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to drive or not to drive : driving on the right in England

to drive or not to drive : driving on the right in England

Aug 8th, 2011, 11:34 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 842
"i will definitely report back here on our driving-on-the-right adventures in england."

As already said, please don't drive on the right in England or you will not survive to write a report..........Drive ON THE LEFT!!
Hooameye is offline  
Aug 8th, 2011, 11:49 PM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
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hooameye, what i meant with my statement is driving on the right hand side of the car ( on the left side of the road ) your point is noted
flyme2themoon is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 02:29 AM
  #43  
 
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Another big difference is there is no going through a red light, in any circumstances, no matter if you are just turning off and the road is clear, which I think you are allowed to do in the USA?
nona1 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 09:03 AM
  #44  
 
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You shouldn't drive through an amber light either but we do !
braaiseason is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 09:24 AM
  #45  
 
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We are currently touring Brittany in our own car. This has certain advantages as we know the car very well. it has the HUGE disadvantage that when you are actually doing the driving, you are on the wrong side of the car ie next to the verge. so when you are starting off in the morning/from a petrol station/loo stop, the temptation is to set off down the road in the normal - wrong - manner.

in fact this morning, when we left our hotel, i couldn't work out why this car was coming towards me on the wrong side of the road - until i realised that it was ME that was wrong. oops. But in many years of doing this, i can't actually remember [famous last words] us having any major problems. honestly, after a few goes, you'll be fine.

we have a little song, which is sung to the tune of "always look on the bright side of life" ie

"Always drive on the right side of the road" - which could be adapted to the left, i think.

Happy motoring, everyone!
annhig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 01:00 PM
  #46  
 
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"braaiseason on Aug 9, 11 at 1:03pm
You shouldn't drive through an amber light either but we do !"

The amber light doesn't last as long as it does in the US, if the light turns amber? Don't try to run it.
alya is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 02:26 PM
  #47  
 
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amber [in the UK] means "stop if safe to do so".

Red means "stop".

red and amber mean "stop".

green means go but only if safe to do so.
annhig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 03:33 PM
  #48  
 
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"The amber light doesn't last as long as it does in the US, if the light turns amber? Don't try to run it."

It is different than in the States.The amber isn't just between the Green and Red, it is also between the Red and the Green.

"1. pick up rental from LHR, then on to Bath. OR train to Bath, tour Bath and pick up rental from Bath the next day.

2. drive in the cotswolds , basing in MIM.

3. return rental in oxford ( havent checked on drop off charges. will look into returning car in either bath or oxford ) then train back to london.
"

Terrific that you are going to drive -- and that we didn't scare you off Just a few points

1) I'd collect my car at LHR and drive to Bath visiting Avebury on the way. For Bath make 100% sure your B&B has off street parking.

2) Since you'll have a car I'd pick somewhere other than MiM. It is an OK town, but the main reason to stay there is because it has rail service --but you won't need that. I'd pick maybe Burford, or Chipping Campden or any number of other villages/towns.

3) there are generally no drop off charges so that is an OK plan. But as mentioned previously, driving IN Oxford isn't that easy. It is an easy/fast drive back to LHR so I'd consider dropping the car there. Both have pros/cons - neither is a 'no brainer'

Finally--load the maps on your GPS for sure--but also pick up a road atlas after you are in the UK. There will be times you need to overrule Gwendolyn or whatever your GPS is called.
janisj is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 06:17 PM
  #49  
 
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About GPS/paper maps--yes, have both! If your GPS is good, and you are proficient with it, it will be sufficient for probably 95-100% of the trip. BUT there might be service glitches, or places to go that GPS doesn't "get" as well, or you might need to over-ride "her" (ours is Sheila) suggestions. We like to look at paper maps when planning, then let Sheila plot our course, and keep the paper maps handy for reference as we drive. Redundancy in a foreign place is a good thing.

If you are planning a visit IN Oxford (hope so--if you weren't, I'd urge you to reconsider), one strategy would be to book a room a bit on the outskirts, park the car there, and catch a bus into the town centre for the day. Then drive back to LHR the next day. We began and ended at LHR (we DID find a surcharge for dropping off at a different place from pick-up--I know many people have rented cars without such a charge, so guess it depends on company, dates, etc.) Our first stop was Oxford, where we parked at a B&B on London Road, caught a convenient bus right across the street, spent all day, rode bus back, and then drove on the next day, returning the car to LHR 9 days later after our loop. You could do something similar but at the end of your trip.
texasbookworm is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 09:51 PM
  #50  
 
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"annhig on Aug 9, 11 at 6:26pm
amber [in the UK] means "stop if safe to do so".
Red means "stop".
red and amber mean "stop".
green means go but only if safe to do so."

