My First Time Driving Overseas
If you’ve ever driven overseas, you’ll know that the first time can be a little overwhelming. There are different road rules to understand, the drivers are a different culture, the speed limits may be different, and you may even find that you’re driving on the “wrong” side of the road.
All of the above applied when I first drove in the United States. I find that the US is particularly hard if it’s your first time driving on that side, as in many suburbs the streets are tiny, making it very hard to park, especially if you’re not used to it.
I found that my perspective was completely wrong, and I would keep trying to undo my seatbelt from the wrong side. It’s also super awkward when you go to get in the car on the wrong side and people are watching so you need to open the door and pretend you’re looking for something…not that I would know, of course.
Because your spacial awareness has completely changed, you may find that you drive like a learner driver, and you’re too far away from the middle of the road. If you think back to when you first learned to drive, this was probably something you did, as it’s natural to veer away from something that your brain sees as a hazard- even though logically you know that the people driving towards you are going to stay in their lane.
This meant that I hit a few side mirrors when I veered too close to parked cars, and I had to get out and check that they were ok. Parking was an absolute nightmare- both parallel parking and normal parking, as the car was also bigger than I was used to and all my blind spots were on opposite sides.
The US also has some weird road rules. Turning right on a red light for one. I can’t tell you how many times I sat and waited, only to have someone impatiently beep behind me while they gestured at me to drive. There also aren’t many roundabouts in the United States, but when you do get into one it’s hard to figure out where to exit.
One of the scariest things for me was driving on the huge freeways. They have so many lanes, and people in the left-hand lane drive so fast. I ended up loving it though, as it was much easier to pass slow drivers or choose a slow lane if I felt overwhelmed.
I was surprised at how quickly driving on that side of the road became second nature to me, and it was only if I was driving on a street with no road markings or driving late at night that I would almost go on the wrong side of the road. Having a car makes traveling so much easier as you can stick to your own schedule, so if you want to see as much as possible on your next trip, be sure to check out affordable car hire. This will mean you can see more, do more, and experience more while you’re overseas