Most cars, lorries and coaches being driven in Britain each day are right-hand drive models, but it is perfectly legal to drive a left-hand drive (LHD) vehicle if you happen to own one.
Left-hand drive cars are often imported from America or brought across the channel from Europe, but some come from even further afield. But many manufacturers have sold left-hand drive vehicles in the UK market. This is often the case for sports cars or limited-run models where setting up a production line for right-hand drive variants is not economically viable – examples of such models include pre-2014 Ford Mustangs, the Opel Manta, Fiat Barchetta and a variety of Ferrari models.
What sort of insurance do I need for a left-hand drive car?
If you own a left-hand drive car, you should get specialist left-hand drive car insurance. It is a legal requirement for all vehicles to be covered by at least third party cover, but you will get more protection if you opt for fully comprehensive cover.
Are left-hand drive cars more expensive to insure?
Many insurance companies will use the fact that you have a left-hand drive car to ramp up the cost of your insurance.
That’s not the case if you go to a specialist insurance broker. With over 50 years’ experience arranging insurance for American – including for imported American classics – and imported cars Adrian Flux can offer cover at a very competitive rate.
What other documents do I need for a left-hand drive car?
As well as your certificate of motor insurance, you will need a number of other documents to drive your imported left-hand drive vehicle in Britain.
- The C5V log book
- If the vehicle has been imported from within the EU, you will need a European Certificate of Conformity and a Mutual Recognition certificate.
- Vehicles that have been imported from outside the EU need Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)
- If you’ve imported the vehicle yourself, you also need to register it with HMRC and the DVLA.
Do I need to pay extra tax on my imported LHD?
When you register your newly imported LHD with HMRC, you’ll be told if and how much import tax you will have to pay.
Are there any tips for driving a left-hand car in Britain?
LHD cars were not designed for driving on the left hand side of the road. It can take some getting used to and it makes sense to get some practice on quiet roads before you head out on a big trip.
Here are some tips that will help you drive safely and confidently.
Overtake with caution
You will have a restricted view of the road ahead, so keep a safe distance from the car in front. That way, you will get a better view of the road and you’ll be able to see when it is safe to overtake.
Convert your headlamps
Your headlamps should be adapted so they don’t dazzle oncoming traffic. You can buy cheap sticker conversion kits, but if the car is to remain in the UK, it makes sense to get them converted permanently at a garage.
If you don’t adapt your headlamps and you are stopped by police, you could face a fine. Your car will also fail an MOT if it needs one.
Remember the speed limits are in mph, not kph
The speedometer on your imported car will probably be in kilometres per hour rather than miles an hour. When you are driving on a 30-mile-an-hour road, you should be driving under 48kph. On a motorway where the limit is 70mph, the maximum speed is 110kph.
Check the size of the vehicle
Check the size of the LHD vehicle you are thinking about buying. If it’s an American car, its dimensions are often far bigger than those of British or European cars and you may have trouble parking it in your driveway, garage, outside your home or even in a multi-storey car park.
Watch out for drive-throughs
Pay booths and drive-throughs in Britain are designed to be used by right-hand car drivers. If you arrive at one and you don’t have a passenger to help, you may have to get out and walk around the car to make your payment.
Get a fast no-obligation insurance quote
If you have a left-hand drive car and you’ve had trouble finding insurance for it or you think you’re paying too much, give the left-hand drive and imported car insurance experts at Adrian Flux a call for a fast no-obligation insurance quote. 81.5% of all customers receiving an online quote in August 2022 could have obtained a cheaper quote over the phone, based on the information they provided.