Driving on the left

May 20th, 2002, 03:23 PM
Mike Sherer
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Driving on the left

My wife and I will be renting a car in Ireland in September. I've never driven on the left side. Any suggestions how to adapt quickly and stay out of unwanted collisions?
May 20th, 2002, 03:36 PM
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First, and of major importance, rent an automatic! To shift with your left hand is added pressure you don't need. Make sure you're covered 100% insurance wise because there's a good chance you'll have a dent or two. The roads are very narrow so hopefully you can start out from Shannon not Dublin because the traffic's not so bad. Where you rent your car will give you instructions also. Have fun!
May 20th, 2002, 03:50 PM
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The first question is how comfortable are you with manual shift. If comfortable, it will save you money, because automatics are more expensive in Europe, but it will also complicate your adaptation to right hand drive. The gear positions and pedals are the same as with LHD, but you're using your left hand instead of your right, so 1st gear is farther away from you than 4th or 5th.

Everyone's different, but my own experience is that one adapts quickly (meaning a day or two) and the real danger is several days later, when you get self-confident, something happens that requires a quick manoeuver, and your wrong-side-of-the-road instincts create a challenge.

Tricks I've seen people use include sticking a post-it to the steering wheel saying "keep left," another one on the door post so you don't keep looking to your right for the mirror, and a little US or Canadian flag to let locals know you're not accustomed to their ways.

Find an empty parking lot and circle for a few minutes to get used to the wheel, mirrors, and gearshift, then suck it up and head out. Be thankful you're not like all the zillions of visitors from the continent who bring their own cars and end up driving on the left side of the road with the steering wheel next to the sheep.
May 20th, 2002, 03:52 PM
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Meant to add, I enjoyed your reluctance to get into unwanted collisions. The only time I experienced the other kind was when I owned a Renault Fuego.
May 20th, 2002, 04:07 PM
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-Just follow the person in front of you.
-I usually screw up in parking lots after its been a couple days and I start to relax. I parking lots there is no one to follow.
-keep to the center. You will tend to drive closer to the shoulder than you do here. Your passenger will be cringing
It's not that hard if you're paying attention
May 20th, 2002, 04:48 PM
Uncle Sam
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One tip that I believe is simple but very, very important.

Always keep the steering wheel in to the center of the road. Whenever making a left or right turn at a traffic light or at a stop sign always remember when turning...keep the steering wheel (and by doing so the driver) in the center of the road and not to the outside.

It's the very same as in the US except reversed. In the US you always keep the steering wheel and the driver in the center...very same in Great Britain.

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