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Old 28.08.2011, 12:01
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How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

Sorry to call it the "wrong side", but I thought this might get your attention. :-) However, we honestly would like to know how one goes about learning to drive on the left side of the road. Is it even recommendable for newcomers? Our daughter (starting Oxford, PROUD parents) has too many goods to transport, and we are considering the idea to drive her. Any suggestions?
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:09
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

Congratulations to your daughter.
Driving in England with a Swiss car is easy. I do it all the time. Just follow the rest of the traffic.
My son went to Radley School, near Oxford. We were living in Brussels at the time, so again a 'wrong side' situation.
The only time I got into trouble was on little country lanes, with no other traffic to follow, and going the wrong way round a roundabout once or twice. I got away with it, fortunately.
The centre of Oxford shouldn't give you too many problems like that.
You'll be fine. Good luck.
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:11
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

It is honestly very easy - just bluetack a note on the dash reminding you to drive on the left, lol. Only 'problem' is roundabouts if there is no traffic around, as you have to fight your instincts! All motorways to Oxford anyway, so easy peasy. Small roads around the beautiful Cotswolds will be a bit more of a challenge - but the hols season will be over and roads quieter.
The worst day is normally about day 3, when you are getting more confident, get up in the morning and go off on the 'wrong' side- hence the note on the dash to remind you! As long as traffic is around, you automatically adapt- but lapses normally happen when there is no other cars around.
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:16
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

Would you have a recommended route from Switzerland? Thanks for your quick replies. And, yes, we are delighted for her.
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:20
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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Would you have a recommended route from Switzerland? Thanks for your quick replies. And, yes, we are delighted for her.
Sorry, I'll have to pass on that and hope someone else will have information, as I
now only drive into central London from Lausanne.
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:28
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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Sorry to call it the "wrong side", but I thought this might get your attention. :-) However, we honestly would like to know how one goes about learning to drive on the left side of the road. Is it even recommendable for newcomers? Our daughter (starting Oxford, PROUD parents) has too many goods to transport, and we are considering the idea to drive her. Any suggestions?
I've been doing the opposite (right hand drive british car on Swiss roads) for ages. The main thing I've learnt is to try avoiding driving at nights at first. As you are positioned on the "wrong side" you will naturally from your seating position look forward and slightly to the side of oncoming traffic - which at night means you end up looking into headlights rather than away to the side of the road.

Also, not advised if you have a nervous passenger in the front seat beside you, who will be closet to the oncoming traffic rather than you
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:28
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

No problem! The beauty of GOOGLE MAPS. As soon as I pressed the submit button, I thought; "silly me"...many thanks for the encouragement.
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:32
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

There are several threads on this Forum describing all the options already.
In the UK it depends whether you take Tunnel of Ferry, either M2 or M20- then M25 around London and M40 all the way to Oxford. Can't be simpler- just avoid peak times, between 7.30 and 9.30 and 16.00 and 18.30.

If you've never been, I'd take the ferry as it is just so lovely to arrive and see the White Cliffs of Dover, and then perhaps return by Tunnel.
We always stay at a small Hotel in Calais for a rest. That is particularly important if you are new to left driving- as you don't want to be tired.
(We stay at the Kyriad plage- simple, cheap, good food and friendly staff, safe parking and minutes from Terminal). Don't forget the hour difference (UK is one hour back from CH) to time your departure and arrival in UK.

Hope you will make time to make it a proper holiday. Visit Canterbury, Leeds and Hever Castles in Kent - then tour the lovely Cotswolds. Mellow stone villages, thatched and stone roofed cottages, rolling hills - it is so beautiful. Some of my favourites are Upper and Lower Slaughter. Be brave and just 'follow your nose' turn left or right, any little road will take you somewhere lovely!

BTW, dare I ask, where are you from Susan?
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:39
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

I've lived and worked in the UK and the US (haven't driven in Switzerland yet), and it does become second nature. I had a few "moments" of uncertainty when I lived in Miami as the first two streets I drove on in the morning were one-way streets, then I would turn onto a two-way street and panic for a few seconds that I was on the right side of the road. Try memorising a road you are very familiar with and that you can "see" what side of the road you were on. Then flash to that image whenever in doubt.

