Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 41

Thread: How hard is it to drive on the left?

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    Driving on left not a problem unless you get a stick shift, then you will have some fun. Biggest trouble I had was in parking lots.
    This raises a good point, if you are not comfortable with a standard transmission/stick shift, make sure your rental agency can have an automatic available for you.

    I have been to several countries where 90% of vehicles or more are standard transmission. In France they told me they only stocked a few automatics for Americans because by and large, Americans were the only customers that did not know how to drive a stick. Driving a stick seems to be another dying skill, at least in the US.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    This raises a good point, if you are not comfortable with a standard transmission/stick shift, make sure your rental agency can have an automatic available for you.

    I have been to several countries where 90% of vehicles or more are standard transmission. In France they told me they only stocked a few automatics for Americans because by and large, Americans were the only customers that did not know how to drive a stick. Driving a stick seems to be another dying skill, at least in the US.
    Automatic transmissions (formerly known as "slush boxes") have gotten so good in recent years that there's no longer any reason to pay attention to the alternative. Driving a stick is becoming increasingly associated with poverty.

    Kind of like turning up your nose at anti-lock brakes, IMO.
    Last edited by Doug Dawson; 05-13-2019 at 4:23 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    446
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    ... Biggest trouble I had was in parking lots.
    We are planning to drive on an upcoming trip and I've been researching possible issues. You remind me of a big one: Make sure you know how to put the car in reverse before you leave the rental car agency! Apparently, now that manual transmission have 6 to 8+ gears the (US) traditional H-pattern isn't used and that leaves reverse needing unstandardized tricks. Examples I've read about are 2nd lever, hold button put it in first, and hold button and put it in OD.

    Several sources say this is a common problem. (Plus, my wife had a coworker admit to never finding reverse on one trip. He apparently avoided backing as much as possible and just pushed the car when it was unavoidable.)

  4. #19
    We spent 2 weeks in Britain and Scotland and we drove for much of the trip. The first day is terrifying, the second day is better an by the third day you can actually look out the side once in a while and see some of the country. YMMV. Roundabouts are fun...Their main roads aren't bad, the secondary roads get to be quite narrow and the Lorries (Large Trucks) don't seem to car which side of the center line the put their wheels. You have to think each time you stop at some place or turn so that your old U.S. driving habits don't put you in the wrong lane. Having the steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle helps, though whoever is driving may automatically walk to the other side of the car at times.

    If you make an error, be sure to politely wave and say you are sorry, it goes a long way with the local drivers.

    Make sure you know where the gas fill is located.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    48,767
    I managed pretty well in Ireland a number of years ago when we drove the Ring of Kerry, staying in B&Bs along the way. The roundabouts were the hardest, especially at first, and it took conscious effort to "look the correct way" at intersections. I also managed to survive similar in Bermuda a couple of times on rental bikes. As long as you pay attention and think before you do, you should get reasonably comfortable pretty quickly.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    3,453
    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    We are planning to drive on an upcoming trip and I've been researching possible issues. You remind me of a big one: Make sure you know how to put the car in reverse before you leave the rental car agency!
    48 years ago my grandfather and I went to Europe and rented a car. He insisted that I drive, even though I had never driven a manual before. I figured it out sort of, but never could get it into reverse; so I had to make sure I never needed reverse. Fortunately I knew how to use a manual choke because my lawnmower had one.
    A few years later a girlfriend taught me how to properly use the clutch. Boy what a difference that made!

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,987
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    ... Having the steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle helps, though whoever is driving may automatically walk to the other side of the car at times.
    Ha! The first time I went to the Caymans it was with a scuba diving group. We shared rooms and my roommate and I decided to rent a car and see the sights. His personality was "me first" and as we walked out to get the car for the first time he rushed around to the left side while I, walking behind, sauntered up to the right side and got in the driver's seat. He was not a happy guy! (Well, the self-centered and impatient often seem unhappy in life. )

    JKJ

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    1,409
    I'm blessed/cursed with right/left dyslexia (or whatever it might be called), really have to think hard to tell my right from my left. I have absolutely no trouble or transition switching sides when driving as long as I'm in a right hand drive car when driving left and left hand drive car when driving on the right. The "rule" is exactly the same either way, keep the side of the car where your body is toward the centerline. All the geometry then stays exactly the same. If I had to constantly think about left and right I'd run straight into a tree.

    It's fortunate that they keep the pedals in the same order, I have no problem shifting with either hand (too cheap to rent an automatic in England!), but flipping the brakes and clutch would really mess me up!

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,987
    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    It's fortunate that they keep the pedals in the same order, I have no problem shifting with either hand (too cheap to rent an automatic in England!), but flipping the brakes and clutch would really mess me up!
    I was thankful for that too! Imagine if they just mirror-imaged the whole car and put the gas/acceleration pedal on the left and the clutch by the door to be worked with the right foot! We and those who visited here from Great Britain would probably all crash before we got out of the car rental parking lot!

    JKJ

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,075
    Ive been to Dominica. Did not drive there, but there are some densely populated areas in the towns with lots of pedestrians, bikes, trucks, carts and other non-car vehicles. Outside of town there were people walking in the not-so-great roads, etc. So definitely a challenge.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    9,377
    I find it much easier on a motorcycle than in a car. Interestingly, on a motorcycle the side stand is actually meant for left hand driving.

    That said, once you drive a bit you'll get used to it.........Rod.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    near San Diego: unincorporated section of county
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    Driving on left not a problem unless you get a stick shift, then you will have some fun. Biggest trouble I had was in parking lots.
    I agree, shifting gears with left hand was the hardest part. At least the clutch was still a left foot pedal, gas/brake on right foot. Had a rental car in Scotland and all cars were manual transmissions.
    Last edited by James Baker SD; 05-15-2019 at 9:02 PM. Reason: additional info

  13. #28
    I always joked a frontal lobotomy was required to drive on the wrong side of the road, but being careful & paying attention would be paramount in any unfamiliar situation. Calling a manual transmission a "standard" trans, is a stretch now considering a lot of vehicles are only available with automatics, I developed a huge dislike of manuals driving a F150 w/ a 5 speed in Houston & Dallas. Another bad place to drive a manual is in San Fransisco.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Wilmette, IL
    Posts
    192
    I was taught by an English friend to drive such that the passenger is in the ditch, in other words always put the passenger side on the side of the road and you can not go wrong. That said, I was flying back from my last trip to Scotland and an older couple were helped on the plane, both using walkers. Ok, in conversation with the gentleman while waiting for the toilet to open, it seems they were driving along, some sort of emergency/alarm/sudden decision point occurred and he did what 45 years of American driving told him to do, they both ended up with broken pelvises and apparently serious legal repercussion as well. My personal rule is I don't drive outside North America.

  15. #30
    I live in the UK .You may find the link below helpful

    Roundabouts are probably the most difficult aspect of driving on the left if your chosen county has them

    https://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/chan...or-roundabouts

    Additionally I would contact car rental companies in your chosen destination to see if they have any fact sheets

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •