How to drive on the wrong side of the road

Discussion in 'T&AA - Travel and Anything Automotive' started by JD666, Jun 24, 2013.

Share This Page

  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes Received:
    1,801
    Reputation:
    5,403
    Well most countries in the world drive on the right, We being hung over thanks to the English, drive on the left.

    Though it may seem and feel wrong, Anyone traveling abroad will encounter this issue at some point of time or other. And the majority of driving is on the Right side of the road, not the left.

    Here's an image from Wikipedia that gives a good illustration. The one's in Red drive on the right, the one's in blue drive on the left.

    left or right.png

    I faced this dilemma during an initial trip to the US of A and then again when I visited the Middle East recently.

    Here are some tips and tricks to manage driving on the wrong side of the road -

    You are an Indian, and you have driven in India, one of the craziest countries in the world when it comes to road sense and traffic. So this is essentially a piece of cake for you, except that it's on the other side of the road.


    1- Documentation -

    The documentation issued by the Indian RTO of any state is an International Driving Permit. Note - It's not a license. Ideally you have to get this endorsed by the transport and licensing authority of the country or state you are visiting.

    It looks something like this - (for the ones issue in Haryana)

    international driving license.JPG


    You'll need your passport, visa, 5-6 photographs, a medical form, and the application form duly filled. The fees is 500 Rs, and the Permit is valid only for one year from date of issue. So plan your travel accordingly.

    Carry adequate photocopies of your passport (front and back), Visa, Driver's license, 2 address proof, additional ID proof (Pan Card will do).

    General processing time is between 2-5 days, but it's possible to get it within a couple of hours also if you know what I mean ;)


    2- Renting a car -

    Go online, and check all available companies that offer car rental services. Check the fine print for accidental insurance and coverage. This is one of the most important items to review.

    Generally some offer a lump sum vehicle insurance ( that is, if you crash the vehicle, you will have to pay at most an X sum of money, provided it's not your mistake). This money is generally blocked on your credit card (So carry a credit card with adequate credit limit). It get's released once you return the vehicle in good condition.

    Other's offer coverage which has to be paid for in advance, but you don't get the money back, however the coverage is better. So check in advance what is the insurance cover. And depending on your confidence level, make an appropriate selection.

    I generally prefer renting the car at the airport, so that I can drive back, return the vehicle, simply collect my luggage and check in.

    But leave adequate time between returning your vehicle and your flight back. Just so that you don't miss your flight in the event of an accident or crash.

    - Secondly, don't go overboard with the size of the vehicle that you book. It's really lucrative to drive a D-Segment vehicle abroad, however the physical size of the vehicle will be an issue, especially when you are driving on the wrong side of the road. So don't over do it. Pick a vehicle that's a decent 1.6-2.0 Litre, and is compact enough to not trouble you on the road.

    3 - Vehicle inspection -

    Depending on the type of vehicle you have booked, Do a thorough inspection. The person handing the vehicle over to you will also do an inspection of the vehicle with you. Take pictures (always), of any damage/scratch/dent/rust etc and show them to the Rental office before hand. Also check for any stains/rips/cuts/damage to the interiors and like before, point them out as well.

    Its best to be safe, rather than having to haggle over these things towards the end.

    Check the tyres for tread and condition. Inspect the spare as well. Make sure you have the tool kit and warning Triangle just in case.

    Check lights, horns, indicators, since in some countries there are hefty fines for these not working.

    Checking the fuel level is extremely important, and better still take a snap of it. Most rental companies charge a premium for refilling the fuel in the car.
    And when you return the vehicle, ensure that the fuel level is more or nearly the same as when you took it.

    4 - Driving -

    The most scary aspect, however also the most exciting. I would advise taking a GPS route map device or something equally accurate with you. I use Nokia Maps with Data on in either my N8 or Lumia 620.

    First thing's first. Take it easy. In all probability you will be driving an Automatic, so first get to grips with that, unless you have driven an Automatic before. This can be discussed later in detail if anyone wants to learn.

    How I learnt driving on the Right, was by memorizing "Right of Way".

    Go slow, enter the road, watch your traffic, and gently ease the vehicle onto the road. Just take driving straight first.

    Don't worry if you miss an intersection or your turn. There always will be a way around to get back to it.

    Stick to your lanes, and follow road signs. A sign on the road that points right or left only, means that you can turn right and left only. A sign that says straight and left or straight and right means you can either turn or go straight.

    Most intersections have separate lights for separate lanes. So follow the light in your lane (if present). Many times it happens that one lane will turn green while the others will not.

