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Importing/Buying a Right Hand Drive Vehicle?

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sensei
(@sensei)
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I am looking to move to the US Virgin Islands later this year and I find it silly to drive on the left hand side of the road in a left hand drive vehicle. Our great American logic at work.....

As the British Virgin Islands are so near, is it common to see right hand drive vehicles? I am aware that in certain states on the mainland, it is not uncommon for a JDM vehicles to be state licensed and driven daily on the roads. I would like to do this down there as well as being forced to drive LHD in the left lane is beyond stupid. Experiences?

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2007 5:16 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

I've lived on STX for 4 years and have never seen a "right hand drive vehicle" on the road.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 6:30 am
Jules
(@Jules)
Trusted Member

Actually, I find that driving a left-side driver's seat down here is probably much safer than driving a right-sided car.

Most roads are two lanes with no shoulder and steep drop-offs after the pavement ends. The roads are often so narrow that you have to really hug the shoulderless edge of the road when another vehicle is approaching (especially since people tend to drift into the middle of these narrow roads). Since my car has a left-side driver's seat, it is much easier to accurately judge how close I am to the edge of the road.

I have found this to be one of the few things that makes sense down here, although it's unlikely that this is why American-style cars are the norm in the USVI 🙂

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Posted : August 5, 2007 9:52 am
Ronnie
(@ronnie)
Trusted Member

sensei, if you go to the BVIs you will see the same. There are some RHD cars here as well as more over there. You do what you prefer but don't call what we do stupid. Thank you.

RL

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Posted : August 5, 2007 11:50 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

I agree with Jules & Ronnie. I much prefer the steering wheel on the left for the reasons Jules stated. Especially here on STT. Our American logic works just fine.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 12:17 pm
jay
 jay
(@jay)
Advanced Member

The first time you come over the hill and see a taxi bearing down on you......(half of it on your side of the road of course), you'll be thanking God you are on the left side of the car 🙂

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Posted : August 5, 2007 12:28 pm
Jim Dandy
(@jim_dandy)
Trusted Member

After driving in the VI for several years on the left I thought it would be a snap to drive on the left in Scotland using a right hand drive car.

Fortunately the car we rented had an automatic because shifting with my left hand would have been another skill to learn.

I found it much harder to drive on the left with a right hand drive car than drive on the left with a left hand drive car. The only advantage is passing where you can get a better view of oncoming traffic.

Jim

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Posted : August 5, 2007 1:27 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

I agree with Jules & Jay about the benefits to being close to the shoulder in a LHD in the USVI and being able to judge the edge better on narrow roads in passing situations. I had wondered about RHD cars and whether I'd find them better to drive on the left. During a recent trip to Grenada I had to chance to try one out for a few days and that removed any lingering doubt. Having some of the controls on the vehicle backwards made them more complex to dive and not very user-friendly for a right-handed person. Perhaps a lefty would find them terriffic. It was much harder to judge the left edge of the road and I saw 5 accidents involving local drivers side swiping cars parked on the left side of the road in town during my 4 days with a vehicle there. I think the tourist drivers were being extra cautious in the unfamiliar situation.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 3:41 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

Sensei
Apparently you have little experience driving in the Virgin Islands. In the BVI I have rarely seen a right hand drive car. Here you see a few but they are the oddity. It feels much safer to drive a left hand drive on the left side of the road. My experience driving in Europe confirms that way back in driving history someone got it wrong and it never changed. I find it difficult to drive a right hand vehicle.

Only the visiting drivers must fight the habit of their usual driving position.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 3:45 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

sensei,

If you find our driving situation silly and stupid, you might want to do more research on this board and other places. You will find a lot of other issues to be more concerned about. As for driving on the left, you just get used to it, quickly, I might add.

Also, in doing that research, you will probably find that we (like anyone else in the world) don't like for people to criticize our lifestyle. Lifestyle may not be the right word for driving on the left in a left hand drive, but I'm sure you understand what I'm saying.

