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Driving on the Other Side of the Road - For Real
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(29 posts, started )
Driving on the Other Side of the Road - For Real
I am off on Holiday today and after much thought and deciding against it initially, I took the plunge last night and hired a Car for when we arrive in France.

I have never driven on the Right hand side of the Road before !!!

Am I mad??

Anyone out there had similar thoughts??

Cheers

CRAIG
Depends where you're driving really.

The biggest problem I had in France (Paris to be exact), a few weeks ago (the first time I've ever driven on the wrong side as well), was that there are different rules on the road, in comparison with the UK at least. The law of the road appears to be you have to avoid the crash, especially if you have right of way - if not then it's your fault. Scraps aren't accidents either. Bikers/mopeds/etc are also high and have suicidal tendencies and drive up the middle of the motorway, hazards on, on the pavement.. basically everywhere to get through. There also appears to be no belief in the existance of roundabouts, almost everywhere merges on the main network around Paris. I think I only saw about 2 roundabouts whilst I was there.

If you're driving alone then you seriously need satnav. I tried navigating without, by myself. This was mentally stupid. If you're even half capable of driving a car, then being on the "wrong side" shouldn't bother you in the least, though navigating at the same time is "tricky" I did find myself giving people a bit of an extra wide berth though... Guess that's what the excess can do to you though..

One thing I should point out was that I was driving around on the Friday before the rugby world cup, at the height of the public transportation strike, so my experiences maybe worse than "normal" for Paris.

Also, if you're coming into Charles De Gaulle Terminal 3, then I suggest you wear some comfy shoes as there's a bit of a walk from the terminal to the train station, which takes you to the main buildings / terminal 1 and 2
It's funny how you guys refer to the right side of the road as "the wrong side", when the other 90% of the world calls the left side the wrong side.
Couple of things to watch out for:
- Try to avoid heavy city traffic in the first few days.
- Take extra care when approaching crossroads: your reflexes that tell you where to look for oncoming cars are wrong.
- Same with driving at night. (Winter is approaching; it gets dark around 5 pm.)

BTW, do you hire a car with automatic transmission? Gearshifts with the 'wrong' hand may be troublesome at first.
On topic:
One thing I did forget to mention was that it took a while to get my head around changing gear with my left hand. For a few minutes it did cause a little bit of a wobble - that may be something to also look out for.

Off topic:
Quote from shiny_red_cobra :It's funny how you guys refer to the right side of the road as "the wrong side", when the other 90% of the world calls the left side the wrong side.

I was trying to find out where the first "real" car was produced and driven. Apparently it was in France so it appears that anyone who drives on the left are on the "wrong side".

Bugger.

Edit: Interestingly we drive on the left because we've violent wankers. I knew there was a decent reason
Quote :Up to the late 1700's, everybody travelled on the left side of the road because it's the sensible option for feudal, violent societies of mostly right-handed people.

Jousting knights with their lances under their right arm naturally passed on each other's right, and if you passed a stranger on the road you walked on the left to ensure that your protective sword arm was between yourself and him.

Actually any nation previously or presently under British rule drives on the left.
Quote from shiny_red_cobra :It's funny how you guys refer to the right side of the road as "the wrong side", when the other 90% of the world calls the left side the wrong side.

Driving on the wrong side of the road was only really done because France and other large countries needed larger farming equipment, and because one uses ones right arm to whip the animals pulling the gear sitting on the left gives one better scope to lash out at any slackers. That meant that if one passed someone on the road, one couldn't see if there was going to be a crash, so they all started driving on the wrong side of the road.
Thanks for the advice. I'm off to the Airport in about 30 minutes.

I will have my wife to navigate and have ordered an automatic for the reasons given as I thought driving a manual would not be to smart.

I will be heading to Euro Disney so hopefully will avoid the heavy traffic.

I don't intend driving into Paris from there, I'll take the train.

Thanks again.

NO LFS for 6 weeks!!!!

CRAIG
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LOL, I was going to point out the same. Seems I've been driving on the wrong side of the road for 20 years now because I've always driven on the right hand side.
I do have to say though - 90% of the world drives on the right, and 90% of the world (or something like that) is right handed...

...so statistically at least, it makes a decent amount of sense - for like shifting gears and that sort of thing :P
Quote from Stang70Fastback :I do have to say though - 90% of the world drives on the right, and 90% of the world (or something like that) is right handed...

...so statistically at least, it makes a decent amount of sense - for like shifting gears and that sort of thing :P

Not really, it is all muscle memory. Because I have only ever shifted with my left hand I cannot do it with my right hand as it doesn't know what to do. The same is reversed for those who only ever drive LHD.
Quote from the_angry_angel :On topic:
One thing I did forget to mention was that it took a while to get my head around changing gear with my left hand.

In a LHD car, you shift with your right hand... Either that or I do something really wrong in my car...

Quote from ans7812 :Actually any nation previously or presently under British rule drives on the left.

As mentioned, the USA was one, as was India... They adapted driving on the right side as a sign of detachment I suppose...

Quote from Craig WA :I will be heading to Euro Disney so hopefully will avoid the heavy traffic.

LOL. Maybe if you're lucky and it's bad weather there...
Quote from the_angry_angel :Edit: Interestingly we drive on the left because we've violent wankers. I knew there was a decent reason
Quote :Up to the late 1700's, everybody travelled on the left side of the road because it's the sensible option for feudal, violent societies of mostly right-handed people.

Jousting knights with their lances under their right arm naturally passed on each other's right, and if you passed a stranger on the road you walked on the left to ensure that your protective sword arm was between yourself and him.


