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7 Tips for Driving on the Left

Angela Borden | Dec 21, 2020

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Are you planning a trip to a destination where they drive on the wrong side of the road?

Sorry, I mean left side of the road. If you’re a little freaked out about doing this (like I was), rest assured that it can be done safely with mostly minimal stress. Yes, that’s right, I did not say stress free. I have to be honest — I’m not certain that’s possible.

If you think you will never encounter a situation where you'll be driving on the left, you might be surprised! It’s interesting to look at a list of countries based on which side of the road driving is done. Most of the world drives on the right (my personal preference), but there are quite a few large countries and popular vacation destinations where driving on the left is the law. Here’s a quick listing of just a few: Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, India, Bahamas, Bermuda, Virgin Islands (U.S. and British).

I did it, and you can too.

My husband and I recently took a trip to Ireland. It’s absolutely beautiful there, and one of the best ways to see as much as possible in as little time as possible, is to rent a car and set out on your own. That being said, it is an adjustment to drive on the opposite side of the road. Also, the driver’s side is reversed, so the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. We were there for 9 days, and every single morning, we’d walk to the wrong side of the car. The driver for the day walked to the passenger side, and vice versa. Old habits die hard.

  1. Choose an automatic transmission when you reserve your rental car.
  2. Now is not the time to learn how to drive a stick (if you don’t know already). If you do know how to drive a manual transmission, remember that you will have to change gears with your left hand, because the steering wheel is reversed.

  3. When driving on the interstate, highway or motorway, the passing lane is the right lane, not the left.
  4. Slower traffic keeps left, and you want to stay in the left lane unless you are passing. This was pretty easy to get used to doing.

  5. Always remember, “left to left.”
  6. This one sounds weird, but it works! Intersections are the trickiest part of driving on the left. When you are approaching an intersection that requires you to make a turn (whether right or left), repeat this mantra to yourself — “left to left.” This works no matter which way you are turning — you have to stay left always. The biggest challenge for me was making left turns. I found I wanted to cross traffic as I normally would here in the states.

  7. Look, look, look!
  8. You’re crossing traffic when you make a right turn so you’ve got to remember to look both ways. Tip #3 helps with this.

  9. Take or rent some type of a GPS, whether it’s a Garmin or an app for your phone.
  10. Chances are you won’t know where you are going, and it’s one less thing for you to worry about.

  11. Be prepared for roundabouts.
  12. You may not encounter them where you are going, but we ran into them frequently in Ireland. Thankfully, we were used to driving in them because our hometown has quite a few. During our trip to Ireland, we ran into some Americans who had never seen a roundabout, and they were rather perplexed by them. Go through them slowly and remember, they flow to the left, not the right when you’re driving on the left side of the road.

  13. Be extra alert all the time.
  14. This one really goes without saying but especially rings true when driving through a city or town. Also, intersections can throw you off. To help with this, I think it’s better if you have a passenger who is also paying attention. It’s the one time when it’s helpful to have a back seat driver (don’t tell my husband I said that).That may not be possible if you are traveling alone so you’ll have to find other ways to keep yourself wide awake and focused on your driving.

Above all, have fun while you’re traveling. With a little planning ahead, you can master driving on the left side of the road!

Now, I hate to be a downer, but have you thought about what you would do if you had an accident or got hurt while driving overseas? Consider purchasing travel insurance and take the worry out of traveling. Seven Corners offers trip protection plans which cover your trip costs (if you must cancel, interrupt or delay your trip), medical expenses (your health insurance in the U.S. may not cover you abroad), and your luggage (delayed, lost, or stolen).

Check out our options for your trip and happy travels!

Peace of mind is one click away.

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