Driving On the Left, Right?

For me, learning to drive on the left side of the road is like learning how to write with my left hand… I can do it, but it looks a little messy: there are curves where there shouldn’t be curves, it’s a bit erratic… and when it’s all said and done, it’s just a little painful to watch.

However, what I lack in skill I make up for with ambition. There is no road I am unwilling to drive, and many are quite narrow. Occasionally I find myself drifting back to my familiar side, but my wife pipes in to stay the course, “Hey, keep left!”

Just to keep things exciting, I also made sure our 4×4 had a manual transmission. If I have to drive on the left side of the road, and in the right side of the car, then I want the comfort of shifting my own gears just like I do in our mighty Hyundai. I guess this is just part of the “comforts of home” in which many travellers desire.

Jumping in the RAV4 I decided not to ask the “Car Rental Man” how to operate this vehicle, just in case he suddenly realized how little I actually know about what I am embarking on. ┬áIt would be like the surgeon asking the nurse to point out the heart, totally inappropriate.

So I did my research on the google-machine… and I thought I was ready to impress the wifey.

I started the vehicle, pulled out of the parking spot, and immediately headed for the exit. My ego was soon crushed as I pulled up to what I thought was the exit, but was actually the entrance… since the exit to “car parks” in the UK are on the left.

Big mistake.

People were passing us and laughing at us… I guess driving out of the airport rental car parking lot on the right side immediately labels you as a tourist who doesn’t know what you are doing.

Unable to avoid the humiliation any longer, and really just wanting to get away from all the other tourists laughing at me… I just sped away… on the wrong side of the road.

However, correcting my early errors and moving on is my specialty. So I quickly adapted and got to the left… and stayed to the left.

Sadly, I came upon my first intersection and didn’t realize it was a “round-about” until too late. I stopped the vehicle in the middle of the round-about blocking traffic coming from the right.

Minor problem, I thought… and I proceeded to put the 4×4 in reverse.

Oh man, where is reverse on this stick-shift… it says up and to the left, but it wouldn’t get into reverse… I kept putting the car in first and moving forward into more traffic.

Andrea was now quite panicked, so I did what any rational husband would do to calm his wife, I took off forward through the red light.

I found a nice quiet sub-division and decided to learn how to work this 4×4… first, figuring out how to get the stick over to “R”.

Ahhh… I must lift up this do-dab thingy, then push left, then push forward. Oohhh, it even has a video display of the space behind me when I back up… and it’s in 16×9 widescreen!

Being a quick study, I was now ready for the open road.

Andrea smiled at me and patted my leg with encouragement and said, “Look out world, here we come!”

Truer words were never spoken.




One thought on “Driving On the Left, Right?

  1. Spencer Sloat

    Hi .

    Looks like you guys are having fun ! Hope you have a good three or two weeks left. Will see you within the first week of july if your back. Peace

    Your Man,

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