Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

July 27, 2011

In England, Ben Blair did all the driving. It happens on the opposite side of the road there and I was too chicken to try! The other fun thing about driving in England was spotting vintage British sports cars. They’re so cute. (I bet my Dad would cringe if he heard me call a sports car cute.) The high bid on this one is only $2650. Cute. Cute. Cute.

Have you ever visited a place where you had to drive on the “wrong” side of the road? Are you brave enough?

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cris Marsh July 27, 2011 at 6:57 am

We visited South Africa several years ago and they drive on the opposite side of the road (compared to what we are used to). My husband tried driving…he was okay with it, but our friends (who are from S.A) were very nervous.

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2 Cerise July 27, 2011 at 7:02 am

My father is from England so we used to go visit family a lot. Never did get to drive while I was there, but I think I would have tried it.

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3 Corrie Anne July 27, 2011 at 7:04 am

OOooh! I’m a bad enough driver in the States. In 3 years, I never braved it to drive in the Dominican Republic. The traffic is absolutely insane in the city and I just knew I would hit a motorcycle!!! Good thing the public transportation is very extensive there. I’d love a little summer ride in one of those convertibles…

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4 Heather July 27, 2011 at 7:15 am

I have, and I did! I prefer the back roads though!

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5 Stacey July 27, 2011 at 7:27 am

I’m the proud holder of both an American and a UK driving license. I actually find that driving in the US (particularly in CA, where I’m originally from) and driving in the UK are like two totally different experiences, so I’ve never gotten confused. There is one thing I haven’t yet been brave enough to do though, which is drive on the wrong side of the road for the car I’m in (i.e., taking my British car across to drive in France)…

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6 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 7:30 am

Oh that’s exactly what we did. We took our French car and drove it in England. Very exciting! And by we, I mean Ben Blair. : )

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7 Alissa July 27, 2011 at 7:33 am

My sister and I visited our cousin in England one summer and he let me take a shot at driving. I did great until I went the wrong way on the roundabout. Oops! It was a little intense for a moment there. Terry was totally cool about it but I could tell he was relieved to get back behind the wheel. After that, for some reason, my sister seemed totally disinclined to make any attempt …

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8 janelle July 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

I’m going to Ireland with two girlfriends in September, and the roundabouts are the main thing I’m worried about! :)

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9 Katie July 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

Oh my gosh I have enough trouble driving on the “right side” of the road, I don’t think driving abroad is in the cards for me. That car is wicked cute though!

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10 Lynne July 27, 2011 at 7:53 am

I have never done it myself, but in the Bahamas I was in the car with someone who was driving on the other side of the road. It was so scary! I’m sure I was a sight to behold, slumped down in my seat, clutching the door and dashboard at every turn!

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11 Christine July 27, 2011 at 8:04 am

I’m from Australua where we drive on the left bur have lived in countries that drive on the right. I have always been ok with driving on the ‘wrong’ side. It is much harder driving your left-hand drive car on the left side if the road. I think unnerved locals the most is going for the indicators and turning the wind-shield wipers on!

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12 Abby July 27, 2011 at 8:09 am

I nearly get run over just trying to cross the street in London, let alone drive! Maybe on the country roads, but no way would I drive through London.

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13 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hah! Ben Blair is such a confident driver. He drives in New York, Paris, San Francisco, London. Wherever we are!

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14 Ale July 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

I challenge him to drive in Rome, or (even worse) in Neaples!
I live in the Uk at the moment but I’ll wait a bit before starting driving.
I don’t trust english drivers enough! ;)

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15 Angela August 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

While living for 2 years in Namibia I didn’t even try… The traffic is coming from the ‘wrong’ side first if you want to cross a street, my husband claims he saved my life more than once :)

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16 elz July 27, 2011 at 8:10 am

We just returned from the Caymans, where they drive on “the wrong side.” Thankfully my husband drove because I kept telling him-OMG, you’re driving on the wrong side of the road, we’re going to DIIIIIIE (he was right, I was thinking US). The starightaways were fine, it was those darn round-abouts that got me so confused. I lived in Britain for 5 years growing up, I should know better!

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17 Starr July 27, 2011 at 8:11 am

My first time driving in the UK was a nail-biting experience, so getting a British driver’s license was a major accomplishment for me! It was infuriating, though, to have to take the exam when I’d been driving in the States for almost (gulp!) twenty years. It won’t be long until my US license expires. I hope I won’t be required to take the exam again if we ever move back. . . that would just be embarrassing.

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18 creole wisdom July 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

Yes, in Ireland. My mother drove and I navigated, which of course gets your brain thinking differently. By the end of our trip it started to grow on me, maybe because I’m left handed? Not sure.

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19 charlotte July 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

I’m from England – anywhere we go they drive on the wrong side of the road to us :p not something I’m in a rush try though I’ll stick to the left ;)

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20 Alicia W. July 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

Not sure how I would do driving on the opposite side of the road than I am used to! I wouldn’t mind zipping around the British countryside in that very cute car, though!

