Look both ways before pulling out!!

Alrighty then, the next thing he was wondering about was….

Learning to drive on the left side of the road.

America is one of the few countries with a left side steering wheel and driving on the right side of the road. I have to be honest, the first time I sat behind the wheel on the right side of the car and had to pull out on the left side of the street was pretty freaky. It’s not so bad when there are cars all over the road because you at least have a visual of what you have to do, but when the road is empty you sit there for a second trying to figure out…..and even then you’re not 100% sure if you’re right or not. You get that nervous tension feeling in your gut like something may creep up on you and run you over. One thing that really throws you off is that all the controls are in the same place. Gas pedal in the right, brake in the middle, clutch on the left….if it’s a manual, windshield wipers left side of the column, turn signals on the right. The only real difference is that you’re sitting on the opposite side of the car.

It also feels a little weird reaching for the stick with your left hand instead of your right. Other than that it’s not so strange.

Now, what *is* weird is getting used to driving over here and then going back to America and having to change everything again. You would think that since you grew up with that style that you’d automatically fall right back into it. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s like you’re starting all over again. Every time I get back to the States I get a rental at the airport. I find it really difficult to stay in my lane and I tend to drive in the left lane more than the right if I’m not paying attention. Side story here, I was at a convenient store in Cold Springs, Kentucky a few years back and when I went to get on the road again I instinctively looked to the right to see if anything was coming. The road was empty so I started to pull out, when I looked back the other way there was a huge tractor trailer  barreling right towards me. I slammed on my brakes and he literally missed me by inches. WHEW!!! Another foot or 2 out of that parking lot and I would have been road pizza.

Anyway, if you visit a foreign country and intend to drive just make sure that you are paying attention at all times. Look both ways before pulling out because you may be mistaken.

Y’all come back, I’ll leave the light on for ya.


P.S. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve walked up to the car, not thinking, and opened the door on the wrong side of the car. Even after 20 years I occasionally do that.



ex-pat American living in Japan since 1991. Love to play guitar and billiards. Love my Cincinnati Bengals too. Who-Dey!!
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3 Responses to Look both ways before pulling out!!

  1. LylesBrother says:

    I can personally relate to many of the experiences you mention here. Thank you for sharing a great blog with us, Mully! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Look both ways before pulling out!! « Warmoth_Strat -- Topsy.com

  3. Bonnie says:

    LOL! When I was over in England visiting Paula and Mark Watts, I always had to wait to cross the street with other people because I didn’t trust myself to do it safely on my own. I was ALWAYS looking the wrong way. 😉

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