How to Safely Drive a Right-Hand Sided Car

How to Safely Drive a Right-Hand Sided Car

If you’re travelling to the UK or Australia and are expecting to have to drive a car when you get there, you should probably prepare for driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Unlike the U.S. and most of Europe, these countries drive on the left side of the road, i.e. with the steering wheel on the right side of the car. Although this presents several unique challenges at first, it’s not that difficult and you quickly get accustomed to it. There are still several things you have to be wary of, but if you focus at first and get it down, it will stick with you for the remainder of your trip, so read on to find out how to safely drive right hand sided car

Get Used to the Controls


Although the pedal position is the same (clutch, brake, accelerator), the gear stick will be located on your left. You’ll therefore have to change gears with your left hand, and that does take some time to get used to. At first you’ll bump your right hand in the door panel to reach for the shifter, you’ll adapt to the new habit in a day or two.

Do note that the stalks are on the different side as well, i.e. the stalk on the right controls the indicators and the stalk on the left controls the windshield wipers. You’ll mix up the indicators and the windshield wipers the first couple of times, but if you think about it actively you’ll avoid doing the same mistake after the first 10 tries or so.

Driving in Traffic


Remember to stick on the left side of the road so as not to cause a head-on collision. Don’t worry, that’ll come pretty natural to you in a short while, but you’ll have to get used to placing your car in the middle of the road when sitting on the “wrong” side of the car. You’ll naturally steer off to the edge of the road because you’re not used to having the bulk of your car on your left side, but again, practice makes perfect.

If possible, get used to driving a right-hand sided car on a country road or somewhere where you won’t encounter a lot of traffic. Cities are quite crowded and difficult to drive. Getting used to driving a right-sided car is challenging as is, you don’t need to add more pressure by introducing traffic as well.

Obey the Traffic Rules


Don’t forget to obey the traffic rules and just take it easy. If you know that you have to stick to the left side of the road at the back of your mind at all times, you won’t have an issues with driving on the “wrong” side of the road.

If you’re not a rookie driver, you’ll get used to driving a right-sided car within mere minutes. Adapting to driving on the left of the road will take a little bit more time, but a day or two will see you master it. Just take it easy and you should be fine.

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