You may have planned a great holiday in Ireland; you are looking forward to nature and greenery, its plains, its sheep, and of course the warm Irish. Renting a vehicle at your holiday location allows you to be more mobile and enjoy your stay intensely. But wait, we roll left in Ireland?! Do not panic! It would be a shame to deprive yourself of exceptional scenery under the pretext that you have never driven to the left; there is a beginning to everything! But why do we just roll left in some countries? Where does this rule come from? How to get used to driving on the left? We will here explain everything to you and of course, give you the best advice for driving safely left.
Driving on the left: why?
In antiquity and later in the middle Ages, the soldiers and riders, mostly right-handed, would have circulated left to be able to draw their sword more easily with the right hand if they crossed enemies.
It was not until the eighteenth century that began to regulate road traffic, that is to say when the appearance of Conestoga in America, a kind of trolley with wide wheels without seat for the coachman. The latter had to sit on the left horse and directed the team with his right hand. The wagons naturally began to roll to the right and the coachman could thus monitor the crossings and limit the rustling on the left.
Later in Europe, Napoleon decided to train his troops to attack from the right in order to surprise the enemy armies. He then imposed traffic on the right in all the countries he conquered.
Driving on the left: where in the world?
We drive on the left in most of the countries that were under British rule during colonization. Among these countries are in Europe: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus.
The most important countries that drive on the left in the rest of the world are: South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand and many others.
We drive right across North America, most countries in South America, Europe (except Ireland and United Kingdom), Africa (except in the Southeast) and Asia (except ex British colonies and Japan).
Our tips for driving on the left
First of all, do not panic! “It’s really not as difficult as you imagine. Admittedly, the first kilometers will be a little stressful, because you will always wonder if you are on the right side.
You will be very quickly quieted. Indeed, most of the time, you will be in the middle of a flow of traffic in which it will be enough to be carried: no chance to be mistaken of way. Even the roundabouts in these circumstances will happen without any problem. It’s a fold to take.
Be especially careful the first time you drive alone on a small country road for example. You may be wondering about your position on the road when crossing another vehicle. So, do not hesitate to roll slowly at the beginning, the time to take your bearings (which come quickly, you will see).
In countries where you drive to the left, rental vehicles will have the steering wheel on the right
The shifter will be on the left of the steering wheel, but the order of the speeds is the same as for a steering wheel on the left. You just have to get used to passing them with the left hand (which usually delight left-handed people).
The pedals, they remain strictly the same as for a steering wheel on the left.
In short, nothing very complicated, but if “on paper” it may seem a significant obstacle for you. Our recommendations if you really have an apprehension: drive quietly, and do not hesitate to “mobilize” your potential companion to ensure that he actively monitors you’re driving.
If despite these tips you are not completely reassured, you can rent a vehicle with automatic gearbox. The advantage is that you will not have to shift and you will be able to focus entirely on the direction of traffic. Attention, usually the car rentals with automatic gearbox are rarer and more expensive.