driving on the left...
how long did it take you to adjust?
It took me about five minutes, it took my partner a couple of weeks. I have to say that it was way eaier than I thought it would be. The only think to be careful of is coming in and out of parking lots, or making turns in the beginning. You have to make sure to concentrate to see where you are supposed to go. And please don't drive in the middle of the road like many do until you are COMPLETELY in sync with driving on the left. I almost got hit by someone, we were both coming around blind corners, and they swerved towards me by accident, instead of away to the left as they should have.
The first time down there, almost everytime I pulled out onto a side street, I found myself on the wrong side.
The second time , I only did the same thing about 3 times, and now and then in a parking lot I found myself on the wrong side.
The third time, I didn't do it at all, except for the parking lot.:)
After a month in Nov/Dec, I didn't do it at all again, and only 1 time in a parking lot. But when I got back, twice I found myself on the wrong side of the road here:). Only on side streets. 🙂 The first time, I was about to make a left turn on red turn, when I realized I was going to turn into the wrong lane. Then I realized I was in the wrong lane as well!:) I am always finding myself wanting to be on the wrong side in parking lots??? Go figure??? And when I back out of my drive way, I have to think about which side to drive on.
I guess Freud would say that my selfconsious just want to be down there.
You just have to keep telling yourself to stay on the left. make a sign and tape it to the dash. The worst is some of the intersections. Sometimes it throws you in a panic, when out of the corner of you eye you see a car coming at you on what your senses say is the wrong side. Then you realize that they are right, and you need to turn into the other lane.:)
Diring on the left in the VI is a relatively quick adjustment. Driving on the left in the UK with a right hand drive car was much more difficult. I had trouble keeping my car centered in the narrow roads in the highlands. Driving in Endinburgh on the narrow streets was also nerve racking.
I didn't drive at all for the first few weeks we were here. I was the map-reading, very vocal passenger who "helped" my husband find his way around the island. 😉 When I finally drove, it came naturally. It's strange but I can't imagine myself on the other side of the road here - it would feel wrong.
The only time that I had a problem was when I had one too many margaritas late one evening at the Full Moon bar and pulled out into the wrong lane... and continued there until my husband asked me what lane I would move to if we saw another car coming from the opposite direction. I thought he was joking until I was able to gather myself together enough to realize that he was serious. Needless to say, I pulled over and let him drive home... (duh). Lesson learned.
(By the way, the alcoholic mixed drinks here are at least twice as strong as "normal". I think the cost of the booze is less than the mixer, so they're very generous. Use extreme caution when drinking then driving here. Or better yet, don't drink and drive at all.)
LOL Debralu.... Use extreme caustion because Debralu may be pulling out of the Full Moon Bar... He he he
My first visit it was a very conscious, deliberate, nerve wracking experience. The second time down, no problem at all. It was if I had been driving on the left since getting a license. Maybe I had reinacted it in my dreams so often that I internalized it by the second visit.
Good point about not hugging the center, even if you have not been drinking, because that is where the monster trucks drive.
On of the problems is at night. Newer cars have the headlights adjusted so that they light up the right side of the roadway and road signs. So now they they tend to blind you more then in the states.
I waited a week until I started driving. I found that driving was much easier than I thought. I did have to think the parking lots thru as I naturally wanted to go to the right side. The only time I drove on the wrong side was when I pulled off the road to dump trash and would make a U-turn to go back home. For some reason as I turned around I would go to the right side of the road. I finally decided that making the U-turn first into the trash areas and pulling out straight worked for me. I didn't feel as bad when my husband made the same mistake. We realized that driving on the right side of the road stateside that the driver would always be on the inside of a U-turn. You probably don't think about it, but when you make a U-turn from the left side of the road than the driver should be on the outside of the U-turn to go the correct direction. You may think that is too wordy, but just wait til you turn around and see how it works! 🙂
Now that I am stateside, I have had to readjust again. I thought it would come back naturally, but it doesn't until you drive a bit. The best advice is to follow a taxi thru intersections. They seem to make the road rules on the islands anyway! Good luck!
My husband had a mental block on parking lots - he just never did figure it out......coming back stateside? THAT has been the experience....several times I've turned onto a side street and simply had to stop and figure out what was what and where my place in the universe was.
Watch driving at night - people love their high beams and don't seem inclined to dim them whatsoever....and hug that ditch going around a blind curve or you might meet someone by accident....
Backy: If you find out the answer to "where my place in the universe was" will you let me know? I have been searching for it myself for the longest time! 😀
EE, at 50 I am still debating what to be when I grow up - the whole universe thing will have to wait. Growing older but not up and all......seems everyone wants me to figure out a purpose before I deal with anymore existential angst...the up side to all of this is at 50, rather than labeling you "aimless", you are labeled as "eccentric". I think I like it! 🙂
terry: it ain't newer cars which have the headlights skewed off, it's ALL cars here, Manufactured to accomodate stateside "other side of the road" driving, it wouldn't be a really hard call to require that every car coming into the VI have their lights tilted to reflect our comon practice but that's never been done and it's very hazardous. Low headlights are bad enough but, when people drive ad nausea with full beams on, it can be a real creeze and one feels like a deer sometimes. AAAArgh!
I agree with other posters that driving left isn't difficult to adjust to because there are so few areas that you can drive over 35mph anyway. Going BACK stateside and driving can be a real whirlygig though when you're used to driving here. Other side of the road and general speed well in excess of 50mph - heart palpitations and sweaty armpits...
My first driving experience on STT was by myself in a rain storm trying to find the place I had rented again on the North side of the island...FUN! All I can say is get behind the wheel and do it...don't wait! It really is easier then most think...
My husband mastered driving on the left nicely; in fact, when we got back to the states, he continued to drive on the left. haha
Seriously, it takes some adjustment and concentration in the beginning, but it helps that the speed limit is between 10 and 35mph. After you catch on,it's kind of fun for a change.
The only places I found it hard to remember to stay on the left were parking lots and fortunately we do not have many 🙂 Of coarse now i have the same trouble when i go stateside....well remembering to stay right.