Can I Drive A Left-Hand Drive Car In The UK?

In this guide

The UK has been driving on the left-hand side of the road since before cars were invented. As a result, the vehicles manufactured in the country have adopted a right-hand side drive so that the driver has better visibility of the road and oncoming traffic. 

The UK is in the minority regarding left-hand driving, especially in Europe, where most countries drive on the right. This means that many of the cars made in the EU are left-hand drive, with the sterling wheel on the side that’s been traditionally used for the passenger. 

As the roads in the UK have been designed for a right-hand drive car for centuries, many people are unsure if you can legally drive a vehicle configured to the left. The short answer is yes; left-hand drive is perfectly legal. Here’s more information about left-hand driving in the UK. 

The Law on Left-Hand Driving

You can legally drive left-hand drive vehicles in the UK. You don’t need specific licenses to be able to do so. That said, there are a few regulations you need to meet to ensure you don’t get in trouble. 

The first is that you need to fit headlight adaptors so that they are pointing the right way. Failing to do this can lead to a fine. You also need to make sure that your insurance covers UK driving. If you’re holidaying in the UK with a left-hand car, you may need temporary insurance if your regular provider doesn’t offer UK coverage. 

Do I Need Specialist Left-hand Drive Car Insurance?

There’s no bespoke insurance for left-hand drive cars within the UK. As long as you have insurance allowing you to drive in the UK, you’re not required to get additional insurance to drive a left-hand car in the country. That said, you need to clearly state in your policy that the vehicle is a left-hand drive car, as you may be subject to different premium costs. 

Are Left-hand Drive Cars More Expensive? 

All cars manufactured and registered in the UK will be right-hand drive. This is because, in the UK, we drive on the left, so this driving position gives motorists a better view of the road. 

This focus on right-hand drive cars means that most left-hand drive cars in the UK will be imported. This means they may be more expensive to run, insure, and buy. 

For example, imported cars may be made to different specifications. This can make repairs and maintenance cost more, as certain parts may be harder to come by within the UK. Insurance costs on left-hand drive vehicles can also be inflated as they cost more to repair. 

Additionally, as left-hand drive vehicles are less common in the UK, there’s not a lot of data about them from which insurance providers can draw conclusions. For example, it can be hard to determine how safe these vehicles are. In the eyes of some insurance providers, they can be seen as more risky than right-hand drive vehicles, increasing the costs.  

What Documentation do you Need for Left-hand Drive Cars in the UK? 

If the car you’re driving has been imported, you must ensure that the vehicle is registered with HMRC and the DVLA. Without this registration, the car wouldn’t be legal to drive in the country. 

You will also need additional documentation called ‘vehicle approval’ depending on where the right-hand drive vehicle came from. If the car was made in the EU, you’ll need a European Certificate of Conformity and a Mutual Recognition Certificate. 

For vehicle’s made from outside the EU, you must have an Individual Vehicle Approval, also known as an IVA. You can apply for all of these on the Uk government website. 

Tips for Left-hand Driving in the UK

It’s not illegal to drive a left-hand vehicle in the UK, but it is a lot more dangerous, and you’ll have to make a few alterations to your driving style to ensure that you’re safe. As the driver is positioned on the car’s left, your field of view is different and often obstructed. This can make road accidents more likely, so you need to drive with added caution. Here are a few things you should think about when driving a left-hand drive in the UK

  • Overtake with caution  – It’s much harder to see oncoming traffic when in a left-hand drive vehicle. This means that if you’re overtaking a slower vehicle ahead of you, your field of view is much more limited. To overtake safely, keep your distance from the car in front so that you can see more clearly. 
  • Adapt your headlights – A left-hand drive vehicle designed for driving on the right-hand side of the road typically has headlights angled slightly to the right. This can dazzle oncoming traffic. Before driving, adapt your headlights to face the right direction. This will also help you see better in low light.  
  • Speed conversion – many left-hand drive cars, especially those imported from Europe, will have speedometers labelled in Kph. This can cause difficulty when driving in the UK as the speed is measured in miles per hour. To ensure you don’t drive too fast or too slow, familiarise yourself with the UK conversions. For example, 40mph is roughly 65 kph.   
  • Tolls and ticket machines – The UK roads are designed for right-hand drive vehicles. This means that things can get tricky whenever you drive through a toll booth or need to collect a ticket when entering multistory parking. This is because the machines or booths will be on the passenger’s side, making it harder for the driver to reach. This is fine if you have a passenger, but it could cause issues if you’re alone. 


Left-handed drive is uncommon in the UK and the only cars that will be LDH will be imported from different countries. Although perfectly legal, there are a few steps to follow and regulations to meet to be allowed to drive the car. 

You should be ready once you’ve registered the vehicle with the DVLA, adapted your headlights, and ensured you have the correct insurance. As the roads aren’t designed for these vehicles, be sure to issue caution when on the roads to avoid any incidents. 

Alexander Thomas
Alexander Thomas
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