I am from India where we drive on the left side of the road and although I have reasonable experience driving in India I find it quite scary to drive in the United States as they drive on the right.

Also, driving in India is quite different from driving in the US due to different rules and regulations and restrictions on lane changing etc.

I know many travelers do not seem to have this issue and find it quite comfortable to drive on either side. Are there any tips for driving on the other side of the road?

  • 1
    Duplicate/Similar to travel.stackexchange.com/q/18312/4584 – happybuddha Apr 2 '14 at 1:28
  • A tip : Don't slow the fish down when changing lanes ! – happybuddha Apr 2 '14 at 1:31
  • @happybuddha I saw the question above and I feel like a more exhaustive answer could be better. I got into an accident recently in a car where I was a passenger and the driver was driving for the first time in the US even though she had driven earlier in Oman which is also a right-hand drive country. We got into trouble because she failed to yield left. I don't want that at ALL again. That's why I'm looking for tips rather than simply trying it out. – Aditya Somani Apr 2 '14 at 1:32
  • So you want to know the law around how to drive ? Is that what you mean by exhaustive ? I reckon you read the road users hand book of the specific state you are in. – happybuddha Apr 2 '14 at 1:43
  • @happybuddha Not the law. The girl I was driving with knew the law. I'm looking for tips wherein someone can avoid common mistakes due to habits which may be normal on one side of the planet but not on the other. For instance people in the US brake much faster on traffic lights than people in India. In the start I almost always used to freak out whenever I would cross the road thinking I would get run over. – Aditya Somani Apr 2 '14 at 3:11

In my experience there are two situations where people tend to get on the wrong side of the road:

  1. After stopping for whatever reason. If you're thinking about something else when you get back in your car and start driving, you can very easily do the wrong thing based on your usual driving side. Visualise how you're going to start out (enter the street) before you start driving.

  2. When transitioning from a narrow (perhaps a winding mountain) road to a wider one. This is particularly important if you are in an area with one lane bridges. Here in New Zealand, the road is often marked with a forward arrow in the correct (left) lane when the two lane road resumes.

It is also helpful to have somebody else in the car who is paying attention to your driving and can let you know if you're doing (or about to do) something wrong. Another pair of eyes definitely helps.

For lane changing, well I've never driven in India so all I know is what I've seen in pictures and videos. I understand the concept of "lanes" is not widespread. In the US, generally you can change lanes whenever there is a broken white line between the lanes (assuming both lanes are in the same travel direction). Signal your intention to change at least a couple of seconds in advance. Don't change lanes while going through an intersection.

There are likely many online driving tests for any particular US state that you intend to drive in. It might be helpful to run through some practice tests if you are unsure what you need to know. Most rules are the same throughout the country, but some states have particular rules you may need to know (rules that often vary are things like U-turns and right turns on red).

  • Driving in India is different from what you see in videos as well, but the videos are largely correct. The lane system is quite unknown and honestly we tend to maximize the space on the road wherever we can fit. So basically it's like if someone sees space in the front, they will attempt to fit in. Worst case situations in smaller cities or bad traffic jams can become like the commonly seen YouTube videos. LOL – Aditya Somani Apr 2 '14 at 1:34
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    I found it to be after coming out of a T-junction or driveway. Sudden panic! ;) – Mark Mayo Apr 2 '14 at 2:25
  • I found the three-lane round-abouts in the UK quite shocking :) – Bernhard Apr 2 '14 at 4:24

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