Actually, we drive on the left because the French drove (or rode - it was the 1700s!) on the right. This was the time when Napoleon was beating us up, and so we decided to do the opposite to what the French were doing, just to piss them off.
Quote from J@tko :Actually, we drive on the left because the French drove (or rode - it was the 1700s!) on the right. This was the time when Napoleon was beating us up, and so we decided to do the opposite to what the French were doing, just to piss them off.

Well that explains your food too, among many other things.
Quote from bbman :As mentioned, the USA was one, as was India... They adapted driving on the right side as a sign of detachment I suppose...

Don't forget Canada! Imagine, if we drove on the left, what a hassle it would be to cross the border into the USA. And it's a long border...
Quote from shiny_red_cobra :Don't forget Canada! Imagine, if we drove on the left, what a hassle it would be to cross the border into the USA. And it's a long border...

Not really, there are borders like that in several places, around the countries bordering India like Pakistan for example (they actually do drive on the left in India too btw) and around Malaysia also, for example, but there are plenty of others. It doesn't take a very complex structure to move cars from one side to the other, just a bridge really

Without wanting to fuel the debate (I've driven cars of both LHD and RHD btw) I always find it amusing that people think having your right hand free for the gear lever is a good thing if you're right handed, as if changing gear is a difficult task If I have a "best" hand then I'd rather have my "best" hand on the steering wheel all the time thankyou.
Quote from ans7812 :Actually any nation previously or presently under British rule drives on the left.

Yup, they drive on the left in Bermuda, which is still a British Colony (though some in power are pushing for independence).
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Quote from the_angry_angel :The biggest problem I had in France (Paris to be exact), a few weeks ago (the first time I've ever driven on the wrong side as well), was that there are different rules on the road, in comparison with the UK at least. The law of the road appears to be you have to avoid the crash, especially if you have right of way - if not then it's your fault.

The first thing the old UK Highway Code used to say was do your utmost to avoid a crash, meaning regardless of the other rules. I don't know if it's still there since the new one has been introduced recently. I try and make a point of reading it every few years, it's surprising the number of little known rules you forget.
Quote from ans7812 :Actually any nation previously or presently under British rule drives on the left.

I find that statement quite amusing, actually... seeing as how your country used to be under British rule, not to mention your handsome neighbors to the north, Canada.
Quote from the_angry_angel :
Edit: Interestingly we drive on the left because we've violent wankers. I knew there was a decent reason
Quote :Up to the late 1700's, everybody travelled on the left side of the road because it's the sensible option for feudal, violent societies of mostly right-handed people.

Jousting knights with their lances under their right arm naturally passed on each other's right, and if you passed a stranger on the road you walked on the left to ensure that your protective sword arm was between yourself and him.


That doesn't make any sense. Jousting nights always rode on the right side, with the 'shield arm' closer to their opponent, and the 'sword arm' away from their opponent.

Having your sword arm closer to the opponent will do you no good when he lops it off because your shield is protecting the side of you that he can't see.

I think you brits and aussies drive on the left because you were all just drunk. That makes a lot more sense.
Quote from MAGGOT :That doesn't make any sense. Jousting nights always rode on the right side, with the 'shield arm' closer to their opponent, and the 'sword arm' away from their opponent.

Having your sword arm closer to the opponent will do you no good when he lops it off because your shield is protecting the side of you that he can't see.

I think you brits and aussies drive on the left because you were all just drunk. That makes a lot more sense.

It is more gentlemanly. You keep your woman to your left, you then walk on the left so they can't get near your woman. Plus when you greet people you do it with your right arm so you don't have to go across your body.
Quote from J@tko :Actually, we drive on the left because the French drove (or rode - it was the 1700s!) on the right. This was the time when Napoleon was beating us up, and so we decided to do the opposite to what the French were doing, just to piss them off.

England our dear old nemesis
Quote from P5YcHoM4N :It is more gentlemanly. You keep your woman to your left, you then walk on the left so they can't get near your woman. Plus when you greet people you do it with your right arm so you don't have to go across your body.

But that's wrong. You keep your woman to the right, because being a right handed person, your sword will be at your left hip. With the woman on the left side, you'd risk hurting her with the sweeping arch motion you do when unsheathing your sword. So your better half is ought to be on your right side.
Quote from ColeusRattus :But that's wrong. You keep your woman to the right, because being a right handed person, your sword will be at your left hip. With the woman on the left side, you'd risk hurting her with the sweeping arch motion you do when unsheathing your sword. So your better half is ought to be on your right side.

I said gentlemen, gentlemen do not carry a weapon, so that would never be an issue. You always keep someone you consider weaker than yourself to your left so you can protect and not put yourself in a position to get hit in the process.
#25 - Woz
Its been a while since I lived in Paris. It will be a HUGE shock if you plan on driving in Paris but outside it easier going.

Here are some tips...

1) Bumpers
In France bumpers on a car are used as bumpers. CHECK the insurance liability on your rental car. People will push you car with their bumpers to make parking spaces etc. I watched a brand new Merc do it once. Bang, bang... backwards and forwards until it fit.

2) Hold your ground and keep up with traffic.
Everyone assumes you will drive like they do. If there is a hole you go for it because the person behind will see it and aim at the hole you are about to leave... before you leave it.. It is not uncommon for light paint rubs in busy areas of Paris.

3) Roundabouts
They have (used to have?) 2 types of roundabout. One where you give way as you enter (As per normal) the other where you have to give way to people coming on to the roundabout. People WILL just drive in on the second type, you have been warned so learn the signs/markings. The second type is very bumb IMHO. I watcched one blocked by 4 trucks once, nobody would back up so they all sat there.


The act of driving on the wrong side is easy enough and being on the other side of the car help you remember. Just make sure you double check yourself when you join a road from a side road, this is when you make the mistakes.

HTH
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Driving on the Other Side of the Road - For Real
(29 posts, started )
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