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Rye Miles #13621

Driving in England

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I was watching a movie the other night on TCM and it was set in England. I forgot the name but there was a lot of car scenes and a couple chases. It got me thinking did any of you ever drive in England? I think I'd have a crash in less than two minutes!!

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Have driven in the Azores, Bermuda, & the UK — left-side driving places.
 

Really wasn’t too bad, except you really had to watch yourself making turns at intersections, pulling out of a drive, getting out of a parked car, that sort of thing. That’s where most people screwed it up. Especially if you were driving a regular American car (military vehicle). 

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My wife and I went to England a few years ago to visit her second cousin. As she had driven there before and I hadn't, she insisted that she drive the rental car. Well, after hitting the curb edge on two driveways, bending the rim and getting a flat, she said that maybe I had better drive.

 

I only made two mistakes and they were at the same T intersection in the small village where her cousin lived. I turned right and stayed in the right lane!:wacko:

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I drove on the left in the Virgin Islands in a car and on scooters. I really didn’t like it. Talk about disorientation! 
Twice in one day I nearly rode my scooter into an oncoming car. :blink:
 

The first time I rode in a car (taxi) where people drove on the left was on the Island of Mauritius. It’s not so bad as the passenger. 

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47 minutes ago, Ozark Huckleberry said:

Have driven in the Azores, Bermuda, & the UK — left-side driving places.
 

Really wasn’t too bad, except you really had to watch yourself making turns at intersections, pulling out of a drive, getting out of a parked car, that sort of thing. That’s where most people screwed it up. Especially if you were driving a regular American car (military vehicle). 

Japan drives on the wrong side, too, but I adapted in a few weeks.

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I've been there three times (by the way, I LOVE going to the UK, but Scotland has been my favorite thus far).  In sum total, I've spent about a month driving over there.  With the driver's seat being on the opposite side as we are used to, it forces you to remember where the car is supposed to be (keep the steering wheel next to the center line).  Almost all cars are manual transmissions, too, but I jumped in and started driving right away and shifting with my left hand, no problem.

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Right side steering wheel and a manual tranny takes a good bit of time getting use to.

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5 minutes ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

I drove and rode a bicycle in Australia. No problem.

Explain how to drive a bicycle, please. :P

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 ..... well, ......... I once tried to drive in the US once .........

 

 

  ........ OMG We're all gonna die !!!

 

:unsure:

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Howdy,

I heard Japan was set up for driving on the right after WWII.

As soon as the yanks left the whole country converted back

to drive on left.  

I heard.

Best

CR

 

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I've got about 8 weeks of driving in Britain spread out over several trips. All over England and once in Scotland. I've driven in and out of central London twice, which is an experience. 

 

My first time was with the wife and kids in 1987 heading out of London to the West country. I was pretty terrified; rented the car in the heart of London, studied the map like a madman, had my oldest daughter as a navigator (this was long, long before GPS stuff). Success!

 

I found it pretty easy to adjust. With the controls on the right, your sensorium 'flips' so to speak and it works. You do have to be thoughtful, especially in towns with lots of turns.  I think it would be very hard with American-style left-sided controls. In addition, I've done it with manual transmission with zero problems. 

 

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I was there about a year or two ago.   Learning to drive on the left came pretty naturally to me, but I will say that having a right hand drive car made it more intuitive.   Also, while I can handle a stick shift, I did not want to have to mess with one while concentrating on staying on the left side of the rode.   Thus, I had to be sure to special order an automatic from the rental company.   Over there, 90% plus of drivers still use a manual transmission.


And of course, the damn rotaries at every intersection, or "roundabouts" as they insist on calling them, didn't bother me.   We've got the irritating things everywhere here in New England too.   Course, we're trying to figure out how to get rid of them...

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19 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Right side steering wheel and a manual tranny takes a good bit of time getting use to.

Went to Ireland with a very dear friend.  She did the driving& I flew right seat.  She did very well.  One tip we got was: always park in the direction you plan to leave.  Surprising how something so simple proved so helpful.  The hardest part, as navigator, was getting her to change lanes in a roundabout.

Baby Girl took to it just fine in England, but she's left-handed, so....

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Stationed in N. Ireland and Scotland for 3 years, my biggest problem was coming back to

U. S. and relearning how to drive  here.

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1 hour ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

  Also, while I can handle a stick shift, I did not want to have to mess with one while concentrating on staying on the left side of the rode.   Thus, I had to be sure to special order an automatic from the rental company.   Over there, 90% plus of drivers still use a manual transmission.