    Remember when and how to change lanes. Make extensive use of all Rear view mirrors. And most importantly check your shoulders before changing lanes. Many times people place their cars right in the blind spot of another car. The only way you can verify this is by physically turning your head and checking the road.

    Generally road markings that have a solid line or a solid double line are zones where lanes cannot be changed. Dotted or striped markings indicate lane changing zones. Sometimes you will find arrows that point inwards towards the road. These indicate that the lane you are in, is merging/ending, so change lanes to the lane to the left of you.

    The left most lane is the fast lane, and best left till you are up for it. Some countries like USA have a Car Pool Lane in the left most lane, which is 2 persons and above. Ensure that you do not get caught in that lane.

    Most expressways have a minimum and maximum speed limit. You would be wise to not cross the maximum limit, however some countries like UAE have a permissible limit of around +20 kmph over the limit. Check locally before attempting any speed records. The other important bit is that most of them have a minimum speed limit as well. Make sure you are above that, and don't be caught driving slow in the fast lane, else be prepared for some nice words and gestures from fellow drivers.

    Roundabouts and Intersections -

    Remember to stick to your lane at a round about. And also to halt before entering one. If you have to go left from the round about, take the inner most lane, giving appropriate indications accordingly. For straight, stick to the middle one, and if you have to go right, then the outer most lane only.

    At an intersection, remember right turn is free, unless marked or controlled by a traffic signal. Pedestrians have the right of way, no matter where. Some roads have pedestrian crossings in the middle, make sure you stop for them.

    When turning left or making a U-turn, ensure that you enter the corresponding lane when you turn.

    If you are in the left most lane, and take a left turn, enter the left most lane. If you are in the second lane, enter the same lane when you turn.

    Generally when you take a U-turn, enter the 3rd or 4th lane depending on traffic and intersection width.

    When crossing an intersection, make sure there is space for you to enter the next road. Don't get caught in the middle of the intersection. Also unlike India, when the Green light start's blinking or turns yellow, slow down, unless you are already on your way.

    Stop at the line before the pedestrian crossing, not on it, or ahead of it.


    These are some pointers that came handy to me. I'll try and add more if I remember any. Thanks for reading!
     
    dbg, initpidzero and idutt like this.
  2. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    1,434
    Reputation:
    2,993
    It doesn't feel much different. Only time it is bit weird is taking turns.
     
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes Received:
    1,801
    Reputation:
    5,403
    Hehe, true, but for a first timer, it can be quite a nerve wrecking experience.

    dbg - Need your formatting expertise here!
     
  4. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245
    Its actually quite simple to drive abroad. At least in the US. Everything is just well managed and other folks driving their 4 wheelies are pretty considerate of proper road sense.
     
  5. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes Received:
    1,801
    Reputation:
    5,403
    Agreed, it was much easier driving in the US for me as well, however it was more fun in the UAE (probably due to higher speeds)
     
  6. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    1,434
    Reputation:
    2,993
    you must see my speedometer ratings form Germany, lol.
     
  7. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245

    Haha same thing my dad was taking about after his Germany trip.
     
  8. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    1,434
    Reputation:
    2,993
    we didn't have a fast car, our car was little citreon.
     
  9. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes Received:
    1,801
    Reputation:
    5,403
    AutoBahn show off bah!
     
  10. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245

    Neah we was gloating about some merc suv or something. He went there as some diplomat or something, so they had a lot of cars to play around with :p I think he had a video of the garage at the embassy, will have to dig that up.
     
    JD666 and initpidzero like this.
  11. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    1,434
    Reputation:
    2,993
    Wait till i upload germany pictures.
     
  12. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245
    Sweeet! But yeah, driving in India is a joke.

    btw. JD, how is your Duster running?
     
  13. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes Received:
    1,801
    Reputation:
    5,403

    Duster? I never got one. Me drives my tiny Nano only.
     
  14. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245
    Lolwut! I thought you got a duster recently!?
     
  15. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Likes Received:
    1,801
    Reputation:
    5,403
    Nope. Everyone drives a Duster here. And that kills the fun of owning one.

    Now I'm considering something bigger and better ;)
     
  16. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245
  17. MOZ

    MOZ RAID Leader Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,362
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Reputation:
    4,403
    Your dad is in the MEA?

    For us, all the countries went to so far had left-hand driving. Interesting.
     
  18. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245
    Neah, back when he went, he was in the Air Force...

    The best part about driving aboard is, people adhering to the proper rules and guidelines. It makes it pleasurable to drive there...
     
  19. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    1,434
    Reputation:
    2,993
    more like boring, no road rage, no unexpected events, no deaths, no fun.
     
  20. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    90
    Reputation:
    245
    Lul yeah. But makes for fun drags to the next green light ;)
     

Share This Page