads. As they are oversizing you, they have probably tried to intimidate you at some point. Slow and snaily, they annoy you when they stop all of a sudden on bus stops without indicating or when they move from their stops again without right signalling. Does that make you think of something?
The worst scenario is when buses are forcing their out of their bus lanes and in yours. Then, the only option for you is to honk your horn at them or to brake harshly. A frustrating scenario is when you are stuck behind a bus and surrounded all the same by a horde of buses. That leaves you with the only option to wait for House Bus to start moving on their way to the next stop. Are they only doing that because Uber and other apps are emptying buses’ decks?
Piece of advice: always overtake them when possible and avoid staying behind them.
Since the successive mayors have had as a wish to make of London a new Amsterdam, cyclists have popped up like mushrooms in a damp forest. Cyclists on cycle lanes, super cycle highways or just cyclists on a road without cycle lanes, they are everywhere and numerous. Or to be precise, just at certain times.
We are all surrounded by cyclists at rush hour time in the morning and early evening. When they are slow and we cannot overtake them, when we turn left and they keep moving straight or when we need to cross one of their super highways, they are an annoyance on the roads. Even if all of this is creating more congestion and pollution, there is a strong cyclist lobby and London is going to see more and more cycle lanes and cyclists in its streets. All of that makes driving in London more difficult.
Piece of advice: always check your mirrors when turning left or right. A quick look over your shoulders is even better.
They have the privilege to drive the famous iconic Londonian taxi after passing the Knowledge of London. Tourists love them and they have a good reputation among them. However, some can drive like if they were about to head towards the labour unit to proceed with the delivery.
Their aggressive and harsh driving style is what makes some people say that they are bullies on the roads. It is not rare to witness them honking their horns at you or calling you names of all kinds. Obviously, they do not all behave the same way. But once you are around West End or the city, a good proportion of black cabs make you feel that you are on their territory and that you are not welcome.
Piece of advice: do not get intimidated and keep in mind that you have the right to drive and operate in central London around famous point of interests.
Other private hire cabs
And here you are, the cream of the cream would you say? Well, we could say that for some but not for all. Stopping in the middle of the road without indicating, taking a no entry street, stopping on zig zags or parking in an awkward way, we have all witnessed it from private hire cars quiet regularly. It is sure that driving in central London is not easy to handle for drivers who begin working there. With hundreds starting every week, that explains why we see these kinds of behaviour on a regular basis.
Big platforms like Uber have their share of responsibility. They should advice and train drivers who are not used to driving in central London. That should not make us forget that most of PH cabs provide a great service and ten of thousand of customers use and enjoy them every week.
Piece of advice: Anticipate any unexpected move and uncommon behaviour.
White van men
It is certainly one of the greatest dangers when driving in London. Extremely aggressive and having a threatening behaviour, they are the cause of many accidents in the city. White van men are often independent contractors that are not working for a big and renowned company. And there is not any phone number to call displayed at the back of the vans in case of bad and dangerous driving.
These vans are often bought as second hand and it seems that they are not refrained by the low cost of their vehicles. They are often not letting you change lanes, forcing their ways into yours and being argumentative. And they can be aggressive when exchanging words with them about their behaviour.
Piece of advice: always watch out for them on the roads and expect any dangerous move. Do not be intimidated by the size of their vans as long as you are right and not at fault.
Called pedicabs or rickshaws, they are often found around West end, Oxford Street, Piccadily and Marble Arch. There drive cycles fitted with a carriage able to carry two to four people. They are known to charge tourists an expensive fare for a ride around these points of interests.
Pedicabs are often not fully aware of all the regulations of the UK roads and can behave awkwardly when cycling. In between two lanes, moving into yours without any notice or cycling the wrong way are things routinely observed when they are around you. Thankfully, they are working in a limited area in London and are not spread all over the city.
Piece of advice: leave a lengthy gap between you and themselves and do not refrain yourself from using your horns at them.