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How Difficult Is It Adapting To Driving In Europe On The Right?

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I might be popping over to Belgium on the ferry from Hull in the summer.

I've never driven on the continent. Will be taking my 2003 auto Honda crv.

Any pointers, advice, warnings or preparation you can offer to me with respect to driving on the wrong side of the road with the fuzzy wuzzies?

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I found it easier in my own vehicle as everything is where you remember (Nearly punched the window out when I first went to 'unconsciously' change gear the first time I drove a LHD car)

Having less to think about meant I was always on the correct side of the road...

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No problems, but check out how to turn left and how to use roundabouts....other than that no difference. ;)

Take it driving a LHD car....RHD car be aware of blind spots.

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mostly motorway.

the French have Priority on the right unless you are on a road with those yellow Diamonds every so often.

The secret to Town driving then is to look at the markings at the junctions...A big solid line means stop and you dont have priority..so watch ahead on the right for junctions WITHOUT the thick stop line...the incoming traffic has priority..silly, but, then again, its France.

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I've not driven a RHS drive car on the right so I can't say how much difference it makes to drive your own. Driving a LHS on the right took me a little bit of time to get used to the positioning, so it may be easier with a car you're used to (I spent a bit of time deliberately aiming at manhole covers and potholes just to make sure I could position accurately until it felt instinctive).

The biggest danger is wandering on to the wrong side at a junction or roundabout if you let your concentration down for a moment and it's quiet. A bit of traffic is a good reminder. I did have one moment of coming around a corner of "What's that idiot doing on the wr - sh1t, it's me".

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The problem is reduced visibilty, and roundabouts going the wrong way round! You might consider extra insurance. You might find your current policy has less cover than you thought abroad!

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On rural roads in France you can find yourself bowling along without a care in the world and then suddenly, and bizarrely a joining road will have priority and you have to stop as if at a junction.

The only times I have driven on the wrong side of the road are in the UK, and only after returning from a few months abroad. On one occasion I was so convinced I was on the correct side that I made all the approaching cars change to the other side to pass me. It was only when I reached a roundabout that I realised I was a bit confused.

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The only times I have driven on the wrong side of the road are in the UK, and only after returning from a few months abroad. On one occasion I was so convinced I was on the correct side that I made all the approaching cars change to the other side to pass me. It was only when I reached a roundabout that I realised I was a bit confused.

I've not quite done that but quite often when returning to the UK I had to very conciously and deliberately think "Which way?" at the first roundabout.

I don't remember too many problems with side road priority in France, perhaps I should have a look at some of the roads I used and see whether I should've been taking a bit more care and was just lucky (erk).

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As mentioned, get your head together in regards roundabouts.

If in doubt follow other traffic for a while.

Each time you get into the car just remind yourself to drive on RHS, sounds obvious but it out in the sticks and no other cars and markings it is easy to lapse into normal driving mode.

Take a satnav and have it programmed from standstill - the last thing you wnat to be doing is trying to navigate as well as concentrate on the different driving environment, that will get you into overload.

Other than that generally pretty easy for the parts of europe I've been to.

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On rural roads in France you can find yourself bowling along without a care in the world and then suddenly, and bizarrely a joining road will have priority and you have to stop as if at a junction.

The only times I have driven on the wrong side of the road are in the UK, and only after returning from a few months abroad. On one occasion I was so convinced I was on the correct side that I made all the approaching cars change to the other side to pass me. It was only when I reached a roundabout that I realised I was a bit confused.

Typical academic! Funny :-)

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Roundabouts are the problem.

Don't forget to have all the kit you need now such as high vis jackets for EVERY one in the car, triangle, torche and god knows what else the new rules now state you must have.

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Don't you need to provide your own breathylser kit to drive in France now (possibly even one per occupant)?

I did a 5,000 mile drive around Europe in 2008 in a Toyota Aygo. I nearly came a cropper twice (both times in Belgium!). Make sure your offside wing mirror is set correctly so that you can overtake safely. When you've got barely 60bhp, overtaking on country roads becomes quite difficult, particularly when you are RHD - you either need to trust your front passenger implicitly or throw your car into oncoming traffic to "have a look".

Driving around cities is when it's most nerve-wracking (tram lines have become a quasi-phobia for me). A lot of big cities operate park and ride and I find this preferable to riling the local populace and doing circuits of busy roads.

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Never driven on the right, but I did once borrow a LHD car over here... that took some getting used to.

You have to get in the other door! That way you will avoid injuring yourself on the shifter!

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Check up on the local laws before hand, try this: http://www.rac.co.uk/driving-abroad/belgium

Reflective jackets and warning triangles seem to be a must as well as the obvious headlight adjustment.

best advice. Chances you will get stopped by cops higher so make sure you have all the correct hear including beam benders

Motorways easy but may need mirror adjustment for blind spots. Biggest problem I found was when you come off the easy motorways and onto single track often at the end of a journey and you are tired. Be careful.

sat nab is invaluable check you have the euro maps installed. It will be hard enough driving on the opposite side for the first time, let alone doing it while you are reading a map.

Make sure you are properly covered make sure insurance b down is correct.

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You should also carry spare bulbs in most of Europe.

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Don't you need to provide your own breathylser kit to drive in France now (possibly even one per occupant)?

I did a 5,000 mile drive around Europe in 2008 in a Toyota Aygo. I nearly came a cropper twice (both times in Belgium!). Make sure your offside wing mirror is set correctly so that you can overtake safely. When you've got barely 60bhp, overtaking on country roads becomes quite difficult, particularly when you are RHD - you either need to trust your front passenger implicitly or throw your car into oncoming traffic to "have a look".

Driving around cities is when it's most nerve-wracking (tram lines have become a quasi-phobia for me). A lot of big cities operate park and ride and I find this preferable to riling the local populace and doing circuits of busy roads.

no breathalyser required.

Live in the mirror.

you will need two warning triangles and yellow vests.

for headlamps, I just drop the headlamps using the hieght adjuster to minimum.

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If using a Satnav in France check it has no speed warning features.

Generally, you can carry all the 'euro kit' you'll think you'll need but if the french cops stop you you'll also need 100 euros :)

I heard of a wonderfully unhelpful french cop who nicked someone who had a hi-viz jacket in the car because it was not in a place that could be reached from inside the car, so you would have needed to exit the car without it. Stunningly useful public servant.

Cops aside, I love driving on the continent and have never found the left/right thing to be a problem. I really worried the first time I rode a motorbike abroad (you don't really sit on the left or right) but no issues at all. I've also driven in the former soviet countries, somewhat poor/aggressive driving but no worse than the centre of Paris.

Watch your speed, most of europe is zero tolerance.

technically, the cop was right about the jacket - but you are absolutely right about the bribe.

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Obviously don't brag about fine British lager, and chocolate! :wacko:

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In France you need breathalyser, warning triangle and hi vis jacket. In Spain you need TWO warning triangles and two hi vis jackets, but no breathalyser. Jackets need to be carried in the car.

Oh and you mustn't wear backless sandals to drive in Spain. It's against the law! I've been stopped in Spain by policia local to check my shoes!

Oh and take your time till you're used to it.

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technically, the cop was right about the jacket - but you are absolutely right about the bribe.

Even if not a bribe they have on the spot fine system I believe.. Luckily never been stopped, but yes the high vis vests need to be in passeneger compartment - i.e. high vis on and then you can get out to get the triangle from the boot with vis on!

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