I have driven all my trucks on the right side of the road in the US. I will be traveling to a countries where cars are driven on the left side of the road.

Other than getting driving lessons, what would be an inexpensive way to comfortably acquire this skill?

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    How would you rate your driving skills? If you are a confident driver in the US you will manage that. Just do it. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 19:44
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    it's not so difficult. Last month I drove a car in Scottland and there was no problem. Just drive carefully at the beginning and repeat the whole time "drive on the left side". You can also listen to Beyonce - Irreplaceable (to the left, to the left...)
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 19:47
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    OK, I see. Here the problem is not driving on the "wrong" side of the road. The problem would be the same if they were driving on the right side. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 20:13
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    I've done it several times myself, and my experience is that driving on the left comes natural after a day or two. What helps is having someone with you to remind you occasionally (so you leave the parking lot on the right side), and to have a local car with the steering wheel on the other side. I also always rent automatics. Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 6:37
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    @MarcelC. 90% of men rates their driving skills to the best 10% of men :). Just saying :)
    – Bernhard
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 12:09

4 Answers 4


I actually don't think that driving lessons would help you. The cheapest trick is just to just do it. Thousands and thousands of drivers cross either the tunnel connecting the UK and France or the different ferries, daily. In both directions it seems to work out just fine. They only need to temporarly adjust their lamps.

In some countries with neighboring countries driving on opposite sides (e.g. UK/France, Suriname/French-Guyana) there will be signs reminding you on what side to drive, at least on the primary roads driving away from the border.

enter image description here enter image description here source: Wikipedia

The trick is to drive carefully and just follow the traffic and you will be fine. Problems arise when you are alone. At least with me especially on secluded scottish roads, it happened more then once that I ended up on the right side of the road, but still, when with enough caution I was always in time to correct.

I also don't drink at all when I am driving in the UK, although the UK isn't as strict in the amount of alcohol allowed as in other parts of Europe (0.08% vs 0.05%-0.02%).

With respect to the steering wheel or the pedals, those are the same no matter where you drive. In the beginning you might end up switching gear in the door or starting the windscreen wipers when changing lanes, but that is only sort of funny.

The main advice is:

enter image description here source :Wiki commons

  • Just do it, it is, I guess. Everytime I see a video of 'driving in Dhaka' my heart's skipping a few beats. Not only is driving on the other side a challenge, but also driving in that city/country. :( Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 20:14
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    @happybuddha As I said above, the real challenge here is driving in Dhaka and not driving on the left side. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 20:40
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    Where did you find the Australia sign? Australia doesn't have any land borders, as far as I know... Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 3:36
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    If you take your car abroad, the biggest issue are drive-ins, toll booths and parking lots. If you get a local car, it's not entering your car on the wrong side - over and over again.
    – uncovery
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 4:51
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    The Australia one is from the Great Ocean Road, which I think has a combination of lots of tourists, high speeds, and infrequent enough traffic that you aren't reminded by other cars what side to be on.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 2:59

When I learned to drive in the UK after years of driving in Europe I found four main issues:

  1. The traffic rules (junctions and roundabouts) - this was actually the easiest thing to learn. If there is traffic on the road, you just follow other cars. Otherwise you need to remember it is basically same as in Europe, just opposite.
  2. The position of the car in the lane - the trick here is to always align the car to the edge with the steering wheel, so look at the left side of the lane in Europe and right in the UK. Once you know the trick, it is easy.
  3. Mirror positions - this is something that took me longest to adapt to. Initially I was feeling like during my first drive without the driving instructor in the car - I just had no idea what happens behind and to the sides of the car. Here I can just advise practise.
  4. Gear stick - its on the left, as opposed to the right. It takes time to learn it, I don't think it is a major issue though.

I don't think you need lessons, just start driving more carefully than normally.

  • Some of this is different if you take your car with you, rather than hiring a local one when you arrive!
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:43
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    The big problem in Nagladesh, as opposed to UK, is the roadsigns. In the UK, we have a million helpful roadsigns (due to our health&safety culture) that it is impossible to get it wrong (nearly). No other countries have as structured a roadsign layout.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 17:29
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    In the UK we have plenty of roadsigns, except for when you're lost and desperately need one!
    – James Hyde
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 10:50

Something to remind you:

Seen in a rental car in Ireland, a sticker on the wind screen reminding the driver to drive on the left.

