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Driving on the left in Ireland with an automatic: No Problem. So how hard is a standard shift to drive, really?

Driving on the left in Ireland with an automatic: No Problem. So how hard is a standard shift to drive, really?

Jun 28th, 2007, 05:33 AM
  #1  
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Driving on the left in Ireland with an automatic: No Problem. So how hard is a standard shift to drive, really?

I've rented an automatic car twice now in Ireland, once to Kilkenny from Dublin and once for the weekend in Connemara. I have no problems with it whatsoever and am seriously contemplating renting a standard shift next time (going from Dublin to Carlingford for the weekend) since I know how to drive a standard car, too.

How hard is it??

My only hesitation is that I'll have my 8-month old son in the backseat. I assume the pedals on the floor are (from left to right) clutch, brake, gas? Or is it reversed?

Just trying to make up my mind and wondered if anyone had experience between the two.
jumper22 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:37 AM
  #2  
 
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Why would a standard shift car have the pedals a different way round from an automatic?
alanRow is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:39 AM
  #3  
LN
 
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You will be shifting with your left hand and since many of us drive standard shift cars that normally is not a problem. However, it can be quite a problem in maneuvering narrow lanes, trying to shift with the left hand while staying in the left lane, and seeing to an 8 month old.

For me, I did it once, took the car back on second day and got an automatic.
LN is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:40 AM
  #4  
 
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because the automatic doesn't have a clutch pedal.

i see what you mean. what if they have the clutch to the right of the gas? yikes!

have fun-
melissa19 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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The only thing that changes is where the shift is located. Your clutch brakes etc.. are the same. I can drive a standard shift but we still get an automatic (when we can) because it is what we are used to.
Bob_C is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:47 AM
  #6  
Pausanias
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As noted, the pedals are in the same order you're used to at home. Shifting with the left hand takes a a minute or two to master. You may miss a shift from time to time -- not important unless you're drag racing. If you are drag racing, remove the child first.
 
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:49 AM
  #7  
 
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Well, I manage all the time! But I have never driven a wrong-way-round car.

Lots of people manage the transition quite well, and I don't see why you should not, especially as you have now had a bid of practice on Irish roads.

I suggest that you try some easy driving until you get used to it. Crossing Dublin, with all its traffic, could be a difficult first experience. If, on the other hand, you rented at the airport you could get straight out on to the M1 and not have to change gear nearly so much.

Did you find accommodation in Carlingford?
Padraig is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Do you know how to drive a proper car or not?

If you do - what's the problem? Doesn't matter who's in the back seat. If you don't then hire an automatic.

Your question about the order in which the pedals come is telling - cos you don't think about it consciously do you?

I've been driving a manual for 30 years and if you asked me I'd be hard put to say.

But I'll have a go:

left to right - clutch; brake: accelerator.

You say you know how to drive a "standard car" - you'd better be sure you do else you are an accident waiting to happpen.

Maybe it's all down to your definition of "know".

chimani is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:28 AM
  #9  
 
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Does your licence cover you to drive a normal car? Otherwise you may not be able to hire one. The pedal are in the same order. The first few times you will try to change gear with the door handle but you will soon get used to it, if you are used to driving a normal car that is.
hetismij is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:51 AM
  #10  
 
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I always drive on the left with a gear-stick.

When I go to mainland Europe or the US I rent a stick shift car and drive on the right.

OK, so a few times your hand will be waving in the air on the wrong side searching for the gearstick, but you'll soon adapt. Pedals are in exactly the same position. And I've done it with 4 small children squabbling in the back (well, one had to be in the frontseat)!

I would have thought that with your son in the back seat you will be driving carefully anyway, within the speed limits, so I don't see any real reason to hesitate if you really do know how to drive a standard car.

Good luck and have a great time.
julia_t is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 08:30 AM
  #11  
 
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Pausanias explained it best "As noted, the pedals are in the same order you're used to at home. Shifting with the left hand takes a a minute or two to master. You may miss a shift from time to time -- not important unless you're drag racing. If you are drag racing, remove the child first. "

Shifting left handed is not hard - you probably won't always shift as smoothly as you do at home - but who cares?? And w/ all the money you save you can enjoy an even better holiday. Who or what is in the back seat shouldn't really matter.

