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  1. #1

    Default right hand driving

    This might seem funny to some but I am going to Australia in a few months and am wondering how the heck I'm going to do driving on the "other side" of the road/car. Any tips??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default Always, always, look to your right!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhippieman View Post
    Any tips??
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Always be aware of your instincts (& ignore them) -- not not really, but you have to remember to always, always look to your right. More Americans have been killed at street corners than just about any other way when they are crossing the street. If you can get an automatic rental car -- It is just "wrong" to shift with your left hand. Don't put your driving elbow out of the window -- there is actually some law against it. It is vaguely unsettling to enter round-abouts backwards --- you are going to have fun....

    Mark

  3. #3
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    Yeah,, no right turns.

    Seriously, we avoid that entirely.
    We take cabs or public transportation.
    Sweden switched the entire nation to left hand drive overnite (with an advance program in effect) solely on the strength of tourists not getting the hang of right hand drive.

    Good luck though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default You make right turns all of the time

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross & Alice View Post
    Yeah,, no right turns
    No, that is not correct. One has to "look right" all of the time, because that is where the traffic is coming from (as opposed from the left where "we" are used to seeing it). But drivers still make right and left turns -- just like here (as long as one turns into the correct lanes)/
    Seriously, we avoid that entirely.
    That doesn't sound like much fun. I like challenging driving....

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default Tips from an expert

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    It is vaguely unsettling to enter round-abouts backwards
    I managed to do just that after leaving the M25 one evening... spilt diesel, rear wheel drive and a little over-enthusiastic use of the loud pedal didn't mix! lol.

    In all seriousness, you'll be fine. As has been said just get yourself an auto box and you'll be good. Just remember, take your time to get used to it, rather than zooming out of the airport at 80mph and hitting the freeway.

    The only time I have ever gone wrong when driving on the 'wrong' side of the road (ie on the right!!) was in a supermarket car park. The road signs and lineage make it next to impossible to go wrong on the public highway, just watch where you're going once you start getting (over) confident.

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    No, that is not correct.
    I'm guessing here, but maybe the previous poster was referring to turning right on a red signal (or left in this case) -- the single greatest idea in US motoring... why we don't allow that over here, I have no idea.

    Now, if you were to ask me about those dreadful four-way stop thingies... OMG! I'll never get the hang of those dreadful things! Why not install roundabouts?!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default Maybe not entirely impossible....

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Antill View Post
    The road signs and lineage make it next to impossible to go wrong on the public highway, just watch where you're going
    Well, I can state with 100% accuracy that it is possible to get in the wrong lane going the wrong direction. Not a prudent thing -- darn exciting actually.
    I'm guessing here, but maybe the previous poster was referring to turning right on a red signal (or left in this case)
    I stand corrected -- yes, it is likely that Ross & Alice were referring to this...

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    Oh, I don't doubt it's possible, it is a constant source of embarassment for us Brits when driving on the continent... soooo many of us manage to cock it up! I think though that you just have to find a happy medium of managing to relax into driving in an 'alien' environment whilst not becoming too comfortable in your surroundings that you forget entirely where you are.

    Actually, I lied in my post above. I now remember overshooting my turning somewhere in the middle of France and, as I was driving a 10 metre motorhome, I decided that the easiest way to turn around was to reverse into a side turning before heading back the way that I had come. Unfortunately I felt rushed by someone who was indicating to turn into the road which I was blocking, and managed to tear off up the road for several hundred yards on the wrong side... with me wondering what my passengers were screaming about!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Traffic Circles are still my bane

    I haven't had that much problem with the right or left turns -- my mind easily wraps around those reverse issues, but remembering where to exit on traffic circles with traffic zipping around in a seemingly haphazard manner nearly always gives me pause. Especially at night. I see in a previous post that you actually prefer round-abouts over stop signs??? Yikes!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-26-2007 at 10:00 AM.

  9. #9

    Default

    I found switching to the "wrong" side easy enough in America last year. If you're following traffic the guy in front is obviously a constant reminder… And at junctions road markings will help.

    A much bigger concern in Australia (depending on where you're going to be driving) is likely to be the condition of the more rural roads. Out of the cities (and major routes connecting the biggest cities) the roads often aren't paved, believe it or not. I did about 1,000 miles when I was there on dirt roads and it's quite challenging.

    Worse still is the insane amount of wildlife you can encounter, especially after dark. Here in Scotland I maybe see one fox a night; on the roads in Australia it was at least one creature per minute at the roadside. I somehow managed "only" to hit one thing, a wombat, but there's a mixture of roos and wallabys (which you really don't wanna hit at 50mph) and a bunch of smaller stuff constantly coming into your periphery, forcing you to make judgements about whether or not they're going to dash out in front of you. But added to the extra difficulty you face on dirt tracks if you do decide to brake or steer around them, it's very fatiguing.

    One more thing: if you manage to negotiate the tunnels under Sydney harbour successfully, you're a cleverer chap than me.

  10. Default Australian roads

    Yep, we're a dangerous country all right - wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, camels, horses, cattle, rabbits, mice....anything can leap out of the dark right at ya. But once a minute????? Hmmmm. And where are these unpaved roads between the major cities? If you try hard, you'll find them. Fact is, though, that you can drive right around Australia, connecting all the major cities on, you guessed it, a paved road. It was all connected up in, ahem, 1988. It's called Highway 1. Swerving on a gravel road to miss one of those creatures, however, is a bit more than fatiguing - you're likely to wrap yourself around a tree. By the way, what happened to your car when you hit a wombat? These critters are as solid as a pig.

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