If going over and crossing at Dover and heading straight for the motorway, the road is, for the most part, divided. And there are a number of signs in various languages reminding drivers to drive on the left. And it will be the same (divided) all the way to Oxford. Roundabouts can be tricky and you will encounter one or two in Dover.

What College will she be at? Parking in Oxford is notoriously bad, and there are a number of one-way systems in effect. I was at Wadham and it was sometimes possible to find space behind the college, but apart from that be prepared to park a good distance a way and have to walk. Everyone arrives at the same time, so that makes it worse.
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:51
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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However, we honestly would like to know how one goes about learning to drive on the left side of the road.
I'm taking a crash course next week when I drive to Scotland for the first time. A friend advised me that motorways are easy but driving in a city can be nerve wracking. Taking a left turn at an intersection you have to be very aware of what you are doing otherwise you'll find yourself instinctively drifting to the right lane as you make that turn!
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Old 28.08.2011, 12:57
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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Would you have a recommended route from Switzerland? Thanks for your quick replies. And, yes, we are delighted for her.
I think Michelin gives all the information you need for a journey, from 6222 Bäch to Oxford,

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Iti...routeConso=5.6

As Odile says, it really isn't a big problem on major roads. Be careful when there is no traffic moving, then you can easily drive on the wrong side.
Are you taking a Navigational help? Maybe you can borrow one, as the streets in Oxford are small and often one-way, so destination is difficult to find. Plan an overnight stop near the channel so you are fresh in England.

Ask the front passenger to wave to everyone with both hands, the natives enjoy that!
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Old 28.08.2011, 13:33
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

the way i remember is that the driver will always be sat in the seat that is in the middle of the road, works for corners and roundabouts too
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Old 29.08.2011, 09:45
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

I second the ferry option, whats cool is if you take the ferry from Dunkirk - Dover, as you approach the terminal in France you go around several roundabouts the "right way".

Then as you leave the ferry in Dover you go round a couple more roundabouts the "wrong way" always makes me smile

The ferry option also means you get a break for a couple of hours if you take the route suggested.

People are making this out to be a bigger problem than it is. Just take your time, do things slowly (especially in cities) and you'll be fine.

I second Oxford is a pain in the arse, even for a local. Make sure you have that GPS it takes one problem away and you can concentrate on your driving.
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Old 29.08.2011, 09:50
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

go on round-abouts the correct way.

don't assume that you have priority because you are coming from the left/right or whatever the stupid rule they have here is.

and remember that just because you have right of way, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be nice and yield to someone trying to feed in. drivers in the UK are much nicer to each other.
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Old 29.08.2011, 10:12
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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the way i remember is that the driver will always be sat in the seat that is in the middle of the road, works for corners and roundabouts too
Only works in hire cars. Drive your own LHD car in the UK and you're at the side of the road.
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Old 29.08.2011, 10:29
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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and remember that just because you have right of way, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be nice and yield to someone trying to feed in. drivers in the UK are much nicer to each other.
Doesn't apply in and around London of course.
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Old 29.08.2011, 10:54
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

I'd recommend practicing arm extension work with weights before you set off.

Leaning across the vehicle to access car park ticket machines on the right hand side of the car requires long arms and dexterity.
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Old 29.08.2011, 11:07
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

Roundabouts is usually the most exciting bit of the whole thing,


he says, thinking of the first time the OH encountered one, swinging at various points across all three lanes, cutting up cars left, right and centre and afterwards saying "well, that wasn't so bad, was it?" to the quivering jelly now sitting in the passenger seat.

I strongly suggest buying and reading a copy of the Highway Code before setting off
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Old 29.08.2011, 14:41
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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the way i remember is that the driver will always be sat in the seat that is in the middle of the road, works for corners and roundabouts too
Only true if you are driving a car from the country you are actually driving in (works wherever you are)

SO...remember that as a driver in your own LHD you are ALWAYS on the side/edge/pavement/gutter of the road and if you find yourself in the middle move to your left pronto.......
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Old 29.08.2011, 14:44
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Re: How to drive in England..."wrong side"...for newcomer?

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I'd recommend practicing arm extension work with weights before you set off.

Leaning across the vehicle to access car park ticket machines on the right hand side of the car requires long arms and dexterity.
One of those litter picker arms would work wonders in this circumstance. I am struggling with a GB car in CH right now.
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