 

We had reserved a car in Edinburgh on one trip with automatic tranny. There were none in when we went to pick up, and wouldn't be for several hours. The guy offered me a manual with a whole bunch of money off if I didn't want to wait. I took the deal and had no problems. The stick on the left becomes 'automatic' very quickly. By that time, though, I'd already driven in the UK two or three times and wasn't worried about it anymore.

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As others have mentioned it’s a lot easier when you are in a car with right hand drive. Right away you know something is “wrong” as soon as you are behind the wheel. And this is after you and your passenger have each tried to get into the wrong side of the car for the umteenth time!  Old habits die hard. It was a bit tricker on a motorcycle.  I made a few mistakes early but fortunately no accidents.  In a car you are still sitting next to the centerline of the road so it’s pretty natural. 
 

The biggest danger of visiting such places is when you are a pedestrian.  Out of habit you begin to cross a street while looking to the left just as you’d do at home knowing that part way across you’ll look to the right where you expect traffic to come from once you reach the centerline. WRONG!  Lots of foreign tourists get killed each year doing that; clobbered as soon as they step into traffic. Some major intersections even have LOOK RIGHT painted prominently on the curb to keep this from happening. Almost happened to me right in front of Buckingham Palace our last trip there. Wife grabbed me just in time!  So don’t worry about the perils of driving on the wrong side of the road, you’ll probably get killed walking to the car rental office!  
 

Seamus

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34 minutes ago, Seamus McGillicuddy said:

 And this is after you and your passenger have each tried to get into the wrong side of the car for the umteenth time!  

 

I'd forgotten that! Yeah, did that a lot.

 

You sure are right about looking to the right first when crossing on foot. Super important.

 

Winston Churchill was nearly killed in the '30s in New York by not looking left while a pedestrian. Was in the hospital for awhile.

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I spent 3 weeks bicycling in England and Ireland a while back. Could never figure how to bike a roundabout. Always put the bike on my shoulder and ran across it. The hardest thing is being a pedestrian in London and looking the wrong way when crossing a street. Too easy to get flattened in the center of the place with all the circles, squares, etc.

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4 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

And of course, the damn rotaries at every intersection, or "roundabouts" as they insist on calling them, didn't bother me. 

 

We had one issue with the first roundabout we encountered. This was before GPS was common and we had printed out the directions to the village where my wife's cousin lived on Mapquest before we left the US.

 

However, Mapquest printed the directions for the US system, e.g. driving on the right. So, the directions said "take the first exit" on the roundabout. We did and after about six miles, we realized we were going the wrong way. (It was only two miles to the village from the roundabout.) It should have said "take the third exit".

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We had a TomTom with the rental on our last visit a few years ago. I loved that dulcet British lass's voice saying, 're-calculating' when I'd miss my turn.

 

As for me,  a lot of driving in Britain made me a fan of roundabouts, and personally I like the fact that we now see a lot more of them here. Keeps the traffic moving at busy intersections.

 

Being in a huge London roundabout, like Picadilly Circus in London, is something else; the things are 10 lanes deep. You get relaxed; if you miss your turn, just keep working outward until you make it. It ain't going anywhere.

 

I crack up every time I see that roundabout scene in European Vacation! Been there....

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On 4/7/2020 at 9:25 PM, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Right side steering wheel and a manual tranny takes a good bit of time getting use to.

I drove for a week once in Antigua. Fortunately no manual tranny. Pretty much thought it sucked, esp. those $%% Brit roundy rounds. And every time I'd try to signal a turn the windshield wipers came on for some strange reason. :lol:

JHC

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Like Rye we watch a lot of British shows.  Every time a car drives down a road I get all excited and can't figure out how it's moving without a driver. 

 

I would never try it myself, that's for sure 

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Curious about the pedals on a standard shift English car, is the gas, brake and clutch set up the same as an American car or opposite?:huh:

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1 hour ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

Curious about the pedals on a standard shift English car, is the gas, brake and clutch set up the same as an American car or opposite?:huh:

 

Same. Fortunately....

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2 hours ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

Curious about the pedals on a standard shift English car, is the gas, brake and clutch set up the same as an American car or opposite?:huh:

Pedals are like in USA.  IIRC Australia has turn signals and lights on thre left of the steering wheel and wipers on the right, but in some countries it’s the other way around.

 

in Russia they drive on the right but in Siberia half the cars are right hand drive because so many used cars come from Japan.

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I once owned a '72 BMW Bavaria. Left hand drive, but turn signal stalk on was on the right side of the steering wheel and the left stalk was for high beams. Took some getting used to as our 2nd car had the conventional layout.

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