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21 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

I’ll join you!

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22 Lisa M. July 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

When I was in college I traveled to Australia to visit and travel with my then boyfriend. He was an Australian himself. We were going to travel in a CombiVan (I think that is what they called it). It was a stick shift, a huge van, and they drove on the wrong side of the road. He tried to teach me how to drive the stick shift, at the same time I was trying to get used to the steering wheel being on the wrong side of the car. Needless to say he ended up doing all of the driving on our travels around Australia :) it was great trip though!

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23 Cindy July 27, 2011 at 8:51 am

One of my daughters wants me to go with her to Ireland this fall to visit friend who will be studying abroad there. I am so torn! My husband and I visited there a few years ago and I fell in love with the country. I love to travel and have talked about returning to Ireland many times since our trip. The problem is my husband did all the driving. Those roads are so narrow, and being the passenger was pretty scarey at times. Just not sure if I’m brave enough to try driving there.

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24 callie July 30, 2011 at 1:56 am

don’t miss out on such a fantastic experience for fear of driving! I live in a place that I drive on the wrong side of the road every day (I’m American but live in Australia), and the key is to just jump in and do it! Honestly, it all makes more sense once you’re the one actually behind the wheel, I seriously think being a passenger is scarier than driving! And also, you get to see such better places when you drive yourself!

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25 Zuleika July 27, 2011 at 9:04 am

I live in the UK, so I get this all the time when I go abroad. The thing that always gets me is overtaking, because of course when I get on French roads it’s as if I’m undertaking a car, rather than overtaking it, which feels weird for me since undertaking is quite frowned upon.

I’ve only once driven a left-hand drive car, and my poor right wrist really struggled with the gear changes, since it’s used to just sitting there, and occasionally fiddling with the windows, since it’s usually my left hand changing gear, indicating and just generally doing all the work.

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26 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

For sure! It was so strange to pass on the right. Hard to get used to for us.

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27 Kelly July 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

ANTIGUA! Except there you also have to dodge potholes and goats! (and an occasional donkey)

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28 Everton Terrace July 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

My mother is from England and her mother was from Ireland so we have been visiting both places all my life. We spent 10 days in May on the southwest coast of England and the driving was awful. Tiny winding roads with tall hedges on either side (so no escaping). My husband did it all with ease and usually in rain. I have never (and will never) attempt it – wouldn’t be safe for anyone :)

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29 ememby July 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

I’ve driven once, for 2 hours, on the wrong side while we were in Australia. We were out in the country, in the southern part of Oz between Great Ocean Road and Melbourne and every time I turned a corner I would frantically ask my husband if I was on the right side of the road. Still freaks me out to think about. I could never drive in a city.

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30 DeAnn July 27, 2011 at 10:01 am

Sydney Australia with a manual car. It is quite intimidating turning innocently onto a highway with all the native autos heading toward you.

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31 Jasmine July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

I am from Singapore and so I am used to a right hand drive. I visited my sister in LA last year and drove with my two little boys in the car. Though i was slightly nervous at the prospect, what I found incredibly helpful was using a GPS. It really helped to anticipate the turns and I never got confused, except for one instance when the gps took some time to get working!

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32 Justyn July 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

We drove a huge SUV for our two years in Kenya. It took some getting used to and it also took awhile to not confuse the windshield wipers and the turn signal but after two years we are finding hard to adjust to the Right side of the road now that we are back!

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33 Andrea@FancyThat! July 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

My mom’s cousin is way into British sports cars. When we were little girls, he’d take my sis and I out for rides in them and we felt like movie stars.

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34 Michelle A. July 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

What a fun car! I did have the chance to go to both England and Wales. Driving on those small skinny roads and on the opposite sides – was not my idea of fun! Even when my husband was driving, I just couldn’t relax. I loved everything else about our trip!

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35 Janan W July 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

While living in Italy we visited England and Ireland, my husband drove at both locales cause I’m chicken and sometimes I had to close my eyes as we approached other vehicles. It’s just wrong.

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36 Emily July 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I moved to one of those countries (Ireland) and every once in a while I catch myself talking to myself while I’m driving and saying left side, left side, stay on the left side. Eek! It’s a hard one to re-wire!

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37 Patty July 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm

My husband is from England and even he has started out on the wrong (for England) side of the road when we’ve picked up our rental car. After our many, many visits there, I’ve never driven in the UK. Gary does all of the driving. Especially in London (or any busy city). You have to be a very aggressive driver if you want to get anywhere.

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38 Hannah Anderson July 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

We lived in NZ for a year and had to drive on the opposite side of the road. I go the hang of it pretty easily, but what I never could remember was to get in on the proper side of the vehicle. Inevitably, I would come out of the grocery store and unlock the vehicle door and climb right into the passenger seat. Embarrassed if anyone should have seen me, I’d quickly rifle around in the glove box for a few minutes to make it appear like I was looking for something. :-)

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39 Amanda B. July 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm

We went to Scotland for our honeymoon and rented a car there. On top of that we got a stick shift (which I drive on a daily basis) but I was too nervous to drive there. My husband did all the driving. What else isn’t common in the US (yet) are round abouts!