Please don't take this as being defensive. Not meant that way, at all. Just a little advise. After all, that's what we do here.

Good luck to you, and....keep left!

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Posted : August 5, 2007 4:10 pm
sensei
(@sensei)
Advanced Member

I've lived and driven in Japan/Okinawa/small outlying islands for some time so I am quite familiar with driving on the left (and in fact I prefer it because I am right handed and it is easier to drive a manual) just as I am quite aware of what narrow roads with no shoulders and sometimes 90 degree concrete drains are like. Make a small error and your front steering is bye-bye if you're lucky or off the mountain if you're not.

I don't suppose anyone here is familiar with drifting/touge and I suppose it is my fault for not being clear that there is absolutely nothing about driving on the USVI that will in any way be new to me - other than being resigned to LHD cars, unless the USVI does allow "gray" imports/sales which was the focus of my original question.

If you people need to have LHD for left lane roads to see the edge, then you should stop tailgating to allow greater vision and decided to take the time to have improved your driving skill...which sadly many of you admit that you have not.

Had I been able to directly ship my Skyline to the islands, I would have done so. However, this is not the case and I will be needing to buy a car there. I have searched for cars online and have yet to find an available RHD model. How anyone could have thought that I was attacking anyone's lifestyle is beyond me. Like it would be remotely intelligent to ask for help on a board where I immediately began insulting everyone and everything about my new place of residence.

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2007 5:32 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

"How anyone could have thought that I was attacking anyone's lifestyle is beyond me. Like it would be remotely intelligent to ask for help on a board where I immediately began insulting everyone and everything about my new place of residence"

Let me show you. In your first post you said.

"I would like to do this down there as well as being forced to drive LHD in the left lane is beyond stupid. Experiences?"

Everyone voiced in on why its not stupid

And you responded with....

"If you people need to have LHD for left lane roads to see the edge, then you should stop tailgating to allow greater vision and decided to take the time to have improved your driving skill...which sadly many of you admit that you have not."

I don't remember anyone commenting on their driving skills. But if you continue in this vein you will make few friends indeed from this board at least. But its nice to know well have another newbie who thinks they know how to do everything better then the people that live here....oh joy.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 5:43 pm
sensei
(@sensei)
Advanced Member

Being superior to emotionally fragile people does not bother me in the slightest. The internet is crawling with these people and it is not my life's mission to validate everyone with a chip on his/her shoulder. Anyone who was offended by my message, whatever.....

Yes, I have years of experience in driving/racing in a country on the left and I am not about to apologize to anyone who thinks that I should be a pitiful driver too. FORCING people to buy LHD cars is stupid unless all the traffic is to switch to the right side. You are free to enjoy this stupidity, but RHD in the left lane is better and safer.

Since you can add nothing more to this thread, your absence will not be missed nor will any other whiner who wishes to continue in commentary instead of offering an answer while failing to comprehend the most innocuous question I posted above.

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2007 5:52 pm
Jules
(@Jules)
Trusted Member

Sensei, your post was certainly not the "most innocuous question". It was the "beyond stupid" part that offended. Without that, it would have been a perfectly reasonable question.

I am not clear on the reasons why you feel driving a RHD car would be safer down here. I am not being sarcastic or antagonistic-- I am really curious to hear more of your reasons. It is possible that there are advantages that I have not foreseen, since I have never driven a RHD car. All I can draw from is my own experience.

So, can you tell me the advantages as you see them?

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Posted : August 5, 2007 6:01 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

LMAO....now this is a troll with moxy. Not very bright, but they never are. Just for kicks....was your comment about using rhd cars being safer, any data to back that up or just your superior opinion kickin in?

And trust me honey the locals are not going to like your attitude AT ALL. People are very big on respect and manners here and as new commers we have to prove ourselves especially after all the rude tourist and newcommers they've had to deal with. Loose it or dont move here.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 6:02 pm
robo841
(@robo841)
Advanced Member

This guy must be in the wrong place...isn't this message board the "friendly-helpful-sense-of-community" board? I believe the "nasty-bitter-condescending" message board is on some other web page!

