You're going on a holiday abroad where people communicate in an unfamiliar language and drive on the »wrong side« of the road. Yes, you're heading to the Opposite Land now. Here you can read about precautions you need to take when you're driving a hired car on the right side of the road; testing the vehicle before you embark, adjusting the drive, and avoiding distractions.
Maybe you won't learn any new languages on your vacation, but you will surely learn how to drive on the right side of the road.
1. Pick up a car in a quiet location
When you hire a car, check for a location of the pick up in a quiet area. It will take time for you to adjust to driving on the right side of the road, that's why the last thing you need is heavy traffic. Heavy traffic will only make you feel more stressed than you should be. This really isn't the time to test your limits. If your rental agency has an office outside the city, choose pick-up location there. If you can only pick up a car at the airport or city centre, head out of the city centre and try to find a more rural road with less traffic where you'll get more used to driving on the right side.
2. Keep track, study the map
Before you embark, study the map, and get to know the roads. Hire a car with a navigation system or set the audio navigation on your mobile phone. When your route is clearly defined, you'll be more confident and stress-free when driving on the right side of the road.
3. Get to know your car
When you pick up a hired car, take time to know its functions and setup. Gearstick, indicators, heading controls, and windscreen wipers are going to be on the opposite side now. Test the car and its functions, and get used to that brand new feel.
4. Starve your distractions, feed your focus
Now that you're driving on the »wrong side« of the road really isn't the time to multi-task. Just focus on the road. Do all the things you need to do before you get on the road. Listening to the radio can be a distraction. Turn it off. Set your navigation before you get going. Eat that sandwich on the stop.
5. Drive safe, drive slow
Your reaction time is a bit slower now that you're learning to drive on the right side of the road. That's why you also need to drive slower. When you drive fast and have a slow reaction time, things can get pretty worse. Just smile, breathe and go slowly.
6. Buy car hire coverage
Make sure you are fully covered when you hire a car. CDW or Collision Damage Waiver only covers the car's bodywork. CDW will not cover the damage done to the mirrors, roof or undercarriage. It won't cover any immobilisation costs. Since you're driving on the other side of the road as you're used to, your driving skills aren't exactly perfect. It's better to be safe than sorry. You can read more about CDW and car hire excess here.
7. Merry go Round(about)
Roundabouts can be challenging when you're driving on the right side of the road for the first time. Maybe they are the most tricky and confusing thing you will encounter on your trip. Remember: traffic flows counterclockwise and you need to give way to those coming from the left.
8. Embrace your mistakes
You will make a mistake. But try not to make a big deal out of it. You are used to driving on the left and it is perfectly normal for your brain to take time to get used to driving on the »wrong« side of the road.
9. Use extra eyes
Ask your fellow passenger to help you read the map, change the radio station, check the road signs. They can be your navigator when you're parking. They can be really helpful pair of extra eyes. They will help you remember to stay on the right side of the road, and hopefully the ones that will calm you down.
10. Practice makes perfect
Follow our advice, practice, take a spin down the quiet road or in the car hire park. If the »reverse of reverse« picture in the mirrors makes you confused or nervous, turn around and check out the back window to get a direct view. And remember; you as a driver should always be positioned in the middle of the road - no matter if it's left-hand traffic or right-hand traffic. And finally, don't worry, you will get used to the mirrors as you will get used to driving on the »wrong side« of the road. Eventually 😊
Countries where they drive on the right
As you will see you are in minority. More than two-thirds of the countries drive on the right side of the road. Here they are:
Rated 4.7 / 5
based on 1752 customer reviews