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40 Susan July 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

My husband and I have lived overseas for the last 7 years in countries that drive on the left side. The confusing parts are 1. the blinker and windshield wiper lever thingies are switched from American cars and 2. you feel like an idiot getting in the “driver’s sear” when it’s really the passenger seat (you just pretend you were looking for something in the glove box then cooly walk to the real driver’s side) and 3. the worst part is going back and forth from here to America and trying to remember which side of the road to drive on or which way to look first. Eek!

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41 hannah anderson July 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Yes!!! to the blinker/wiper switch – such funny memories!

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42 se7en July 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

What a fun car… I wouldn’t mind an afternoon spin and some lovely vintage browsing sans kids… In Cape Town we drive on the correct side of the road and that is not the right side of the road!!!

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43 Jen July 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I haven’t actually drove, last time I was in England I was too young to drive. Sadly it’s been that long I’m 30 now. My Dad is from Southampton England and said he likes driving either way. Once he brought home a car that he borrowed from a friend where the steering wheel was opposite to what I’m use to (We live in Michigan) and he took me for a spin in that now that was crazy, but fun.

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44 lisa July 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

My husband and I visited New Zealand two years ago. We picked up the rental car at the airport and headed for the hotel. Three plus hours later we arrived. We were only sort of surprised that the trip back to the airport two weeks later (driven by a cabbie) took about twenty five minutes…

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45 Ruth July 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Years ago, I drove a moped in Bermuda on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. It was wild having to look for oncoming traffic at stop signs.

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46 Summer Lewis July 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm

We live in Japan, where they drive on the left-hand side as well. But for me that was the easiest part of getting used to driving in Japan. The real killers here the narrow roads and people parking on the street (since there’s not a whole lot parking).

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47 Alla February 9, 2014 at 8:06 am

Woot, I will ceiatrnly put this to good use!

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48 rosita July 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I’m in Thailand visiting my sister for several weeks and here they drive on the left side of the road. I’m from the States so I’m used to driving on the right side. I rode with my sister on her bike for about two weeks before I had the courage to rent a bike and ride on my own. It can be very confusing and in heavy traffic it gets a little wild. But I did it successfully and it was lots of fun once sister explained the unspoken traffic rules.

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49 UK lass in US July 27, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I’ve lived in the States 10 years now, but after spending just 3 weeks back home in England, I kept having moments of doubt about which side of the road I should be on back in California. Still, even when I am used to the right-hand side again, I’ll still avoid the traffic circle in town: half of the Americans seem to have no clue how to drive on one, so goodness knows what they are like when faced with an English roundabout going the other way…

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50 debra July 28, 2011 at 2:34 am

Here’s the tip — assuming you are in the “correct car” for the country in which you are driving (and obviously Ben Blair was not, so this isn’t for him!) — If you are the driver, the arm/hand which can dangle outside the closest (driver’s side) window should ALWAYS dangle down the center of the road!! There you go — you’ve got it figured out now, and believe me, as an American living in Australia the past three years, I’ve had to think about this a lot (especially in parking lots or backing out of driveways). Safe travels and fear driving no more!

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51 Tracy B. July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

I’ve been to England, but no I was not brave enough to try driving on the opposite side of the road. lol

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52 Tatiana July 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

I am living in KL for two years now, in the begin it is difficult but after a while it is the same. But I can’t imagine how will be driving in the opposite side like your husband did.

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53 Katherine Garvey July 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I recently had the joy of visiting Melbourne with a girlfriend while the hubby watched our kids. I had no other option but to drive, and I think I knocked off two rearview mirrors on other cars (eek!). It was so stressful!!! After I arrived home, I got a lovely little speeding ticket in the mail. Not sure if I’ll try again. I don’t blame you ;)

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54 Sinead Kenny July 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm

HEY! here in Ireland YOU all drive on the wrong side! XXX

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55 Kris July 30, 2011 at 6:51 am

I just received my UK driving license!!! Yay! What a feat it was too! One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There’s only a 43% pass rate for the driving test. Isn’t that crazy? But I think the UK has some of the safest and most courteous drivers because of it though.

Well done to Ben Blair for braving the roads!

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56 Stacie Smith July 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

We will be heading to Sydney, Australia for the month of September. The plan is to not drive since we will be living close to a train station. Although I’m sure we’ll want to head out of town at least one of our weekends. It’s bad enough trying to cross the street with cars on the wrong side, let alone drive with them!

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57 Gayletrini July 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Actually coming from the Caribbean from Trinidad and Tobago to be specific. When I visit the US and drive there that is driving on the wrong side for me…. because we drive on the right hand side of the road in Trinidad just like the British do.

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58 Stephanie July 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm

While I have never driven on the “wrong” side of the road. Legally. My very first car when I was 16 was one of those cute British sports cars…a lime green 1974 MG Midget. It was “born” the same month and year as I was. Man, oh, man did I ever love that car…

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