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Off topic: Driving on the same side of the road
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 01:34
Mar 26, 2012

If I could drive on the same side of the road around the world, I didn’t even mind driving on the left side...

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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:34
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
What side is your steering column on? Mar 26, 2012

Much of the adjustment to different-side driving has to do with whether you're in the appropriate design of vehicle with respect to the side people drive on. If you are, just remember that as the driver you always have to be on the side of the road closest to the center line or median!

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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 07:34
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Shifting Gears Mar 26, 2012

If you drive an automatic transmission, it may not really matter. However, if you drive a manual transmission like I do, shifting gears with your right hand (versus your left hand) is a matter of convenience plus a skill developed over time. I can not imagine myself shifting gears with my left hand. Maybe I am a bit oldfashioned. Isn't shifting the gears at least half the fun in driving?

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Alison Sparks  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:34
French to English
+ ...
Fun Mar 26, 2012

The real fun starts when you have a vehicle with the steering column on the wrong side for the country you have just arrived in and come to the first roundabout!

Otherwise the gear changing is no problem - either hand - but then the family always said I was 'ambiguous'


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Old Habits Mar 27, 2012

Old habits are hard to break. In my own case I have been driving for over 58 years, always on the right side. All my reactions are conditioned to that, so I would never even attempt to drive to the left under any circumstances. I would be in trouble immediately.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Boring Mar 27, 2012

I think I like it the way it is now, with people in some countries driving on the left hand-side. Travelling abroad is far more interesting this way!

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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 06:34
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
One of those brain things Mar 27, 2012

Apparently due to the hemisphere of your brain that you use for driving-type things, it makes more sense to drive on the right.

My experience is that this may be correct, because after having driven on the left for 20 years, I spent one week driving on the right and promptly went the wrong way around a (mini) roundabout when I got back to the UK.

I got better at switching, and at one point had two cars in France, one of which was left and one right-hand drive and could go from one to the other quite easily (ie hardly ever winding down the window instead of changing gear...)

Then again I do wonder whether at some level it's ingrained in my brain to drive on the left. It's been a very long time since I did so, but the other day after a particularly stressful day I set off down the street on the wrong side!


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 06:34
English to German
Habits ... Mar 27, 2012

Henry Hinds wrote:

Old habits are hard to break.


In Sweden they changed from left to right in 1967. 8 years later I was on holiday there. On lonely roads with oncoming traffic I often set the blinker on my right side, so that the Swedish drivers did not try to pass me on the wrong side.


All my reactions are conditioned to that, so I would never even attempt to drive to the left under any circumstances. I would be in trouble immediately.


Some time ago I travelled by car throughout the UK. It was no problem at all, except that my lifemate often shouted "Watch out! Go to the right, to the right!". OTOH I'd not use a LH-driven motor caravan in the UK: From within such a vehicle some overtakers are invisible.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:34
Italian to English
Practical differences Mar 27, 2012

Driving on the "wrong side of the road" sounds quite terrifying but in practice isn't that difficult at all.

If your steering wheel is nearside-mounted for the local roads, the main drawback is that sometimes you can't see to overtake safely. There's a plus side, though, on mountain roads where you get a much better idea of how close you are to the edge!


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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:34
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Driving across the border Mar 27, 2012

A nightmare: you drive high in the mountains / hills on the right-hand zigzag road, then cross the border and face the left-hand road ahead. I wonder if there are such places on the earth?

[Edited at 2012-03-27 10:47 GMT]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:34
Italian to English
Pre-1967 Sweden? Mar 27, 2012

Gennady Lapardin wrote:

A nightmare: you drive high in the mountains / hills on the right-hand zigzag road, then cross the border and face the left-hand road ahead. I wonder if there are such places on the earth?



Perhaps Sweden before 3rd September 1967?

Does anyone have any personal experience?


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 06:34
French to English
+ ...
It's the second week that's dangerous Mar 27, 2012

The first week, you worry about it. The second week is when you start to relax...

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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:34
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Apparently Kenya/Ethiopia Mar 27, 2012

Giles Watson wrote:

Gennady Lapardin wrote:

A nightmare: you drive high in the mountains / hills on the right-hand zigzag road, then cross the border and face the left-hand road ahead. I wonder if there are such places on the earth?



Does anyone have any personal experience?


No personal experience though.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:34
Hebrew to English
Kenya/Ethiopia border Mar 27, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

Giles Watson wrote:

Gennady Lapardin wrote:

A nightmare: you drive high in the mountains / hills on the right-hand zigzag road, then cross the border and face the left-hand road ahead. I wonder if there are such places on the earth?



Does anyone have any personal experience?


No personal experience though.


If I found myself in this part of the world (never gonna happen), I'd be more worried about getting kidnapped for ransom rather than what side of the road to be driving on.

...although it may be useful to know which side the kidnappers are most likely to attack from.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/kenya1


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George Hopkins
Local time: 06:34
Swedish to English
Wrong side Mar 27, 2012

When I moved to Sweden, long before they changed to driving on the right-hand side of the road, the steering column was on the left. Strange. I was told that this was most practical because the driver was closer to the side of the road and consequently there was less risk of driving into the ditch!
My wife failed the test for her driving license shortly before the changeover, but managed her second try a few days before the big day.
Everything went very smoothly indeed. The Swedes are very disciplined.
Vehicles in Sweden still have the driving wheel on the left side which is now the right side.

Some reasons for 'driving' on the left are now out of fashion.
However, one still usually leads a horse walking on its left side, ie, in sensible countries as far away from oncoming traffic as possible.
In olden times it was handier, for right-handed people on horseback, to keep to the left when meeting a possible adversary. Easier to get your sword out and use it.
One modern-day advantage of driving on the left is that you stand beside your bicycle away from oncoming traffic when mounting it.

Drive safely. My Swedish driving instructor told me:
You have no rights in traffic, only obligations.
Don't trust other people's signals.
Drive as if everybody else is an idiot.


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