Driving a Vehicle in the UK
Essential things you need to know!
Charges and 'Tolls' on other UK roads
In a few places on UK roads, there are Tolls, but most motorists go around them
Most roads in the UK are completely free to drive on, except some country roads but they will be clearly marked as 'PRIVATE'. Exceptions or 'TOLLS' include some premium sections of Motorway (where there is an alternative non-toll route, but it can get congested) and on certain larger road bridges such as the Severn Bridge, crossing from England to Wales. In these cases you will need some pound coins to throw at the machines, or at the attendents if they are there. Notably, most modern GPS (SatNav) systems provide alternative routes around tolls!
Beware Cyclists !!
In London, as in other places, cyclists can be a bit of a hazard, since though they pay no road tax, they still have the same rights as any other vehicle. No law requires them to wear reflective clothing, have lights, or give any sort of signal. Furthermore, cyclists tend to ignore traffic lights and one-way streets, so please be careful you don't hit them, cyclists become most indignant if you hit them, and legally, it is always the motorists fault.
Beware Pedestrians !!
Unlike in the USA and some other countries "jay-walking", or pedestrians crossing the road randomly is not an offence. Also, unlike in some European countries, it is customary to stop at a Zebra Crossing, so pedestrians can cross. But regardless of whether a pedestrian is crossing the road in the right place, or at some other random point, it is strictly forbidden to hit them. Hitting pedestrians, even if they are on a road or any other dangerous place, is considered "Dangerous Driving" and specific laws have been drafted in the UK to discourage, indeed outlaw, the hitting of pedestrians.
Driving on the Left Side of the Road, and Right-Hand Drive Vehicles!
Roundabouts can be a huge shock for US drivers. We even have double, and triple roundabouts in places!
In all of England and the United Kingdom, we drive on the LEFT-HAND SIDE of the road, go round roundabouts in a clockwise direction, where the person to the right has right-of-way, and of course, the steering wheel is on the RIGHT-HAND SIDE of the vehicle, not the left as in the USA and most other countries. Consequently, it can feel a little strange when you first get in the car, and when turning into dual-carriageways particularly, the first few times you might unconsciously begin turning into the wrong lane! But you soon get used to it. Take things slow at first, in England we tend not to use the horn very much, so driving is not as intimidating (or noisy!) as in perhaps Paris or Rome.
British Road Signs and the Highway Code
For those interested, you can read the UK Highway Code, a pre-requisite for all people taking a driving test in the UK, and by extension, anyone intending to drive in the UK should familiarise themselves with its contents: Department of Transport - The Highway Code
You can download the road signs from here in PDF format, very complicated, alternatively simply Google 'British Road Signs'.