Numpty Question re driving in Europe.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Another Lesley, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Another Lesley

    Another Lesley Read Only Funster

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    My one and only attempt at driving in Europe was many years ago and it was something of a disaster...how any of us returned without me killing us all off remains a mystery and it was only on a short one day buying trip into France.:Eeek: My OH wants to spend next winter in warmer climes and the only way we can do this because of our dogs is by taking Doris the Motorhome.

    So, I don't want to kill or damage us or anyone else for that matter so does anyone know where or even if there is driving instruction for wimpy numptys like me where we can experience driving on the "other side" without leaving the country? I did try google...but not sure what search terms to include. Already seen and read some err......different things by typing in "other side":Doh:
     
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  2. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi, the best thing I could recommend is going with another experienced driver, and you follow behind and it WILL come easily. The most confusing thing I had (when I had a bash on my own) was roundabouts - I soon learned though with all the French horn tooting that was going on and yells of 'Sacre-Blurr'.
    :Laughing:

    Team up with someone.

    HIH

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
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  3. mikebeaches

    mikebeaches Funster

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    It's usually built-up areas and - as already mentioned - roundabouts that can be a bit of a challenge to begin with. Once out in the country, or on the autoroute - so long as you keep your eyes open and concentrate - it's all reasonably straightforward after a short while.

    But in busy towns it's easy to get harassed by other (impatient) drivers, until you've built up confidence.

    Afraid I don't really have any suggestions about where to practice in the UK. But before you embark on going all the way to Spain, why not take a shorter trip to France - perhaps on a cheap Dover-Calais ferry crossing - and spend even a long weekend over the water in order to get some more experience. You could plan to arrive in the early evening, after the rush hour, and just stay somewhere not too far away in the countryside for the first night. And then take it from there.

    We're heading for southern Spain at the end of April, but taking a long crossing with Brittany Ferries to Santander to reduce the amount of driving. Hired cars and toured in Spain lots of times, but it will be a first for us with the van.

    Good luck in any case. :thumb:
     
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  4. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    I think you've already put your finger on WHY you had such a problem last time! Going for a quick day trip, no doubt rushing around from one shop to another, then back again is bound to be stressful which will only have added to your nerves.

    Remember that a longer holiday is just that a holiday ... no major pressure so it should put you in a different frame of mind completely. Just take it easy and steady, have your passenger help to keep you on the straight and narrow right hand side of the road, the correct way to use junctions etc and don't let others in the camper distract you, don't play loud heavy music, something which you like normally and is calming will help relax you:thumb:.
     
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  5. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    best advice i was given regarding driving on the "wrong" side was remember to keep your self on the kerb if you cant see the kerb from the drivers window youve done it wrong
     
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  6. Coolbeanz

    Coolbeanz Funster

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    My husband was really nervous last year as it was our first trip in a motorhome and our first trip driving abroad. He said that what helped him was me sitting beside him muttering "hug the kerb" regularly and reminding him to keep right. After the first day it got easier and became natural in no time. The advice to arrive after rush hour is good but avoid arriving just before dark. Good luck, you'll be fine in no time :thumb:
     
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  7. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Before I went for the first time I would go out at night and drive on the wrong side for practice :Rofl1::Rofl1:

    On a more serious note I had a good tip from someone and have used it several times, I wrap a bit of brown parcel tape round the right hand side of the steering wheel just where I would place my hand, this then acts as a visual aid and also when your hand touches it. Some people have done things like stick a post it note on the dash or a wee bot of tape on the right hand mirror.

    If you take your time it really is easy and you will find the hardest part will be when you return to the uk as you tend to switch off and still end up on the right hand side :Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  8. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    I have to agree with the others---------arrive after rush hour---before dark----plan on short driving spells, so you are not tired------DO NOT let others intimidate you, ignore them (unless you are going to hit them,----they will avoid hitting you :Wink:)
    I actually found it easier to drive when plenty of traffic around-----the mistake I made most often was (is) entering a road on wrong side eg. from a gas station onto a two lane road-------this mistake is impossible when other traffic is around----just follow everyone else--------it can be hard changing lanes on a busy road, but just INDICATE check mirrors and if enough room --go--------or creep over until they know you are really going:BigGrin:
    Loads of people do it----it can't be sooo bad:Rofl1:
    Nigel & Pamala

    If there is a tram line with big kerbs either side in the middle of a city road---don't drive down it----it is hard to avoid trams or get out--------DON'T ask :Blush::Blush::Blush:
     
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  9. laneside

    laneside Funster

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    Two golden rules for nervous first timers:-


    i) Before you ever turn the engine on plan where you are going for the first hundred yards it will then be odds on you will be on the correct side of the road for your journey

    ii) Please put your brain in gear before your motor
     
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  10. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    There are a few other tricks. NEVER pull up on the left hand side of the road to park, too easy to start off later and stay on that side especially if there are no other cars around to remind you which side to drive on. Be very wary of narrow roads, come round a corner and meet another car and your instinct will be to pull left, not good as the other car, assuming it isn't another Brit will pull the same way.

