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opposite side

opposite side

Old May 4th 2008, 5:22 pm
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Default opposite side

i am visiting america for 1 month. i drive in uk and was thinking of renting a car in usa. from experience did people found it difficult to be driving on the opposite side of the road.
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Old May 4th 2008, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by nadnad View Post
i am visiting america for 1 month. i drive in uk and was thinking of renting a car in usa. from experience did people found it difficult to be driving on the opposite side of the road.
No, it isn't particularly difficult. Essentially all US rental cars are automatics so you don't have to worry about changing gear with the "wrong" hand.

A couple of words of advice, though:

The first time you get into the car you will be very careful and aware of which side of the road you should be driving on. You need to be extremely careful the next few times you drive, because some of your initial caution will have worn off and you might slip into old habits and end up on the wrong side of the road. This is particularly true if you are coming out of a parking lot and turning onto the street and there are no other cars around to give you a hint about which side of the road you should be on.

Be careful when turning from a one-way street into a two-way street - you may have been driving down the one-way street on what you think of as the "normal" side of the road - when turning into a two-way street it is very easy to make the turn onto the "wrong" side.

After about 2 or 3 days at most you should be fine - just follow the other cars and remember that most Americans don't know how to drive ...
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Old May 4th 2008, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by nadnad View Post
i am visiting america for 1 month. i drive in uk and was thinking of renting a car in usa. from experience did people found it difficult to be driving on the opposite side of the road.
I only seem to have trouble with roundabouts, I keep wanting to go around them clockwise.
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Old May 4th 2008, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

After 8 trips to the US (7 of which I have rented a car) I can say that it takes me a couple of hours to get my bearings, after that point I don't really think I'd make a mistake like going the wrong way down the road.

One thing I will say is that I tend to drift over to the right of the lane and sometimes onto the white line or hard shoulder because your brain gets used to your body being in a certain position in relation to the road markings, and because you are about 2 or 3 feet to the left of where you are used to (i.e. on the other side of the car!) then this is how much I tend to drift over to the right. It takes me a few days to stop doing that usually!
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Old May 4th 2008, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Going the other way (I'm used to American cars) I'd say there really isn't much of an adjustment, especially if you are doing some long haul (motorway) driving. However, going around turns is where you sometimes end up, by habit, looking the wrong way (right, left, right) instead of the US method of left, right, left to check for traffic. This can be troublesome where you have complicated intersections (like a 5 points) or an intersection where you have a 'second red' (i.e. a red that pops up halfway through a turn to hold you at an intermediate point). You're having to make decisions fast and you end up looking the wrong direction.

By the way, US car rental companies generally require you be 25 years old or more to rent from them, with some exceptions. Not sure if this matters.
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Old May 4th 2008, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

It is not really difficult but saying that the other day I nearly turned into the wrong lane going into a parking garage, fortunately my son's urgent cry alerted me
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Old May 4th 2008, 11:01 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Surely other people's opinions and experiences are irrelevant since you'll be doing the driving.

If you want to be thorough, check out the Drivers Handbook or equivalent for the state where you'll be driving.
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Old May 4th 2008, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

My 60 year old mother drives when she comes to visit. Last year she drove from Michigan to Florida ! She thinks it's pretty "easy" to drive over here due to the large freeways.....she just follows everyone else !
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Old May 4th 2008, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Forgot to mention that if you are renting a car you may be covered for insurance if you are using a visa to pay for it.....worth checking out before you come over.
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Old May 5th 2008, 1:17 am
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
I only seem to have trouble with roundabouts, I keep wanting to go around them clockwise.
I keep wanting to drive around them properly, and indicate, rather than eyes closed and gunning it

Saying that, there's only one around here at the mall.
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Old May 5th 2008, 1:19 am
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post

By the way, US car rental companies generally require you be 25 years old or more to rent from them, with some exceptions. Not sure if this matters.
Enterprise is 21 and over...though if you are under 25 you'll want vaseline with that...
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Old May 5th 2008, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

when we came over in october i had never driven abroad anywhere and had driven in the uk for 20 years with a manual. I was expecting it to be horrendous but was pleasantly suprise how easy it was to slip into the different way. when i went back to the uk in march the driving all looked so weird!
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Old May 5th 2008, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by nadnad View Post
i am visiting america for 1 month. i drive in uk and was thinking of renting a car in usa. from experience did people found it difficult to be driving on the opposite side of the road.
Hi:

As an American, I've done it the other way. Fortunately for you, American car rental companies generally do not rent manual transmission cars. [UK is the only place I make sure not to rent a manual shift car].

It is not all that hard -- but you have to be thinking all the time when not on the highways. I recommend that you NOT use the radio or CD player for the first day or two. In many states and localities it is now illegal to use the cell phone while driving -- forget about legality, just don't do it. Try to avoid conversation with your passengers, don't be afraid to say "I need to pay attention to my driving."

Try to avoid situations where you may need quick reactions -- they may be just the opposite. Think about checking your rear view mirror often -- the first day or two you will be turning your head twice -- first to the left out the window and then to the right to the center mirror.

Backing up will be tricky [I've know UK expats who still have trouble backing out of their own driveways after 20 years!]. For the first two days or so, parallel parking will be a bitch.

If you are traveling as a couple or a group, check out the rental company to see if extra drivers involve an extra charge. Some companies allow the spouse to drive without extra charge, most do not. Also, see if your local insurance covers you driving a rental in the US. Also see if your credit card covers collision damage on a rental in the US -- some do, some don't and to many it is country specific [BTW, it used to be included with AMEX, but now is an extra cost feature with the "gold" card. But my US Bank Visa had it]. If your local insurance or your credit card cover it -- you can avoid the "CDW" or "collision damage waiver" charge on the rental -- which will be a HUGE savings.

Also, find out the gas tank policy of the rental agency before you leave the rental place. Some give you a full tank and expect you to return it that way. Some give it to you with any amount and ask that it be returned at the same level. [I'm driving a rental now while car is in the shop -- I have to return it with a full tank else they add on $7.50 a gallon -- which is over $3 more than local price of gas.]

Enjoy your trip.
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Old May 5th 2008, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by nadnad View Post
i am visiting america for 1 month. i drive in uk and was thinking of renting a car in usa. from experience did people found it difficult to be driving on the opposite side of the road.
Why not just drive on the same side as everyone else here does?
Seems like you might have a bit of a difficult time otherwise, if you ask me.
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Old May 5th 2008, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: opposite side

Originally Posted by Xebedee View Post
Why not just drive on the same side as everyone else here does?
Seems like you might have a bit of a difficult time otherwise, if you ask me.
I LOLed. :-)
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