When you are driving your hire car in Wales, you must be aware of the local speed limits that will be signposted at the side of the road. In general, speed limits in Wales are the same as the rest of the UK. You will generally find the speed limit for country roads is around 50 mph, single carriageways operate at 60 mph and motorway speed limits sit at 70 mph. In urban and built-up areas, speed limits are usually set at 30 mph. However, in many residential parts of Wales, these limits have been changed to 20 mph. Therefore, it is important to watch out for the speed limit signs when you enter a town or village while driving on Welsh roads. The penalties for speeding in Wales include fines of up to £100 and up to three licence points.
There are strict drink-driving laws in place in Wales. Police will generally test for drunk driving by breathalysing you or by performing a blood test. The limit for alcohol in breath is 35 mg to 100 ml of breath, while the blood alcohol limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. If you are caught over either of these limits while driving in Wales, you could face an unlimited fine and a driving ban. Some drunk driving penalties also include jail time. If you plan to drink while out in Wales, it is a good idea to book a taxi beforehand or agree on a designated driver.
If you are on holiday with family in Wales, you should be aware there are some driving laws around child seat belts in place. For example, children under the age of 12 or below 135 cm in height are not permitted to sit in the front seat. Instead, they should sit in the back with an appropriate child seat for their age and height. Children under 12 may sit in the front, however, if they meet the 135 cm height requirement.
If you are driving in rural parts of Wales, make sure you have some emergency provisions with you in case of a breakdown or accident. Wales is often subject to heavy rain and roads may occasionally become blocked or flooded in low-lying areas. Make sure you keep water in the car with you, as well blankets and a flashlight. You should also ensure you have a warning triangle to place outside your vehicle, so you can be easily seen by breakdown or emergency services.
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FAQs about hiring a car in Wales
Given that there are large, rural areas across Wales, public transport may be slow or limited in many places. This means that it is generally faster to travel by car in Wales. Hiring a car will also save you from long waits between transport links, which can be a problem in sparsely populated areas, where the demand for public transport is not high. Travelling by road also gives you access to areas that may not be accessible by bus or by train. This is great if you want to get off the beaten track.
Driving terrain in Wales is generally good and you will find lots of clear, well-maintained country roads with beautiful surrounding scenery. When driving through the countryside in Wales, it is important to be aware that rural roads are often single track and may have poor visibility because of bends in the road or foliage. It is, therefore, very important to stick to any speed limits and avoid overtaking on bends. You may also have to wait behind slow-moving farm vehicles on country roads. Be patient and only overtake when you are sure you can see ahead.
You can hire a car in Wales if you are over 18. However, many car hire companies will add a surcharge for young drivers or may not allow those under 25 to hire a car. When driving in Wales, make sure that you have your driver’s licence with you at all times, in case you are pulled over for any reason. It is also a good idea to keep some extra form of photographic ID, such as a valid passport, in the car with you.
Mini (Fiat 500 or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Wales.