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Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

London, United...
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Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

...so I now have another problem to worry about.

Because " her indoors" did not want us to travel down to theSouth of France go on Holday by Car this Year , we have needed to Hire a Car for when we arrive!

Whilst I have driven our own British car in France for many years, I have NEVER driven a Left Hand Drive Car ANYWHERE.

The thought of having to cope with this is now bordering on panic !

Has anyone got any advice to offer to allay fears...if it is possible.

I would be grateful for any practical advice please.


London, United...
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1. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

It's easier than driving your own car because your sight lines are better.

If the gear change concerns you , choose an automatic.

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2. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

As you have driven in France before you have experience of driving on the right so that will help you.

Coming from Australia,the first time I drove a left hand drive vehicle in France the following things were the major challenges -knowing where the right side of the car is in relation to the edge of the road (especially tricky with country roadside ditches and when roads are narrow with brick walls!)and difficulty using the indicators (accidentally turning on the windscreen wipers instead of the indicators).

I had to remind myself to go onto the right side when I exited carparks.I automatically wanted to go on the left side of the road.

So I think you will be fine.Would you consider hiring an automatic? Although not so easy to come by ,I think they are much easier for people who are used to right hand drive cars.

West Yorkshire...
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for Family Travel
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3. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

I have had to do this too. It doesn't take lomg to get used to gear changing with the other hand. That's the only difference.

Both me and my husband now have automatics. Lazy. Sp when we need a hire car in Spain or wherever we hire an auto. Costs more but it's easier.

London, United...
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4. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

Many thanks to all 3 of you for your prompt response. I am grateful.

I have in fact reserved an Automatic just to make the process that much easier and to be able to concentrate on the actual driving. Although I am well experienced in both manual and automatic gear driving.

I saw the problem being, having to drive on the the left side of the car and the lining up of sight and adjustment between the road centre line which I will be NOW BE NEXT TO ......and the the nearside of the road being on the right, which I admit is there anyway when I drive my own car, but being on the LEFT SIDE OF THE CAR THAT I AM DRIVING is surely going to give me A TOTALLY new perspective

That is if you can you understand what I am rattling on about.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

There are 2 big things for me when I drive in the UK (I live in Canada)... I have to be careful when pulling out of a parking lot or whatever onto the street. My natural tendency is to go for the lane I'm used to at home. I have to remind myself that as the driver I need to be nearest the middle of the road.

Gear changing is a bit odd at first using my left hand. But after years of driving standard transmissions I'm used to first being up near my right knee and 5th well away from me and up. So I blow a few shifts until I get used to 'first is farthest'.

My wife has carte blanche to nag or remind me if she thinks I'm about to get into the wrong lane or whatever.

You can give 'her indoors' the same job to keep you on the straight and narrow Mr Daley. ;^)

Paris, France
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6. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

I drive all 4 combinations of cars and countries and it's not that difficult. I have found this little windscreen sticker to be a useful reminder:


It doesn't help you with which side of the car the steering wheel is on, but it does help with the country's side of road.

Montpellier, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier
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7. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

I've driven both sides in UK and Europe for many years. I once had a LHD whilst living in UK and then had a RHD classic car in Belgium.

Takes a while to get used to driving to the airport in a LHD car, then a few hours later driving on the other side in a RHD car.

I find even now the main problem is your brain. You believe you are sat in one side of the car and the car is on the other side (if that makes sense !). I find you tend to drive too close to the kerb, misposition the car turning right in UK, left in Europe. The worst problem when sat on the wrong side is reversing into parking spaces.

London, United...
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8. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

Thanks again you 2.

Points taken and appreciated.

9. Re: Driving a Left Hand Frive Car for the First time

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