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Driving On Opposite Side

Discussion in 'North America' started by Quazi, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    How long does it take you to naturally settle into driving on the oppisite side of the road?

    I imagine roudabouts would take the longest going round the wrong way!
  2. GenevB

    GenevB New Member

    I have had a vacation in Australia at my cousin, who is established there, he said that it took him about 3 months to get used, but for me it just seemed too much, I felt like I could've get used in only 3 weeks or so, as I was the one who made him pay attention to everything in the traffic back then. Once you get in the car, and look at the road, everything seems a lot more logical and normal than you can imagine now.
  3. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    I cannot imagine myself driving in the opposite way. My orientation is American which is on the right side of the road. One time we were rushing to the Universal Studio in Singapore to get ahead of the opening in avoiding long lines. As I boarded the taxi, I pointed to my husband to take the front seat because we have the 2 kids with me at the back. And my husband was trying to pull the door of driver. It was laughter that followed but it's a simple indication that we can make big mistakes in driving when our orientation is the opposite. Maybe it is best to just hire a driver.
  4. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    What concerns me is when your at that stage of driving where you're in auto pilot and looking around, checking things in an instinctive way: you're not actively thinking what you should do just doing what you've always done, which of course would be different on the opposite side!

    I do some of my best thinking while driving (some would say it's the only time I think :p ) so could easily forget about being on the opposite side of the road when I turn at a giveway :p

    Makes me sound like a bad driver, I'm not, just I'm very steady and drive in a sort of routine
  5. Valerie

    Valerie Active Member

    I have yet to try, honestly. I am absolutely terrified of driving anyway, so even the thought of attempting to drive against the norm is mind-boggling. I do have experience as a passenger of cars driving on the opposite side of the road than what I am used to. Everytime a car passed the passenger side I winced.

    So I'll stick to the pedestrian life for now haha.
  6. Myrr

    Myrr Member

    That posed of a problem for me when I first stepped foot on Singapore. It took me a while to get adjusted to the road. Even crossing the street was a challenge. I always look to the left when I should be looking at the other side. :D
  7. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Oh man - it took me a long while. I traveled Australia and NZ and being from the States I was used to driving on the right side of the road with all the controls on the left hand side of the car. Flip that on it's side and I was constantly using the windshield wipers instead of my turn signal - and I had to make a really conscious effort to remember to stick to the correct side of the road. I am not one of those people that can adapt to it seamlessly!
    Quazi likes this.
  8. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    I've drove in other countries and I do find it a challenge, I have to admit. Being from and living in the UK, it's something that I've had to deal with as there's a lot of countries that drive on the opposite side of the road than what we do.

    You get used to it eventually, but even now I struggle with roundabouts for example as you just automatically look the way you've been taught and the way your used to, and there's been a few near misses in the past when I've been driving on the continent.
  9. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    The roundabouts are exactly where I think I'd write a car off!
    What is the stance with UK lisences and driving round Europe?
    pwarbi likes this.
  10. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    The stance is that if you hold a valid UK driving licence, then you're allowed to drive in any EU country (or EEA country) and that's it. There's no special tests or anything else you have to pass.

    To rent a car in some countries you have unto be 21 but that's just for their own insurance purposes, not for any safety aspect.
  11. GemmaRowlands

    GemmaRowlands New Member

    I will be honest - I will avoid driving abroad whenever possible. It isn't too bad if you hire a car over there, but I have been to Europe in my own car in the past (I am from the UK) and I found that very confusing with my driver's seat still being where it is. However, when I absolutely have to, I find that I have to pay a lot of attention to what I'm doing, or I'm just all over the road. After a week or so I sort of settle into it, but it's never as comfortable as it is to drive when I am at home!
    pwarbi likes this.
  12. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 Active Member

    The funny thing is, now with the EU regulations in place, if you move to another country you can simply switch out your drivers license. Nothing to do, no lessons to take, just an administrative effort. I know you were talking about traveling there, and you can of course drive with your UK license, but I think it's quite odd that you can just switch it over (if you move permanently) even though you have driven on the other side of the road for all your life.

    I have driven on "the wrong side" a couple of times. It's not THAT bad but you really have to stay concentrated 24/7 and think about what you are going to do instead of the whole "I've done this a million times" way I drive around most of the time. It's kinda like driving for the first time again: you go slower, you're really careful and you look way ahead of you and start planning on what you are going to do at that intersection or whatever else you see coming.
  13. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    I've never driven ouside the UK so wasn't paying attention, but do you know of any road markings or signs that may not be obvious with what they mean to a non native driver?
    Or are similar signs pretty common throughout the EU?
  14. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 Active Member

    You'll be fine. I've never driven in the UK so hard to say if there are differences, but most of the time in Europe it's all pretty similar. It's common to find signs with slightly different images and colors but you will understand what the sign is trying to say.
  15. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    It does take a lot of getting used to, and it still surprises me that there isn't any formal test or training that you have to take, before they let you loose on the roads.

    I wonder if the UK does decide to leave the EU, just what changes that would make to this system that's in place now though?
  16. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    @pwarbi I think things like that are possible but it would become a ruling both sides would take up.
    So is France did it, UK would do it to French citizens here. So EU countries would have to put up with whatever ruling they came up with against their own citizens here.

    The Telegraph did a great article on what could happen if we left the EU.
  17. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 Active Member

    None when it comes to driving on holidays etc. You can already drive pretty much anywhere in the world with your drivers license as long as it's an official license and you are there on a short term stay. Failing that, you can get your hands on an international driving permit (it's easy at least in most western countries, just need to request it) which is accepted in almost every country on the planet.
  18. djordjem87

    djordjem87 Member

    Since I am not a driver I didn't have any issues with that but as a pedestrian I was in a bit of a pickle so to say. I was on Malta where they drive the same as Britons. When you're new somewhere you don't pick up all the habits at once. So I was used to, when crossing a boulevard to check left and then right. However, it is the other way around and it was very close several times. In time I got used to it and after two years there it was quite a habit. The problem was when I got back to Serbia and to the normal system. It was very close as well several times.
  19. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    Same thing nearly happened to me and my partner in Paris, we just didn't think. Funny how much we work on habit and not fully aware all the time.

    I laughed when you reffered to Serbia as the normal system :p Easy to forget we're all stuck in ways that we're used to and to others that could be odd :)
  20. Norjak71

    Norjak71 New Member

    I'd never get used to it, same as driving with the wheel on the other side. Your bred to do something one way learning to do it another would be near impossible. Think of all the accidents you might cause I'd never forgive myself. I'm more than comfortable right where I am :)