    Most dangerous is driving when tired, I nearly wrote myself off near Dover after an overnight ferry crossing back to the UK at a time when I lived in Germany and driving on the right was natural to me. It was a right angle junction onto a dual carriageway, I took the wrong lane and only the lack of traffic saved me when I started off down the wrong carriageway, except to my befuddled brain it was the right lane.

    However, as others have said, drive slowly and hug the curb and all will be fine.

    Oh, and look up Priorité à Droite which you will still come across in towns in France. It may explain why the French have toilets without seats.
     
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  11. Hotelman

    Hotelman Funster

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    I note that the last time you drove abroad was a few years ago. As you live in the north east, you can, for only £95, sail with a car from Hull to Zeebrugge, (overnight) then spend the day driving around,then get the ferry back that night, usually in the same cabin.
     
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  12. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    I always found it easy driving on the wrong side of the road, it just takes a bit more thinking about till it becomes second nature, but it can catch you out at times. I remember in the early 80's going to Brittany camping in a car. I stayed at one site for 3 nights, and for three mornings, I pulled out of the camp, driving on the left and saw the same motorcycle heading towards me on "my " side of the road, before I realised what I had done.
    I think we both moved sites the next day!
    Anyway, I found THIS Might be worth a try?

    Allan
     
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  13. Moodybrook

    Moodybrook Funster

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    If all else fails, when exiting the channel tunnel or disembarking, Park up, get an English speaking taxi driver, then get him to go where you want and let him show you how he negotiates the hazards you are worried about. half an hour or so going round and about should familiarise you or really put the fear of death into you. I jest.

    I would go thro dead early in the morning before the enemy get up and about, or restless. By then you will be an expert. I did and even after a lot of Autobahn driving I tackled Warsaw at 0530, there wasn't a by-pass, so didn't want too many witnesses. It was like Aberdeen during a charity collection day ! Sailed thro no problem. Travelled back on a Saturday (like our Sundays also very quiet, well maybe quieter).

    Have fun.
     
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  14. coldstreamer

    coldstreamer Funster

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    Having driven a 'Left Hooker' for the last 12 years, it becomes second nature after a while, we still own a RH car which isn't a problem from one to another.
    But driving a lot on the continent, I must admin it is much easier, but you still feel a bit strange for the first few days. A very wise man told me years ago when we first bought this van... "Its much easier to drive a LH in a country you do know, than a RH drive in a country you don't know"
    And I have found over the years he was ! Spot On!
    Best Regards Mac
     
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  15. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    take your time dont stress its easy, you are not in a race to get somewhere, as some have said you could use a postit note on the steering wheel centre reminding you to drive on the right.
    I find it easy driving over there and infact im more likely to make a mistake over here when i return by driving on the wrong side of the road.
     
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  16. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    Driving on the right

    Everyone has the same worry before taking the plunge, but it really isn't that hard once you do it and the space on the roads in Europe compared to the UK will be a pleasant surprise. Spain's motorways are almost empty in some parts. My own view is that driving your own RH vehicle over here, unless you are well used to driving a leftie, is preferable and much safer than driving a LH one. The last thing you need when on unfamiliar territory is to be worrying how to change gear withe the wrong hand and wondering which stalk operates wipers, indicators, etc.

    Relax, drive a little slower, and you will soon wonder why you worried at all.:thumb:
     
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  17. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Much prefer rh drive, just sit in gutter and your fine
     
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  18. Wyaye wires

    Wyaye wires

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    In preparation for my first sojourn to the continent with 'Nimue Too' .:driving2::france: I have 3 of them, which will be in prominent view. :Blush: I will be on the right!!! :thumb: I may not see anything else but I will be on the right!!! :BigGrin:
     
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  19. Another Lesley

    Another Lesley Read Only Funster

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    Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond, its sort of encouraging to know that others have had doubts but overcome them with practical ideas. I will look further into perhaps trekking off for just a day or two in the car. Thanks again :Smile::thanks2:
     
  20. Munchie

    Munchie Funster Life Member

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    First time we came to France, leaving an Aire, tom tom said turn right.....just as I got to the roundabout the bloody thing said left....so I did!!! :Eek!:

    There was only one French car approaching the roundabout, he just shook his head in amazement!!!

    Never put a foot wrong since!!! :thumb:
     
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