In the US
Amber means - can I beat this light?
Red means - stop, unless you are turning right and can squeeze out.
Red and amber - nope, Haven't seen that, it's one or the other.
Green means - good to go.

Here in MA I find drivers very polite but I avoid local roundabouts like the plague since the drivers are so polite they stop mid way round and wave you forward - Duh!
alya is offline  
Aug 9th, 2011, 10:03 PM
  #51  
 
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Sorry fly

Good choice on the automatic car - so much easier and well worth the extra cost, all you have to do is pay attention to the road. I don't think it matters if you drive a stick shift at home since it'll be on the left not the right and that in itself will take time to get used to.

Pay serious attention to the recommendations above that you have a 'navigator' - You drive, they direct you and hopefully keep you on the 'right' side of the road. Trust me, I learned to drive in England and still have to adjust when I drive in the UK.

I don't recommend that you get off an overnight flight and collect a car at the airport take public transport until you're fully awake.
alya is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 01:31 AM
  #52  
 
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Regarding traffic light signals have a look at this link

http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum.../dg_070561.pdf

This link is to the highway code

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAn...code/DG_070202
braaiseason is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 02:05 AM
  #53  
 
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This is such an entertaining post to those of us who have to drive on the opposite side of the road when we go almost anywhere!

Fly2themoon, do it! You have some great tips above which have helped us (in reverse) very much..

-designated navigator and 'second set of eyes'
-automatic car
-GPS
-as small a car as you can manage to fit in
-fold in mirrors are useful
-give way to everything on a roundabout!
-STOP at red lights

It is a little mind blowing to think about but you will be SO glad you had a car and then when you do it next time, it will be that little bit less daunting.

And nukesafe, I was the DW shrieking "you're too close to the right" (in the Italian Lakes) just before we hit the concrete wall and smashed the side mirror and MY window!
All good fun!!

Have a great time and be brave, it will be worth it.
ozgirl is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 02:06 AM
  #54  
 
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sorry, flyME2themoon!
ozgirl is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 06:50 AM
  #55  
 
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And you're a good sport, ozgirl.

As an aside, does everyone give female names to their GPS/sat nav? No males? Wonder if that relates to the reluctance of males to ask directions (a tertiary sexual characteristic).
Mimar is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 08:38 AM
  #56  
 
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I think it mostly depends on which voice one selects. They have both male and female, and if a female voice is clearer/more soothing -- it would be hard to call it George
janisj is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 10:06 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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As others suggested do invest in automatic.

One of the suggestions I found on this forum was making a sign ‘THINK LEFT’. It really helped us at the beginning.
travfirst is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 01:50 PM
  #58  
 
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In the US
Amber means - can I beat this light?
Red means - stop, unless you are turning right and can squeeze out.
Red and amber - nope, Haven't seen that, it's one or the other.
Green means - good to go.>>

ok - it seems that the US sequence of lights is different to that in the UK. I think I knew that.

so this is what you will find in the UK:

red - stop - followed by

red and amber - stop - [obviously, it was preceded by red for stop] followed by

green - proceed if safe to do so [well you're not going to go if it's unsafe, are you?] followed by

amber - stop if safe to do so [it may turn amber just as you get there, in which case if you stop ,the car behind may slam into you, therefore you should proceed].

note that red and amber together follow red - so if the light is amber, you know red must follow and you should stop. it cannot be followed by green.

we did it again today [left the hotel driving on the left, that is].

we'll try not to do it tomorrow.
annhig is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 02:02 PM
  #59  
hsv
 
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I reckon it must be freaking scary to drive on the right in left-hand-driving England.
.
If one makes the effort to actually use the same lanes and direction as the incumbent drivers one may notice that one adapts quite easily to the system (traffic is a kind of closed system after all).
hsv is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 07:38 PM
  #60  
 
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I don't know about the rest of the US, but in Texas we may turn right on red only after a full stop....legally speaking of course. In practice, anything goes. And we may turn left on red from a one-way to a one-way street. Not much of that in my little one-horse town.

Glad that was cleared up about left/right. I was mightily confused for a while.
jaja is offline  

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