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Posted : August 5, 2007 6:24 pm
promoguy
(@promoguy)
Advanced Member

Now, now Betty, let's not be so harsh. I can read between the lines he wrote and can almost be certain this fellow has a PHD.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 6:25 pm
sensei
(@sensei)
Advanced Member

Jules, I honestly do not see how my post would have offended any reasonable person....and I must emphasize REASONABLE because some posters in this thread have been quite reasonable. However, other posters have made it quite clear that not all people are reasonable nor have any intention of ever being so. Some are insecure always looking and challenging others to knock that giant chip off their shoulder. Being a friendly chap, I often comply with their wishes as being a person with bitter self-righteous victim fetish is their raison d'être for existence and who am I to stop them in their obsession?

---

I have driven a LHD car in Japan for a day and it is not convenient nor safe. Driving a RHD vehicle on the left puts the driver in the center of the road for better visibility to react and maintain control. Driving a LHD vehicle on the left puts the driver to the side beyond the sight-line of oncoming traffic. This is simply not safe. By not allowing RHD vehicles which seems to be more the case than not, this is rather stupid.

When the US restored Okinawa and its outlying islands back to Japan in 1972, the islands reverted back to driving on the left and many people opted to keep their LHD cars. However, they had the option of purchasing RHD cars as well. The USVI, being a US territory should adopt the mainland custom of driving on the right or allow RHD vehicles in the market. Florida, Arizona, Texas "allow" JDM vehicles in their state, but the people who have them bought them more for the "cool JDM TyTE yo!" factor whereas on the USVI, having a RHD car is practical.

In fact, having a Japanese Kei-Car makes the most sense and that is what I'd like to have. However, JDM vehicles are not all considered NHTSA/DOT/EPA compliant and the explanation is complicated, but some states don't care. I don't want to have a JDM vehicle confiscated despite being perfectly safe, efficient (often better than 50mpg on most Kei-cars), and clean.

This is why I was asking if the USVI is like the mainland of if they allow RHD cars. If they allow RHD, I am surprised more people do not take advantage of them. I never called anyone stupid, only the policy and every country has its share of stupid policies...including Japan.

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2007 8:39 pm
Jules
(@Jules)
Trusted Member

Hmmm, sensei... I'm still not convinced that I would feel safer driving here in a RHD car because my biggest challenge is getting as close to the edge of the road as I can to avoid the oncoming traffic.-- something that is clearly easier to gauge in a LHD car. Oh, and it's also easier to judge how close you are to the multitude of cars that are parked on the side of the road halfway onto the driving lane.

I guess I'd rather get clipped on the passenger side than go careening off the side of the hill, but perhaps it doesn't matter one way or another. To each his own.

To my knowledge there is no restriction on having RHD car here, so if that what you want, go for it.

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Posted : August 5, 2007 8:48 pm
sensei
(@sensei)
Advanced Member

Thank you Jules.

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2007 9:05 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

sensei: Right up front, I am going to wish you luck on moving here. If you are looking for a place that is reasonable and convenient, well, I just wish you luck! 😉

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Posted : August 5, 2007 10:05 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

Hi Sensei,

There are two people in my neighborhood that drive right hand vehicles on STX in Cotton Valley.

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Posted : August 6, 2007 1:48 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

You can have a right hand drive car down here but it seems it would be good old American logic to listen to those of us who have (in some cases) driven for decades down here.

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Posted : August 6, 2007 3:17 am
marlene
(@marlene)
Advanced Member

And since American cars were manufactured with the headlights beaming to the right, try driving a RHD vehicle at night when all the headlights will shine directly in your face coming at you..

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Posted : August 6, 2007 12:05 pm
sensei
(@sensei)
Advanced Member

Beaming to the right? Every car I've ever had has had the lights going forward. May I suggest that you get your lights adjusted to work properly.

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Topic starter Posted : August 6, 2007 5:53 pm
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