Switching from driving on the left to the right

60 posts in this topic

Posted

I am from a country which drives at the left hand side of the road and would like to buy a car here in Germany. I have had a drivers licence for 6 years now but do I need to first go for driving lessons or the switch is easy. I am yet to attempt driving at the right.(I am left handed as well).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I wouldn't say that you needed driving lessons if you're a confident driver anyway, but definitely practice by yourself on some quiet roads on a Sunday until you're comfortable with it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Try starting with an automatic transmission. I found this helped me in South Africa.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

practice by yourself on some quiet roads on a Sunday until you're comfortable with it.

Or better still a local super/hyper-market car park on a Sunday when no-one else is around.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thinking back more years than I am willing to accept nowadays, back to the time I was making my first (rental car) forays into driving on the right, I recall that after I thought I had the thing licked, I entered a narrowish street and came suddenly almost nose to nose with another vehicle in a near-emergency-stop situation. There was no collision, but the other driver must've thought me mad for turning to my left to avoid him...

The moral of this story is, there will come a time when you think you can relax, but you should resist any such thing.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It´s easy! I just follow the car in front for a while, and then go off on my own when I feel ready!!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

I am from a country which drives at the left hand side of the road and would like to buy a car here in Germany. I have had a drivers licence for 6 years now but do I need to first go for driving lessons or the switch is easy. I am yet to attempt driving at the right.(I am left handed as well).

When I first came over, I gave it a week or two before attempting to drive on the right. Didn't half piss a few people off though

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Take a passenger in the car with you, they will shout soon enough if you drift over to the left.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks hey. I will definately try practicing in an empty car park!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Early Sunday morning is a good time to drive around a town, there is usually relatively little traffic around.

 

Learn about the traffic rules and the meaning of the road signs, some of which may be new to you. Driving is Germany is strictly regulated everywhere and the roads are littered with road signs. Many of them are compulsory and failure to observe them can quickly cost money even in the most remote areas (including many car parks and other places with vehicle access).

 

Getting used to driving on the right probably won’t take too long, but it will take longer for your instincts to adapt when making a split-second decision. When driving, you should regularly think about how to react here in emergency situations.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Concentrate when driving & reduce the number of distractions (radio, kids etc).

 

Beware of coming out of a one-way street & thus ending up on wrong side.

 

I found the most danger was when visiting "back home" & ending up on the wrong side there...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It's actually not as bad as you'd think. I did the opposite, going from right to left. The first time was when I was on a trip to Ireland, and I called the car rental company before I left to make sure I could get an automatic. Naturally, when I got there that all went out the window, because they didn't have any. So I had to leave the car place in the middle of Dublin during rush hour traffic and drive to Galway. I was really surprised at how easy it actually was to switch. The hardest thing to get used to is the turn signal/wipers being on the opposite side. You'll no doubt flip the wipers on a number of times when turning. Everyone does.

 

Fast forward to last year, when I moved to Australia. For some reason this time it didn't seem quite as easy, but you adjust fairly quickly. Now after buying a car and driving on the opposite side for the last 10 months or so, it's second nature. But now I'm worried about driving when I go back to California to visit at the end of the year!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It's not that hard. Just *forget* the routine, first of all, forget the automatism. Keep absolutely concentrated (for at least a couple of weeks). Specially:

1. Smaller roads: right before left! So always look at the right roads

2. Roundabouts (Kreisel): Go *right*

3. Autobahn: Don't enter the road on the wrong side!

 

hth

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I rode around as a passenger for the first few weeks to get the hang of it. After five years I still find myself veering to the left in moments of inattention - maybe hypnosis would help.

 

Just remember to get a Führerschein before you have been living here for a year (if your licence isn't from an EU country, that is). You only have to do the tests... if you try to get a German licence after you have been here for a year you have to do the whole thing from the beginning, which is expensive and time-consuming!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I agree with HEM, driving on the "wrong" side of the road is not that difficult. The far bigger danger is when you go back "home" after living abroad for a year or two, relax and assume that everything is back to "normal". It's not, "normal" is what you've experienced for the last couple of years!

 

Having said that, the biggest danger in both cases is coming out of parking places or petrol stations, in particular on dual carriageways, it's very easy to land up on the wrong side of the road, especially at night.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Have you exchanged your driving licence for a German one? If I remember correctly, you have a year to do so otherwise you'll have to take a test.

 

I drive so seldom, that I've not got any ingrained habits.

 

However, this last stretch has been 6 years. So before I return to Wales and drive around the hills and mountains there, I'm going to have one or two lessons just to get myself back into the feel of driving again.

 

I'd say book a lesson. And see how it goes. You don't need to book more than just one if that is all you want. No obligation to book a whole load of them.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

If I remember correctly, you have a year to do so otherwise you'll have to take a test.

You don't have to swop a EU licence any more.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

Hi,

I am a regular left hand driver (in the UK) and for the first time, I am hiring a car for a couple of days to get around here in Germany.

Some of the driving will involve the auto-bahn also.

 

As I have never driven in Germany, and never driven on the right hand side, I am feeling a bit uneasy and anxious...

 

For those that were once in the same situation, what are your tips and suggestions?

 

Many thanks!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Not sure if there's anything special about driving in Germany you should watch out for, but the changeover will take some getting used to.

 

After nearly 30 years of driving, the first time I drove on the left was on a month-long trip to South Africa. I quickly learned that you really have to watch out at intersections, because your first instinct when turning 90 degrees is to orient yourself again in a safe spot, so for example if you turn left and you're not actively telling yourself to stay on the left side after you turn, you will instinctively head to the right-hand side. I did that once in Cape Town and was lucky only to have been honked at really loudly by the oncoming traffic!

 

Give yourself lots of time to get where you want to go, lots of room behind the vehicle in front of you, watch your mirrors a lot.

 

What works for me is constantly reminding myself aloud: hey, they drive on the left here! Or if you have passengers, get them to tell you that every 15 minutes.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

Not sure if there's anything special about driving in Germany you should watch out for

Actually, there is: the right-before-left rule! If not otherwise marked, a vehicle entering your street from another street to the right has priority! Slow down and watch for signs indicating whether or not you have the right-of-way.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now