My biggest problem isn't shifting - it is turning on the windscreen wipers when I meant the turn indicators
janisj is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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If you have no problem driving a manual car here and you have no problem driving an automatic car there, you will have no problem driving a manual car there.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 12:14 PM
  #13  
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Thanks everyone. I understand some of you were perplexed as to why I was asking about the pedal arrangement, but I don't assume ANYTHING in a foreign country! Figured they might be "reversed" too.

So I think I'm going to stick to my automatic reservation this time around, and then depending on our next venture, may rent a manual instead.

My last question is:

How are the gears on the stick shift? I'm going to guess that 1st gear is upper left. Tell me...

1st gear (lower/upper right or left?)
2nd gear (lower/upper right or left?)
3rd gear (etc)
4th gear (etc)

My questions may seem a little particular to some of you, but when I know what to expect, it helps me to mentally prepare for the driving experience in advance, so that way I'm not caught off-guard on your roads. I feel safer that way.
jumper22 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #14  
 
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>that 1st gear is upper left.
Correct, just like you expected, unchanged. Trucks/Campers can have 1st gear at lower left etc.)
logos999 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 12:37 PM
  #15  
 
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The following has nothing to do with left-hand and right-hand drive, as shift patterns for same car model are same in both versions. But I'll mention it, as the OP doesn't seem to have driven a lot of different manual transmission cars.

Anyways, most modern cars have the standard 1-3-5 on top, and 2-4 on the bottom pattern. Some higher performance and newer models have 6th gear below 5th.

What's not standard is reverse. Almost all Japanese makes have "R" in the bottom right; but some European makers have "R" in the upper left, to the left of 6th gear.

To prevent accidental engagement of "R", some 5-speed and basically ALL 6-speed transmission have a lock for the reverse. Most common way to release the lock is to either lift a ring below the shift knob, and pressing the shift-knob downwards.

Again, this applies to both left and right hand drive cars. No change in shift pattern.

Another thing I've come upon in Europe is the automatic parking brakes on Renaults (and perhaps other makes). Since you're driving a manual, you'll need to use the parking brakes. Instead of lifting a lever, you just press a button to engage the parking brake. Press it again to release. On a hill, you can even just start releasing the clutch pedal, the car will hold, and won't roll back. No need to press the button. It's very easy, once you understand how it works.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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No parking breaks needed. People park the car and shift into first gear. Hardly anybody ever uses the brake.
logos999 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 01:04 PM
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Though I have driven cars with standard transmissions for about ten years during the course of my life, I did have a more-or-less minor accident with one in England.

It was the end of the day, I was tired, and I was entering a dual carriageway from a regular two-lane road. I was momentarily confused and made a mistake.

I think that this time, when we go to Ireland, I will probably try to get an automatic transmission, just because it will be one less thing to think about.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 01:08 PM
  #18  
 
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rkkwan gave a very good explanation about gears and brakes.

I would suggest that before the next trip, you borrow someone's (a GOOD friend or relative) stick-shift car and give it a try (in a safe location). See how comfortable you feel there.

I had no problem driving a manual transmission in England and Ireland with the stick on the left. In fact, as I'm left-handed, I found it easier. And that was certainly easier to get used to than the entire "driving on the wrong side of the road" deal. (The manual transmission was no problem for me, as that's what I drive here at home in the U.S. too.)

And I ALWAYS use the parking brake when I park, even though I leave the car in gear when I park. I view it as a standard safety matter.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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> ALWAYS use the parking brake
Funny, you must be among the 1%. It's very odd to see someone use it. .
logos999 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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I am old school, so I always use the parking brake when parking the car, even on automatic transmission.

One, it's for additional safety.

Second, if the car is parked on a grade, just putting it in gear will put a lot of strain on the drivetrain.

In fact, if the grade is steep enough, the engine may not be able to hold the car, and the car will roll. Depends on the direction of travel and whether it's in a forward gear or reverse, it can even cost serious damage to the engine (on top of whatever the car may hit in its path).

Also, when starting on steep grades, unless you're really really fast and have good skills, you probably have to use the parking brakes, or the car may roll backwards a little.

To me, it's unacceptable for someone to drive a manual transmission vehicle and not know how to operate the parking brakes. Big no no.
rkkwan is offline  

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