#11 – Left-hand driving. »Oh my God, I would never want to use a right-hand-drive car in left-hand traffic!« – that’s what many of my friends say when I tell them that we use to rent cars for our trips to Great Britain. Believe me, it’s not as difficult as it seems. The first time I experienced left-hand driving was in 1986, when I brought my first own car, a VW Beetle, to Great Britain for a two-week camping vacation. This car, of course, had a continental left-hand-drive – and it was indeed tricky to sit on the familiar seat, but to drive on the »wrong« side of the road.
During my second holiday in Great Britain in 2003 I rented a local car for the first time and experienced it to be totally different to drive on the left while sitting on the right. My brain instantly seemed to categorize this kind of driving as something completely new and, let’s say, »created a new folder on my mind’s hard drive« for this behavioural pattern. It’s not »sitting in a familiar car, but driving on the ‘wrong’ lane« but »sitting in the appropriate car for driving on the left«. Meanwhile, I’ve covered over a thousand miles in British cars on British streets – and it’s as familiar to me as driving in Germany. There are just a few things to keep in mind:
- In roundabouts, the traffic direction is clockwise
- Remember to stay on the left lane when turning off on a t-crossing on quiet roads
- Remember to stay on the left lane after turning over
- Remember to pull over to the left when you meet another car on a narrow road without marking
- Remember to take the left lane after a break on an outlying rest stop
- Look at traffic signs more attentively than usual