If you do rent a car without such a sticker, or take a car to where the driving is on the other side of the road, you can make your own 'sticker'. My brother used a plaster (like you put on your finger when you cut yourself) in the spot where you would look when driving on the right but not when driving on the left.

It has to be just out of your normal field of view when driving where you are suposed to drive, but anoyingly in view when you drive on the wrong side.

Tips for getting started:

Most people prefer driving on motorways to get used to driving on the other side of the road, as most cars go the same direction, you 'only' have to get used to cars merging from the other side and exits (off ramps) on the 'wrong' side and you might select to go to the slowest lane before your exit comes up, or just stay in the slow lane while adjusting.

Have a box talk to you (GPS-Satnav-TomTom-Garmin), telling where to go, so you do not need to worry about keeping track of the route. Set the machine to the system you are used to (American English if you are from America) but to the distance system of the area, (so mile where miles are used but km when in a km country.)
That way you will get the words you are used to but the distances which are also on the signs, and likely on the dashboard of a rental car. If you drive your own you should consider what is easiest for you.

If you have a passenger, get him or her to remind you to keep left when you drive away from being parked. Yes, it will get anoying, but driving away from parking is one of the points where it is easy to go wrong, specially early in the day and when you do get tired.
If you travel alone, you might program your phone to give an alarm with a 'keep left' as ringtone for the alarm, at the time you expect to start your driving. (Make sure it does not need action, in case it goes off while you have already started.)

Other moments you need to be very careful:

When turning one direction a few times in a row, you are more likely to end up in the familiar location on the road. So tell yourself 'keep left' every time you turn a corner. This is even more likely when you are lost and looking where you need to go. (Satnav-GPS helps avoiding this.)

When driving on small roads, where you will usually be in the middle of the road when there are no other cars, you run a big risk of diving to the wrong side of the road when someone else shows up. You will have to adjust to the road but it might be better to be a bit off the ideal driving line just to keep you reminding yourself to stay on the proper side of the road. Go slower than you would normally do on a road like that, and that is also slower than the locals do.

More tips:

Keep yourself as aware of your surrounding as you can.
As mentioned in one of the other answers, do not drink alcohol before driving, even when the local laws allow you a glass or two.
If you like to hit the alcohol bottle/can when the driving is done for the day you might even feel better when not drinking much in the evenings after driving, so you do not have a sore head in the morning.
But also make sure you do take more rest than you would usually do, (even more than truck drivers need to take by law) so you stay from getting tired.

Keep hydrated. Have water at hand while driving and drink enough through the day, especially drinks without caffeine.

Have your drinks and snacks handy (or have your passenger hand them to you) and take proper breaks for anything bigger, for hot coffee, and all other things you need to do.

Rest stops might not be where you expect them to be, like in Europe they are often on the side of the motorway with their own entrance and exit, in the UK they are often just of a normal road exit, on a roundabout. So you need to be more aware what to look for when you need a rest stop. They might be spaced different from what you are used to, in low traffic countries there might not be petrol points with restaurants for a few hours, in heavy traffic areas they might be every half an hour or more often. The old saw of 'use it when you see it, it might not be there when you need it' might be the rule to go by.

In short:

If you keep aware what you are doing and go with the flow, it should not be hard to learn.

I do not drive, but have ridden a recumbent trike in the UK (from the Netherlands) and I have been a passenger/navigator with many friends and relatives going across to the UK or from the UK where you need to drive on the right.

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    In addition to asking your passenger to remind you, we renamed "right" and "left" turns to "hard" and "easy" while driving on the left. Might not work for everyone but for me it made a big difference. Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 11:58
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    In my case it is not the driver who mixes up the left and rights but me, as navigator, so when not completely sure I say 'your side' and 'my side'.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 11:59

After 20 years driving on the right, I'm now in Ireland driving on the left. It's not so hard.

Some of the more tricky issues:

  1. Keeping your lane. With a wheel on the left, like I'm used to, the driver should be in the left of the lane. But with the wheel on the right you should be in the right. I find my self sometimes drifting left and I need to fight it.

  2. When joining a large road from a smaller road (of course you need to give right of way), traffic on the near lane comes from the right, not the left. Several times I found myself surprised - where did that truck come from? Pay attention to these situations.

  3. You start driving on a small road, which is all yours. You may forget yourself and drive on the right, or in the middle. Now suddenly a car comes - you might take the right instead of left. This normally happens at low speeds, so it's easy to correct.

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