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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, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,047
I wouldn't advise anyone to hire a manual car if they're only used to automatics. Hill starts, holding the car on the clutch in slow moving traffic queues etc are not things that can be mastered with 2 mins practise. OP, not meaning to be rude, but if you don't know the usual gear-shift pattern it suggests you haven't actually driven a manual transmission car before - or certainly not very often. Knowing how to change gear and actually being able to do it whilst negotiating all the usual road hazards are two entirely different things. If you are familiar with driving a manual - fair enough, go for it. If you don't drive one regularly stick to an automatic.
RM67 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
EU law forced us a few years ago, to allow letting people drive without a proper "manual" license. You can't teach proper mountain driving wihin a few days. It starts with gearing down.
logos999 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,146

Where are you staying? I was there in 2001 and a lot of the towns people were complaining about all the new development. It seemed so many who worked in Dublin were buying and building. I'm sitting right now with a smile thinking about that lovely village.

Regards, Joan
chatham is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Suprisingly it is not at all difficult to drive a car with a stick shift on your left. At first you have to pay attention but within a very short time your mind makes the switch and it becomes fairly automatic (no pun intended). The pedals are in the same order as a U.S. car. As they say over there, "having said all that", I would get the automatic if I were you. The 8 month old, narrower roads, driving on the left, round-a-bouts, difficult navigation, etc is enough to deal with without adding something else to think about while you are driving. I lived in England for 3 yrs, travelled all over Europe and had lots of driving experience with a standard transmission and I still always took the automatic when it was available.
trvlr1776 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 10:55 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 192
Just to clarify: I'm asking these questions because I like to have ALL the information clarified so I can "mentally prepare" if I decide to rent a manual next time. I "mentally drove" for 2 weeks in my mind the roads back at home in the US, imagining my self going to routine places on the left side of the road from the right side of the car. By the time I rented a car here, I was completely comfortable with the driving scenario.

I HAVE driven manuals, for years. I have owned: a VW Rabbit, a Nissan 240, a Chevy S10 pickup, all of which were manual transmissions. I have 10 years combined experience, hence the reason I am even contemplating even renting a manual.

I'm familiar with where the gears are on AMERICAN cars. I ask these questions because I don't want to assume anything on these cars. For instance, rkkwan's response was extremely valuable.

I also like the suggestion about going from the aiport and then heading north, to avoid city traffic. I'll think about that possibility next time we head someplace in that direction.

Thanks everyone!

p.s. I would always use the parking brake - I'm renting a car so don't want to take any chances

p.s.s. Joan, I'll be at Smarmore Castle. See my other post.
jumper22 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 11:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
I reread my post about shift pattern. I mean in some European cars, Reverse is in the upper left, to the left of 1st gear.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 677
Jumper's subsequent question about where the gears are just reinforces my impression that he/she is not comfortable with a proper car.

Look - it depends on the maker. If you are really comfortable driving a proper car you can get used to a different layout of gears in about 5 minutes.

If you are used to driving a proper car you can get used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road in about half an hour.

Because if you drive a normal car you are in tune with it. Changing gear is not something you think about consciously - you just do it.

On the other hand if you have never taken a driving test in a proper car - but think you can drive one because you have once or twice a some point in the past, then you are, as I said before, an accident waiting to happen.

I hope companies that rent cars to overseas visitors check their driving credentials carefully. I wouldn't want someone who wasn't in instinctive control of their car on the road with me.

chimani is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 05:48 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 69
We just got back from our third trip to Ireland..and had a standard all three times. I'm just speaking from the navigator point of view but one problem my husband had was that he wanted to shift "backwards" since he was on the "wrong" side of the car. He did get the hang of it and we will always have a standard in Ireland.

One thing you need to consider is the navigation. You didn't say anything about someone reading road signs (if they have them...which they don't always or someone has turned them the wrong way). We found the signage to be the worst it's ever been. They're doing a lot of road construction and have failed (in some cases) to replace one or more signs. We took a number of unplanned routes and missed some stuff because it was just too hard to find road signs. While we love Ireland, it's getting to be a real pain to drive over there.

Gunny is offline  

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