London Warnings Or Dangers Tips by easyoar
London Warnings and Dangers: 670 reviews and 462 photos
Rainbow and the London Eye (1 of 2)
Britain is famous for its weather. This is not meant in a particularly positive light! It can go from being bright and sunny one minute to pouring down the next (BTW, foreign students are taught that English people say "It is raining cats and dogs" when it is raining hard. Perhaps English people did once upon a time, and everybody understands what it means, but it is only ever used by foreigners these days. I never hear anyone English actually use it. A less polite form of "It's p*ssing down" it generally used now...).
Anyhow when in Britain, it is well worth carrying round a small umbrella and/or raincoat even if the sky looks very blue when you set out in the morning. This rather gratuitous shot of the London Eye shows a rainbow against it (just after a very hard rainstorm). I took if from just behind the Houses of Parliament. The second picture shows a view of London in a heavy rainstorm, complete with umbrella (I took this near the Houses of Parliament just in case you are wondering!)
Did you know the water in London is smart? If you are back in your appartment/hotel/house, and you are up to no good, the water will report you to the authorities, and you'll be severely punished. Yeah, right. Although the sign doesn't go on to explain, I believe there to be water meters in various places, and if people try and tap in to steal water from somewhere, the authorities will be able to trace the tap.
People don't associate the UK with water shortages, but in the South of England at least, there is starting to be fairly major water shortages occuring. The South is the most populated part of England, and also has the least rain, and with more and more people moving down South, the problem doesn't look like it will go away anytime soon! I guess the major point here is be frugal with your water whilst in London.
Pigeons off to find something to crap on...
Once upon a time Trafalgar Square used to be chock full of pigeons. Nelson on top of his column was covered in white gunge (I wonder where that came from!) and the floor of the Square was like a skating rink as you slipped around in the same white gunge that was on top of Nelson.
There used to be sellers selling seeds to feed the pigeons with. These days it is forbidden to feed pigeons. They have been likened to flying rats as they carry lots of infections around with them.
There aren't so many pigeons in London anymore, and we like it that way, please don't feed them and encourage more excrement!
A 'decorated' public phone box in London
It is extremely common in London to see phone boxes that are covered in cards (together with pictures) for various women advertising their services.
People are employed to go around these phone boxes and remove all of these cards. I have seen these people in action, and then minutes later seen a women appear and promptly plaster up another whole set of cards. I guess it is a bit of a losing battle.
Whilst most adults won't be offended and will just ignore them (OK I guess not ALL ignore them as otherwise they wouldn't be there), but you may want to check out a phonebox first before you send your kids inside one.
Congestion charge sign
If you drive in the centre of London on a particular day, you must pay a Congestion charge of £5. If you have not paid by 10 pm on the end of that day, you will get a fine. It is an additional £5 if you pay between 10pm and midnight. If you haven't paid by midnight, you will get a fine of £100, which is reduced to £50 if you pay it promptly. If it is not paid, the charge keeps going up!
I prefer not to drive into the centre of London not only for this reason, but also because it is very expensive to park, and also difficult to find parking.
The congestion charge is only payable between Monday to Friday between 7am and 6:30 pm
There are very clear markings on the roads to show where the congestion charge operates. The controlled area is full of cameras with number plate recognition, so your chances of escaping with not having to pay are virtually zero.
A traffic light camera
Whilst static speed cameras have to be painted bright colours so you can see them in britain, I do not believe this to be the case for Traffic Light Cameras.
A Traffic Light Camera will capture your image if you jump a red light (I believe some of them can trigger on speed too!).
Britain is not a good place for a motorist, cars tend to cost more than many other places (it's an island, so it is harder to source vehicles from elsewhere!). There are also lots of fines for motorists, so take care!
Don't Stop on Red Routes
Obviously, if you are at traffic lights or in slow traffic, then this doesn't apply!
If you are on a Red Route (two red double lines - see the picture), then do not stop, and definitely don't park (see my previous two warnings for the consequences).
I believe the latest fine is £100 and that is before the clamping or towing fee. This is taken very seriously as they are painted on roads in the most congested parts of London that are considered important to keep the traffic moving on.
Westminster County Council towing away a car
I have already explained about clamping as a deterrent against parking in the wrong place. It is a pretty strong one. The next step is to tow your car away! If you don't claim your car quickly once it has been clamped, the tow truck will pay your car a visit, and of course the fines go up accordingly to get your car back.
This causes more problems as often your car just 'disappears' and you have to work out what might have happened to it (including worrying about whether it has been stolen or you have just forgotten where it is).
Britain is not a good place for the motorist, there are a lot of traffic enforcement cameras (both speed, red light and bus lane) and harsh penalties for parking. Petrol is also more expensive than almost any other place in the world.
Spanish car clamped by Westminster Council
Parking is a problem in London for a few reasons. Firstly it is hard to find, secondly it is expensive, and thirdly there are some nasty punishments for parking in the wrong place, or for parking somewhere too long.
As fines are frequently unpaid, ways of enforcing payment have been devised. Clamping a car is a popular method. This obviously disabled your car and you are unable to drive it until the clamp has been removed - and a fine is payable first! Frequently clamping will be performed by the County Council, although in some private places, contractors are brought in to do the job. You do hear accusations of gung-ho contractors who almost trick people into getting clamped.
Be very careful where you park however as even if you have foreign plates on your car [my picture here shows a Spanish car with a WCC (Westminster County Council) Clamp on], you will still be clamped and still expected to pay.
Speed camera and warning sign
If you are driving you need to be aware that there are lots of speed cameras in London, and also in many other parts of the UK.
However the good news is that due to a rather bizarre law, a fixed speed camera needs to painted in bright luminous colours to stand out so that drivers can see it. Road signs warning of the camera also need to be posted up.
In this picture you can see the warning sign, the speed limit (this is in miles an hour - 30 mph is approx 50 km/h). There is a little bit of leeway, but only a little so don't chance it!
Penalty is a fine and points on your license, although if you are from abroad you may not get the points.
The other thing to be aware of is that most speed cameras photograph you once you have gone past them. There are also extra clues as they paint white lines on the road every foot or so. This is used as a extra check as 2 pictures are taken with a fixed delay between the two, and the distance travelled can also be measured should there be any dispute.
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