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Tips for driving on the other side of the road.

Tips for driving on the other side of the road.

May 16th, 2019, 07:16 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Tips for driving on the other side of the road.

We are visiting the US in two weeks or so, going to see the Grand Canyon and are hiring a car driving from GC to Phoenix airport. Taking about three days. My husband Warren is a great driver, but does worry about driving on the right side of the road. He doesn't enjoy it, has to concentrate all the time, doesn't get to look at the scenery, so we avoid hiring cars as much as possible. When we are in New York our daughter and/or husband drive us around.

What are some useful tips for staying on the 'right' side of the road. There are a lot of accidents in NZ caused by overseas drivers who have a lapse in concentration and end up in head on crashes!!!
nelsonian is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Don't let your concentration lapse.

Stay to the right.

Designate a co-pilot to pay attention to these things and yell "Wong!" as needed.

After returning home admit, as many British cabbies have, that driving on the right is more intuitive and change your laws.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 08:13 PM
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My travel mentor gave me THE best tip back in the 80s. She told me to go to a mall parking lot on a Sunday afternoon when stores were closed and there were no cars moving around....and drive all over the parking lot "on the wrong side of the road". Train your brain to "see" the opposite.

She also told me to have the passenger say, "Think left, think left, think left" every time I was about to pull out of a parking lot, street, etc. In your case it would be "think right". By the third day in Ireland I thought I "had it" and told Mom I didn't need her to say that anymore. The very next time, I pulled out...into the right lane! A quick turn back into the other entrance of the petrol station.

Both of those REALLY helped. Practice in an empty parking lot before you go and "Think right, think right, think right".

The good news is, the roads in and around the Grand Canyon aren't too busy and are mostly two lane. Good luck and safe travels!

By the time we got to England and Scotland it was old hat. What was freaky was after we got home and it felt like everyone else was driving on the wrong side of the road!
starrs is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 08:15 PM
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Oh, another hint. Rent an automatic. Even if you prefer to drive a manual shift, rent an automatic. I rented the cheapest little car for our Ireland trip many years ago. Not only was I driving on the wrong side of the road with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car, I had to change gears with the wrong hand. Since then I've made sure to rent automatics. One less thing to have to concentrate on.
starrs is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 08:22 PM
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Yes we have rented an automatic Starrs, thanks for the advice.
nelsonian is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 08:59 PM
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Moved to the US board.
Moderator3 is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 09:00 PM
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The cars are set up for driving on the right hand side.
It will therefore feel natural to have the driver in the middle of the road, and the passenger at the kerb side.

Starrs is correct - it’s usually after you’ve stopped and are pulling out onto the road again, that you can momentarily slip, especially if there isn’t any other traffic around to guide you.

”T” intersections can be a trick, where our normal inclination is to drive onto our “usual” side of the road.

If your husband is nervous about driving - let him navigate & you drive.
Bokhara2 is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 09:15 PM
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I have to retrain the brain every time I go from Australia to the US and back again. As said, after a couple of days it feels more natural but don't let your guard down. It's just as you're feeling comfortable that you lapse into your usual way. As Bokhara said, 90 degree turns are the worst of it, I think. Not just intersections but just turning out of car parks were my shakiest thing when we first moved to Aus. That's when you want someone to be repeating "keep right" or you can end up on the wrong side of a divided road
CounterClifton is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 11:23 PM
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Staying on the right is usually not a problem when there is other traffic, because that is the best reminder. Having grown up in the US but living in England for most of my life now, it is no easier for me when I return home for visits. I have been caught out pulling out of my brother’s driveway first thing in the morning with no other cars on that stretch of road. Having an alert navigator certainly helps, especially when you aren’t sure of directions.

