Americans who are moving to the UK will be relieved to discover that speed is measured in miles per hour (the only country in Europe that does so). But is that where the similarities between the two countries end? Can you turn left on red in the UK?
Legalities of Turning Red in the United States
In many parts of the United States, it is legal to turn right when the traffic light is red, provided there is no oncoming traffic. That is why American motorists who plan to turn right must stop whenever they see a red traffic light and wait to see if there is any oncoming traffic before proceeding with their right hand turn. Motorists who correctly obey the “turn right on red” rule will not be issued with a ticket for running a red traffic light.
When Turning on Red is Permissible in the UK
Even though some driving rules can be reversed when adapting to driving in the United States and then learning how to drive in the UK, turning on red is not one of those rules that can be easily adapted. The only time it is permissible to turn left on a red traffic light in the UK is when the red light is accompanied by a green filter arrow that is pointing left. Unless you see a green filter arrow along with the red traffic light, you must keep your car stationary until the light changes and it is safe to proceed.
Americans who are moving to the UK will need to follow the Highway Code and drive safely at all times in order to lessen their chances of becoming involved in a road traffic accident. Some of the rules of the road and customs will be familiar. For example, both countries measure speed in miles per hour, which can make it easier to adapt to speed without having to learn how to convert miles per hour into kilometres. However, American drivers who move to the UK must be very careful about reversing the “turn right on red” rule, as it is illegal to turn left on a red light in the UK unless the light is accompanied by a green filter arrow.