One Way to Prepare for the UK

Prepare to drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK

I will travel far and wide in Europe this summer and will drive during part of the trip.

No big deal, right? I drive all the time. But I’ve never driven in the UK where they drive on the wrong side of the road. Whoa.

Why am I freaking out?

It always takes me a while to get used to doing something new. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a spazz. My tennis coach used to take my arm and move it through the motion of every new stroke. When I tried Zumba, I was shamed by the elderly ladies dancing the Samba for the first time.

Don’t get me started on my left-hand. I never know what it’s doing. Just last night, it held a key and I forgot about it.

“Where’s the key?” asked my husband, Danny.

“I don’t know, ” I said. Then I looked at my totally lame left-hand. “Ha! Here it is!”

The first time I ever drove, my dad sat in the passenger seat while we crossed the street to the humongous school parking lot. Only one car parked in the lot that Saturday afternoon. I had tons of room in which to take my maiden voyage in our Buick. I took long, slow practice turns around the lot. That one car frightened me. I closed my eyes to mere slits and cringed every time I drove past. At one point, I pointed our station wagon in its direction and drove at ramming speed. My dad wrenched my grip on the steering wheel so I wouldn’t plow into it! In my defense, the Law of Attraction came into play. It was a pretty nice Ford Pinto.

How would I get used to driving without closing my eyes to oncoming traffic?

I got a BRILLIANT idea!

Youtube driving simulators.

The first video was a driver’s test in Halifax. It started out with everything and more. Soon I took right turns into the left-hand lane, (in my head) like a pro. I enjoyed the tense banter between student and instructor too.

Then I had a WTF moment. The student driver took a right-hand turn onto a street where the cars parked toward her on both sides of the road. It was a ONE WAY STREET! She would fail for sure. I waited for the retribution. And I waited. Nope. The driver’s ed teacher kept quiet as they continued as if nothing happened.

My Eureka moment:

Crazy Brits park any which way they want! (Apologies to my British friends.) Sometimes they all park into oncoming traffic. Why? Now I have to watch for one-way signs at every corner!

It lost me after a boring parallel parking lesson.

I found the second video recorded in The Cotswolds for treadmill or spin classes. The classical music soothed my virtual white knuckles. The streets narrowed and a car approached. I focused on the music as the driver pulled over to the side of the road to let the other car pass. What a concept!

After a few minutes with both videos, my confidence soared. I’m sure I’ll drive like a pro after these unintentional tutorials. I hope I don’t get mixed up while running errands in Boulder…

Have you driven in the United Kingdom? Have you ever driven down the wrong side of the road? Do you like road trips?

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95 thoughts on “One Way to Prepare for the UK

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  1. Simulators – what a great idea! I haven’t driven in England, but I did in Ireland. We planned our sightseeing so when we left the airport we headed north away from the city. That way I could get my “sea legs” where it was less congested. By the time we headed into Dublin that evening I felt much more confident.

    Stay safe, my dear, and have a fabulous time.

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    1. I would love to go back to Ireland. We’re in Scotland right now for a few more days, then we won’t drive again until later in month as our adventure continues!
      Thanks so much, Peg! Computer’s about to die…. no charger adapter. Oopsy…

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  2. This really made me chuckle! Rumour has it we drive on the left because back when people travelled mainly on horseback, most people would carry their spear or joust in the right hand. Riding on the left side meant that one could defend oneself from attack on the road as one could jab oncoming attackers with the weapon.

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    1. It really helped! I felt more oriented to the road when I first started out. Danny ended up doing the lion’s share of driving since I ended up being a the better navigator. The Waze app was a huge asset. He’s still a map guy. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was always so thankful whenever I saw one of those notices painted on the street to remind me to look in the opposite direction I was used to before attempting to cross the street. It still wasn’t full proof as another Ali can attest, but those signs might have just kept me alive. It was great to meet you.

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    1. It was great to meet you too!
      Ha! I didn’t notice the signs, but somehow lived to tell the tale. 🙂 It was a bit disorienting in Scotland, but I made a better navigator, so Danny drove most of it. I think he found driving in Amsterdam, with its hoards of bikers and people, much more intense. At least I was white-knuckling it. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha, We drive on the right side of the road; that being left and not right…savvy? Not our fault you all got that wrong 😉 and that’s before I even bring up the spelling discussion that has had many a funny debate lol. Can’t knock crazy though…strange referendums and elections although maybe crazy in that context is reserved for politicians!

    I’m with Scribbles above…back in the days of yore (‘cos we also have LOTS of history and stuff, with castles and everything and even things before them!!), with most folk wielding arms with their right hands rather than left ones (not that left hands don’t have arm arms. to be clear) then it was prudent not to have to go into an affray with the weaker hand. Jousting is a good example if you ever see them, and polo. Generally the right hands are engaged with none horse controlled battering. I guess we are even ready for total apocalyptic dystopia too…in that leaning out of the window with assorted arms has us ready to call to action that latent battle hand. Obviously that relies on infinite fuel; the movies always seem to have that, and bullets too…ever noticed nobody reloads until a pause in battle despite apparent unlimited rounds fired during a scene?

    I digress, amusing and funny whilst, at the same time, rich in contentious debate lol

    Love it 🙂

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    1. We aren’t the only ones who “got it wrong.” Seems you’re in he minority, old chap. Sheesh. Now I’m getting carried away. Ha!
      I don’t know much about you’re politics, but I love your word choice and spelling.
      I watched a Hitchcock movie for a while last night and the shot were way to regular. Threw me out of the scene and had to watch The Girl on the Train instead. Great movie! Have you seen it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hilarious potential dear lady! Minorities simply means not Lemming…I mean, we also work with metric units, but drink pints…minority indeed…can we settle upon quirky instead? I rather like quirky, although my caveat is not politicos, they are certainly not quirky, more….well insert an expletive and you might feel my disdain for said (insert another one!).

        No, I’ve not seen that yet, at least I don’t recall doing so. The title sounds very familiar though…must look it up now!

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          1. Haha, love it, and whilst often contentious I never intend offence. Life’s too short for all that humbug. So glad I popped over to ramble here now 😊

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  5. I need to try this!

    I have the opposite problem. I just received my Canadian licence, but I have never driven on the right side of the road so I am pretty nervous about it. What an excellent idea to watch tutorials!

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    1. It totally worked! The only thing it didn’t account for was the wide boulevarded streets. I drove down one he wrong way and had to drive over the cement median. Ha! The drivers in incoming traffic laughed. Good thing for that.

      Liked by 1 person

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