In in some states you can turn right after stopping at a red light without waiting for the green. If you are standing in the right turn lane at a stop light and people behind you start honking, now you know why.
Heimdall is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 02:43 AM
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The first couple of days you will be alert to driving on the right. It's after that, when you pull out of a car park or something that can catch you out.
Just take your time, and both be aware of things.
hetismij2 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 03:02 AM
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Avoid driving at night.
cdnyul is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 03:46 AM
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HARD right-hand turns...memorize it; WIDE left-hand turns...memorize it. Right turns on all red lights IN MOST JURISDICTIONS unless a sign is posted that you cannot do it. Renting the automatic you'll be grateful for. A LOT of people don't but driving with your lights on during the day, especially on Interstate Highways is IMO a good idea. Turn on your lights in any RAIN. Make note of which side of the vehicle your gas cap is located and figure out how to open it before you start out. Know how to turn the lights on and off. Does the key fob have a tag with the license number on it? Theft of things inside that car "on the other side of the road" you know how to avoid it; stuff happens.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 04:43 AM
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I know driving on the left would be a very hard adjustment for me.....sending good right side vibes your way.
jmoyogi is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 04:57 AM
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Expect to confuse your wipers and turn indicators for about a week, probably cursing each time. Then expect the same when you return home.

Be very alert in parking lots and when there's no other traffic.

I learned to drive on the right, but lived in left side drive countries for 11 years and still after all that time, I'd occasionally find myself drifting toward the right when there was no other traffic - especially when making turns.

Years ago NZ car rentals had big KEEP LEFT stickers on the dash display - they no longer seem to do that, but they were a a huge help and constant reminder to us tourists from right side drive countries. Perhaps make a note of your own and place it on the car's dash display to remind the driver to KEEP RIGHT.

And remember - slower traffic stays right, the left lane is to pass.

Last edited by Melnq8; May 17th, 2019 at 05:01 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 05:22 AM
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Get a post-it pad or similar sticky notes and write "keep right" or some such on the pieces and stick them in the middle of the steering wheel, on the dashboard over the radio, and anywhere your eyes land when you're behind the wheel. I remember seeing several German-plated cars in Scotland where there were notes saying "Linksfahren" stuck all over the passenger compartment.

Practice using the mirrors before you even pull out of the hire car lot. It always takes me a few minutes to stop looking at the door post instead of the mirror.

Remember your co-pilot will be the first to die, so he/she should be empowered to monitor things.
Gardyloo is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 07:41 AM
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Most unfortunately, Americans do NOT stay in the travel lane except to pass and unlike in Europe, staying in the non-overtaking lane is not enforced. Driving and not texting is also not enforced in many places. Americans tend to be "on the horn" a lot you may find. Driving in some states west of the Mississippi can be VERY different in terms of folks obeying the speed limits; don't be surprised if you are in a wide open space highway and people are passing you right and left while you are adhering to speed limit.

Turn signals? Some folks here have apparently never heard of them or they are driving in cars that don't have them.

"Open window, throw out trash." Don't worry, you'll see it all soon enough.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 11:57 AM
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My EX BIL gave me the handiest tip..just remember that the driver's body needs to wind up on the centerline of the road after finishing the turn. Also do be especially careful with that first turn out of the driveway in the morning. I think my brain resets overnight. Remind yourself that righthand turns are across traffic in the US.

When turning and crossing, I always look both ways twice because the instinct is often to look the wrong way last. That applies to walking as well as driving.

And yes, you will try to get in on the wrong side of the car a few times.. and turn on the wipers instead of the signals.
mlgb is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the tips, Not sure why this was moved from the Lounge. There are other countries besides the US which drive on the right,

We have two vehicles at home, one is a Peugeot which has the indicators on the other side!! When we go between vehicles often end up turning on the wipers instead of the indicators. I think the driver always being on the centre line great advice.
nelsonian is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Have a great trip nelsonian! And please don't throw your trash out the window (I know you wouldn't) but evidently it's a problem in FL...Dukey?
Melnq8 is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 01:26 PM
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For turns, like for screws, "Righty tighty, Lefty loosey."
AJPeabody is online now  

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