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The complete guide to one-way streets

Mastering One-Way Streets in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating one-way streets in the UK requires a clear understanding of traffic rules and signs. This guide aims to provide drivers with essential knowledge for recognising one-way streets, choosing the correct lane, executing right turns, and adhering to traffic signs, all while incorporating the MSPSL (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look) routine for safe driving. Booking driving lessons or an intensive driving course with BookInstructor will ensure you are taught well in this particularly challenging aspect of the UK roads.

Identifying One-Way Streets

The primary indicator of a one-way street is a blue circular sign displaying a white arrow, pointing in the allowed direction of travel. Additionally, the absence of β€˜No Entry’ signs in your direction of travel is a strong hint that you’re entering a one-way system. You may also see rectangular blue signs with a white arrow pointing upwards as you travel down a section of a one-way street.

A no entry sign on a left or right turn or indeed ahead means that that particular road is at the point a one way street coming in the other direction.

Lane Selection on One-Way Streets

On a one-way street, lane choice is crucial and typically guided by your intended manoeuvre ahead. If planning to turn left, stay in the left lane; if your route involves going straight you would normally also stay left unless road markings say otherwise, the right lane is generally more appropriate for right turns and going ahead if the left lane turns left only ahead of your position.

An important aspect of one-way streets in the UK is the allowance to overtake vehicles on the left, a practice that is not permissible on regular two-way roads. As always, use your mirrors and consider if it a safe and necessary manoeuvre to complete before attempting this.

Executing Right Turns

Turning right on a one-way street is a less complex manoeuvre due to the absence of oncoming traffic. It is essential to position your vehicle in the right-hand lane or close to the right kerb on a one lane, one-way street, while being vigilant for cyclists and pedestrians, who may be more difficult to spot.

If you are emerging right at the end of the road you would be close to the right hand kerb and NOT just left of the middle of the road like you would be on a two-way road.

Implementing the MSPSL Routine

The MSPSL routine is an effective strategy for safe driving, particularly on one-way streets:

1. Mirror: Regular checks of your mirrors provide an understanding of the traffic situation around your vehicle. Be extra vigilant on one way roads as cars may attempt to pass you on either side of your vehicle.
2. Signal: Signal your intentions well in advance to inform other road users.
3. Position: Ensure your vehicle is in the correct lane for your intended direction.
4. Speed: Adjust your speed according to the road layout, traffic conditions, and visible signs.
5. Look: Continuously scan the road for signs, markings, hazards, pedestrians, and other vehicles.


Navigating one-way streets in the UK is a skill that improves with practice and awareness. Paying attention to signs, choosing the correct lane, understanding the unique aspects like right turns, and following the MSPSL routine will ensure a safe and efficient driving experience on these streets. Remember, the key to mastering one-way streets lies in constant vigilance and adherence to road rules.

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