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First Time Driving on the Left Side of the Road (Ep. 21)

It has remained a grand mystery all of my life. What is it like to drive on the left side of the road? And how easy would it be for me to do it?

My first step was to find some information on the Internet, but I wasn't finding any comfort and little constructive information.

So I just packed the bag, rented a car and took off on a road trip through Ireland and Scotland. My original plan was to drive an automatic in Ireland and a manual in Scotland.  In this episode, you'll find out how that turned out. You'll also hear my first 10 minutes prepping and driving out of the Dublin Airport.

The goal of this episode is to help you discover some techniques to help you prepare for your first left side drive, but it also is meant to help you hear my experience so you know it isn't tough to do. 

Here is what I will focus on:

My First Ten Minutes on the Road

  • The windshield wiper problem
  • The glory of the left hand turn
  • The art of following people
  • Dealing with cars whizzing by on the right
  • GPS, ADD and other initializations
  • The first roundabout

Challenges of the First Few Minutes

  • The major challenges subside early in the process
  • Having a spotter might have helped in certain side of the road
  • Automatic vs manual transmission
  • Know you're going to forget stuff and revert to old habits, don't beat yourself up
  • Rear view mirror out of place
  • Why it's good the steering wheel is on the other side of the car
  • Tha-thunk, tha-thunk. The riding the shoulder issue. Using the windshield and fender.

Dyslexia and Left Side Driving

  • Didn't really help but just requires the usual added focus
  • Cars parking in both directions on both sides
  • Jet lag, panic, and relying on backward instincts
  • Right hand turn willies

Awareness of When Right Side Driving Habits Return Unexpectedly

  • Motorway daze in the passing lane
  • Odd maneuvers and the distraction of accomplishment (remain present)
  • Frustration as a dangerous distraction, finding the golden nugget in a life of death situation
  • Single track (lane) roads and how to stop getting lulled into old habits
  • Fighting over-confidence

 More About Single Track Roads

  • A major part of what you'll deal with in Ireland and Scotland
  • Bridges and narrowing of roads
  • The art of negotiation
  • Blind hills
  • Passing places are not for parking
  • Back the bus up
  • The oil tanker and the single track road
  • Don't be an ass

Here is a video demonstrating how to handle single track roads

Roundabouts (Traffic Circles) in a Left Side Driving Country

  • Follow the arrows
  • Going the wrong way is actually a very unnatural maneuver
  • Leave your aggressive driving at home
  • About the dangers of roundabout fatigue

The Leap of Faith on Narrow Roads

  • Narrow roads can tense you up and have you praying for success
  • Remember, other drivers do this kind of driving daily
  • Softly staking out your lane
  • Don't let people (especially tailgaters) push you into uncomfortable or dangerous situations
  • Speed limits are a suggestion, drive to your comfort and to the elements

Final Suggestions

  • Don't drive tired or impared
  • Limit distractions
  • Visualize, watch other drivers before you drive, use Google Maps Street View
  • People will understand

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