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Driving home for Christmas?

Dartford crossing

Image: Highways Agency

If driving home for Christmas involves the Dartford crossing (where the M25 crosses the Thames), make sure you check up on the new electronic toll system that kicked off on 30th November.

It's expected that millions of motorists will be caught out by the move to online payment, just like when London's Congestion Charge came into force.

What's changed?

  • The £2 toll (Dart Charge) has now increased to £2.50
  • The toll booths are gone so payment must be made online or by phone
  • Motorists failing to pay will be identified by number plate scanning cameras

How do I pay?

Just like the Congestion Charge, you need to pay the Dart Charge online or by phone on 0300 3000 120 if you're travelling between 6am and 10pm Monday to Sunday.

You must pay by midnight on the day after you use the Dartford crossing but it's best to pay before you drive so you don't forget.

If you don't pay, you'll be fined: £35 if you pay in 14 days, £70 up to 28 days and £105 after.

Forget to pay in advance? Don't worry, you've got until midnight the day after!
Pay now

Check before you drive, wherever Christmas is this year

Even if you intend to stay well away from the Dartford crossing (don't blame you), this is an important reminder to check your route home for Christmas, especially if you've been away a while. You never know what's changed!

Is there anything in the local news about...

  • roadworks?
  • diversions?
  • tolls?
  • heavy traffic?

You can also get traffic updates from the Highways Agency regional Twitter feeds, and try (powered by ELGIN) for checking road works, alternative routes, public events, weather and loads more.

So don't leave it up to fate and end up missing Uncle Ken's favourite joke about the reindeer and the three wise men playing golf. On second thoughts - remember last year?


Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .

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ingenie is a car insurance brand for young drivers aged 17-25. We fit a black box in your car to assess your driving style. We'll review your policy 3 times a year and those who drive well could receive a discount.

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