Price reductions on selected cars, from £250 - £1000 off

skip to main contentskip to footer

Unwritten rules of the road explained: what you need to know

There are plenty of rules and regulations for UK roads – but what unwritten rules are there that other motorists will expect you to follow?

a blue MG ZS EV driving on a country road

UK driving etiquette explained

Driving on UK roads comes with a range of laws and guidelines you have to follow, including the Highway Code, which details how to be safe when behind the wheel.

The Highway Code alone features around 307 driving regulations that can be punishable by fines, points on your licence, and even a driving suspension.

If this wasn’t already enough to remember, a range of unwritten rules of the road have developed over the years that other drivers may expect you to use to be polite and courteous.

While these unwritten guidelines aren’t at risk of landing you with a fine, you might be labelled an inconsiderate driver if you don’t follow them.

Learn these extra rules for UK driving to keep other drivers on your side.

How to let people in – merging on motorways, junctions, and being grateful

Many of these unwritten road rules come down to politeness and a ‘treat people the way you wish to be treated’ attitude.

We all know how frustrating it can be if you’re struggling to pull out – you can improve someone's day by just slowing down for a second and letting a car merge safely into traffic.

This also helps to prevent traffic from building up on slip roads and side streets.

Another courteous move on the roads is to remember your manners.

Us Brits love to say please and thank you, and this also extends to the road – a quick raise of a hand when safe to do so is enough to thank other road users if they’ve let you merge.

How to park politely – on-street, queue-jumping and spot-stealing

One of the most stressful parts of any journey is often the parking.

If you’re driving to a busy area, somewhere you’ve never been before, or need to park on a residential street, finding a space can quite often be a pain.

Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, says: “As Brits, our respect for queues extends from post offices to the roads, particularly the unwritten rule not to skip any parking queues.

"If you arrive in a car park and there are a number of cars looking for spaces, allowing them to take the next available one is a show of respect to the unwritten system.

“When you’ve got that space, be mindful of the other spaces around you and what that could mean for other drivers.

"Stay between the painted lines to avoid blocking other spaces from being used - as well as reducing the risk of opening your door into another vehicle.

“For on-street parking, make sure you’re squeezing in with enough room to let other cars out and not take up too much space for what could be another spot.”

Be kind to learner drivers

Even if you’re an experienced driver now, it’s likely you can remember the nerves of being a newbie on the roads.

From taking our driving lessons to those first drives after we passed our test, building confidence on the roads is something that comes over time.

It’s an important unwritten rule in the UK that we should always be patient and kind to learner drivers.

Even though new drivers are likely to be slower or take longer to pull away, giving them time and space creates a safer environment and helps take off some of the stress they might be feeling.

Read more news from cinch: