Car Rental

Old Apr 5th, 2001, 09:33 AM
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Car Rental

do I need an international driver's permit to drive in Britain?
And as an American is the adjustment to the opposite side of the road driving difficult? or does it just depend on the type of driver I am ?
Old Apr 5th, 2001, 09:48 AM
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I don't think you need an international licence but you might want to check with your car rental place. I think driving on the left takes some getting used to. It is most scary when you have to react swerving out of the way etc...first reaction is to do what you normally do - when you should turn in the opposite direction. But after a few days, you get pretty used to it. You also have to be careful crossing the streets on foot..again first thought is to look to your left when you should look to your right!
Old Apr 5th, 2001, 12:29 PM
Bjorn Alvik
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Hi, Alana
I'm Norwegian, and that makes you and I alike most of the world; we're accustomed to right hand driving.

Driving in England is not very difficult. You do not need an International.
I think right-handed pedestrians have a much much heavier problem with getting aquainted with the traffic than the drivers.
When that is said, you should take serious precautions when driving on a high-road where all cars you see drive in the same direction.
In that case you suddenly may make beleive that the left lane is the fast one.
Unlucky you if you then shift to the right where you suppose traffic is slower.
Otherwise I felt driving in England simple. Turn left in the circles instead of right, keep left in the streets, it cerainly was a joy.

But the motor-way demanded caution.

Good luck,

Bjorn, Oslo
Old Apr 20th, 2001, 02:40 PM
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One piece of advice for your rental car. Request an automatic transmission and your trip will be 100% more enjoyable.

The stick shifts in England work the same but you are shifting with your left hand instead of your right. You are pulling the stick towards your body instead of away from your body. In traffic, in towns, it gets to be a hassle remembering the stick and the left side...especially when you need quick reactions.

I have done both auto and stick in England and trust what it takes to get an automatic. Most of the rental cars are stick, so you really have to get a good place to reserve the auto for you. It makes a huge difference!
Old Apr 20th, 2001, 05:01 PM
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Absolutely get automatic transmission! And the best piece of advice we received was "Put the passenger in the ditch". If you remember that, you will be driving on the correct side of the road, always. (Of course, when I was the passenger, I thought my husband got a little too close to the ditch!)
No international license needed if you are from the US. Also, keep the car as small as is comfortable for you. With the narrow roads, smaller is better --- and more economical on gas!
Old Apr 21st, 2001, 08:20 AM
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No Int'l. lic. required. As long as I don't start out jet lagged I never seem to have a problem. it takes a few hours to get used to then it seems fairly normal, but you do have to concentrate! I pay the extra money and get an automatic, even though I drive a shift at home. Just cannot shift with my left hand!! Crossing the streets seems mora problem for my husband than driving, watch your butt at corners , it will seem clear then those cars in the left lane behind you make a left turn!!
Old Apr 21st, 2001, 09:14 AM
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I have not experienced all that much difficulty with left hand shifting as is described here, neither in Australia nor in the British Isles. But I have elected NOT to drive in London, and I don't think that the rental of an automatic transmission car would change that decision.

I don't think it would be all that much easier away from London either. It takes some gentle getting used to it the first hour. Surprisingly, the one thing I have done wrong - - for days - - is to walk up to the wrong side of the car, with the keys in my hand!

Best wishes,



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