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Driving on the Left...Easy Transition or Real Nightmare??

Driving on the Left...Easy Transition or Real Nightmare??

Jul 16th, 2012, 07:17 AM
  #81  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
Blue - very funny! I'm always doing that when we're driving a hire car abroad.

alya - yes, beeping the horn is a great help, especially when the ....coming the other way has the same idea at the same time!
annhig is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 11:17 PM
  #82  
 
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Cripes Janis. that would have freaked me out too - Idiot! Never overtake on a B Road unless it's a straight road, which they almost never are

annhig, thankfully in 20 years of holidays in Cornwall we never had that problem. Maybe because we visited off season or just that we didn't tend to travel in 'Rush Hour'
alya is offline  
Jul 17th, 2012, 01:47 AM
  #83  
 
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In my country we drive to the right. When we are away on holidays, always hiring a car, and often changing makes and size - always hiring at least mid size, my husband never finds it hard to make the transition by driving to the left. I sense he is a bit uneasy only the first half an hour or so till he programs GPS, gets used to the hired car and driving to the left, but after that he is ok.

I guess the more experienced you get, the more you start gaining confidence, till you have no difficulties whatsoever with the transition.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jul 20th, 2012, 12:09 AM
  #84  
 
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Nightmare!

Only a bad dream if you get an automatic!
DeeannMccaster is offline  
Aug 10th, 2012, 06:09 AM
  #85  
 
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I am doing my research for an upcoming trip to the UK where the idea was to rent a car and drive for a few days. Until I read this my main concern was selecting a rental car that would accommodate my husband's height (6'6") Now I am more worried about him driving the car! It looks like having a large model will only add to the challenge.
SeeHag is offline  
Aug 10th, 2012, 09:37 AM
  #86  
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Rubbish. Car size has nothing to do with safe driving. The competence of the driver is the key factor. 2" on the width of a car makes no difference even on the Bohreen outside our gate.
Tony2phones is offline  
Aug 10th, 2012, 10:04 AM
  #87  
 
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In the UK we just had a Hungarian truck driver do 10 miles on the wrong side of the motorway (drunk), no one hurt and he was stopped by three trucks stopping full width in front of him.

That must have been buttock tightening.
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 10th, 2012, 10:36 AM
  #88  
 
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"That must have been buttock tightening"

LOL

Never had a problem switching up, especially with a stick shift. Wonder if it's because I'm left handed?!?

I think the only "mistake" we make is when we say "turn left here?" meaning turn right, so we call a right turn an "English left". Inside joke, I guess.

6'6" isn't a problem -- lots of tall people in the UK who drive.
Surfergirl is offline  
Aug 10th, 2012, 11:18 AM
  #89  
 
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no one hurt and he was stopped by three trucks stopping full width in front of him. >>

the judge awarded them each £250 - which should at least pay for a new pair of trousers each.
annhig is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 11:29 AM
  #90  
 
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I never had a problem staying on the left. I found the 2 challenges to be:


1. Road positioning (basically you drift to far to the left in your lane - you will understand this once you are driving). Someone told me key is to not focus on staying on the left but to focus on keeping the center lane just to your right - this really works for me.

2. Everything is on the opposite side of the car. Everytime I went to change gears I almost opened the door and everytime I looked in the rear view mirror I looked out the window instead!
SusanC is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 01:05 PM
  #91  
 
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Adjusting to traveling on the "wrong" side of the road is not difficult when one is not under pressure and/or one has had an opportunity to adjust slowly, e.g.: driving in the English country-side for several days and then driving in London ( but take it from me and don't put yourself through the agony of driving in London). I drove from Dublin, to County Mayo, down the West of Ireland to the Ring of Kerry/ Dingle Penninsula , to Waterford and back to Dublin. Adjusting to the risks that OTHER drivers take was the most difficult experience ( e.g.: passing when approaching a hill that is blind for the driver....me.... in the opposite lane). Negotiating narrow roads was another problem. Early on, I had several near misses going through small villages where cars were parked and pedestrians we walking on the side of the road.
Consequently, I chose to drive more slowly than I otherwise might have and added time to each day's travel. Finally, coming out of a pub one night, my instinct had me driving on the wrong side of the road momentarily. I hadn't had much to drink, either.
allysone is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 01:37 PM
  #92  
 
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SusanC: "everytime I looked in the rear view mirror I looked out the window instead"

I do that too for the first couple of days every trip. But I must say, I've never mistaken the door handle for the gear shift

Sometimes we start a kitty and every time the driver walks to the left side of the car (or the front seat passenger to the right side) we pay up 50p or a £ - adds up fast

But when I'm traveling alone, I just fake it. When I brain freeze and walk up to the passenger side I nonchalantly open the door, toss my handbag in the front seat - maybe open the glove box for good measure then saunter around to the driver's side. Like I'm fooling anyone
janisj is online now  
Aug 15th, 2012, 06:54 PM
  #93  
 
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What a useful thread! I'll be visiting Ireland next month and will be renting a car and have a couple questions. I've driven roundabouts both in Europe and here at home, and I've been driving a manual for decades but I've never driven on the left side of the road. Based on your experience, 1) how far should I drive after I arrive and 2) how close can I comfortably drive near Dublin? I'm not planning on going to Dublin but it may be convenient to take the M50. It should be later in the morning so it wouldn't be during rush hour.

I've driven solo for a few hours after arriving in Paris without a problem and this time I'll be sharing the driving (although he's never driven on the left either).
Shanti is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 07:33 PM
  #94  
 
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Hi Shanti:

I'll address #1 "1) how far should I drive after I arrive"

I personally would not drive at all on arrival day. You might be absolutely fine, but more likely you'll be jetlagged. Not a nice introduction to the 'wrong' side of the road. Or - just drive a VERY few miles - like less than 25 or 30.

I have done it every which way - heck one time I jumped off a plane at LHR and drove ALL day all the way to Edinburgh. But that was foolish and the older I get, the harder the first day hits me.

IMO it is best to plan a very low key first day and rest up before tackling the narrow Irish roads.
janisj is online now  
Aug 16th, 2012, 06:10 AM
  #95  
 
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Hi Janis,

That's kinda what I was thinking. Driving for a few hours on my first day doesn't bother me - if it's on the right side of the road but I am a bit leery of getting used to driving on the left side.
Shanti is offline  
Aug 16th, 2012, 07:02 AM
  #96  
 
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And remember - except on the motorways, 30 miles could easily take an hour or more. So if you definitely want to pick up the car that day, stopover somewhere less than 50 miles from the airport. 25 miles would be better.

Lots of folks spend their first day/night in Dublin car-less, see some sites, and pickup the car after a good night's sleep.
janisj is online now  
Aug 16th, 2012, 12:49 PM
  #97  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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The current plan is to stay at Cabra Castle for the first night which is just over your 50 mile limit. OTOH I'll be driving away from Dublin which is one reason I chose it.
Shanti is offline  

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