Driving your motorhome on the wrong side of the road (1 Viewer)

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
35,588
124,882
Sutton on Sea, UK
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1
MH
Adria Panel Van.
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Since 1988
I know that plenty of you stay away from France because you don't fancy driving on the wrong side of the road. I've written an article about doing just that. You can discuss the article, or ask questions about it here

 
Apr 24, 2016
167
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Portsmouth
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42,679
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Hymer B534
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Since 2005
My problem is that because all our motorhomes have been (and still is) RHD and mostly used in France, I find it difficult reverting to driving on the left when we get back to Newhaven !! I have to really concentrate, especially at roundabouts....... :giggle:::bigsmile::rollingeyes:

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Jul 8, 2020
22
42
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Don't yet own one
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I'm lucky enough to have driven in France frequently from my earliest days driving (over 45 years), so can confidently say Jim has it right.
Interestingly enough, the nearest I've come to trouble from driving on the wrong side of the road has been upon returning to the UK after a couple of weeks driving on the right! I once drove round a roundabout the wrong way at a shopping centre in Kent after coming off a ferry. Just as well it was a very quiet time of day.
I think I'd focussed hard on getting it right in France, but didn't think about the return to UK driving, as it was what I always did. Mistake!
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
50,121
137,987
On the coast in West Sussex
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658
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Since 2008 & many years tugging
I find it easier than driving in the UK I suppose LHD helps. I do 6000 to 8000 miles on the continent and only about 2000 in the UK.
A couple of years ago in the UK I was driving my car down a quiet road and wondered why a car was coming straight towards me then I realised I was driving on the wrong side of the road.
 
Feb 16, 2013
18,969
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uttoxeter
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ambulance conversion
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The only serious time I have gone wrong was in a a dark rainy night coming up to a roundabout the sat nav said keep left so I pulled over to the left thinking we were on a duel carriageway then went left on the roundabout. A lot of horns and flashing lights, but got away unscathed thankfully.

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Sep 2, 2016
585
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France
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Excellent article Jim. You are right about those moments of inattention, that is when you are most likely to make a mistake.

When we moved to France many years ago and had a RHD we always said “stick to the gutter” out loud as we drove off. Driver know your place 🤣

One other important thing: a lot of villages and towns are reintroducing the dreaded priority to the right. If a side road doesn’t have a solid or broken line then they have right of way.
In our village that means a tractor charging down a side road which is on an angle and the main road curves so you can’t even see but the tractor still has priority. Been like that for four years and amazingly no accident yet but when there is I think it will be pretty horrendous
 
Last edited:
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Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
35,588
124,882
Sutton on Sea, UK
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MH
Adria Panel Van.
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Since 1988
One other important thing: a lot of villages and towns are reintroducing the dreaded priority to the right. If a side road does have a solid or broken line then they have right of way.

Yes I covered priority in this article on French Road Signs . I mention that in many small towns and villages Priorité a droite is still a thing and you have to slow down and keep em peeled.

 
Dec 31, 2021
119
194
Somerset, UK
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86,049
MH
2022 Chausson 660
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Previously Elddis Accordo 125
Like some others I have never had a problem abroad but sometimes have had problems after returning to the UK, normally after two or three weeks. My record was 5 months last week driving out of Lidl's car park on the wrong side, blocking someone from entering. Perhaps I was under the influence of all that foreign meat and cheese that I had just been buying.

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Jim

Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
35,588
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Sutton on Sea, UK
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Adria Panel Van.
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Since 1988
Like some others I have never had a problem abroad but sometimes have had problems after returning to the UK, normally after two or three weeks. My record was 5 months last week driving out of Lidl's car park on the wrong side, blocking someone from entering. Perhaps I was under the influence of all that foreign meat and cheese that I had just been buying.

It happened to me back in the UK after a long trip away. Fast, straight out of a shop and into the wrong lane. I soon realised my mistake seeing the fast oncoming car, and a bit of poo may have come out, I was on my bicycle! 😲
 
Jun 7, 2014
232
662
Cleethorpes
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31,869
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C class
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2012
As a solo traveller, I would say the only things I have needed to be careful of are some roundabouts and being able to see traffic approaching from the left.
Also approaching toll booths, making sure I've not stopped to too short to trigger the ground sensors before jumping out and running round the front of the vehicle to collect a ticket or to pay.

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Oct 11, 2019
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Would love to give it a go and we have come to the conclusion it's probably the easiest way to get abroad with the little dogo. Just need to get the van back on the road!
 
Apr 30, 2020
389
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Hartpury, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, UK
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70,272
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Bailey Autograph 796
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2016
I find that I have to concentrate most when turning left. Easy to slip into the left hand lane then, especially when management is spinning her map through 180 degrees in order to check or give direction and Archie is asking if we are nearly there yet. I have startled many a pedestrian at a crossing when reverting back to the English side as I have swung across from the opposite carriageway :tmi:
 
Apr 7, 2022
604
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34390 Saint-Étienne-d'Albagnan, France
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Hints that ought to be added when driving a wrong handed vehicle especially when on your own, is try an approach T junctions as square as possible so you can see to your left, also try ane get a wide angled mirror for the passenger side, so you dont have a blind spot when joining from a slip road.

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Apr 17, 2016
5,331
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South Coast
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White One..
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3 years….
Drove along a road in Florida for miles one night before I realised I was on the wrong side😳😳
Easier when there are more cars around as you just follow.
Also have had one time when in Germany pulled out of a site and drove on the wrong side, easily rectified when a car was heading straight for me😁😁
 
Oct 8, 2014
1,522
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Wiltshire
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Autotrail Excel 600B
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Previous VW Camper + Caravan
Jim's "Aide-mémoire" in use.
Message to the Family Group when my son and I went to the Spa GP!

Screenshot_20230127-102914.png
 

68c

Oct 22, 2019
1,714
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Southampton
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65,959
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2001 Pilote 270
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The same as others, OK driving abroad but had a collision first day back in UK. Quiet country road with a T junction ahead to the right. Car approaches from the other direction, looked like it was going to turn into the T junction as was in their left lane. It did not turn but carried on towards me, I pulled hard over to my right and partly on the grass kerb. Car also pulls to their left and onto the grass, we hit half head on. Luckily no injuries but both cars totalled. Of course it was my fault, the other driver thought I must have passed out at the wheel. It could have been worse as in my mind I was in the left seat with car to the right so did not go fully right for fear of hitting the bank. Had I done so it would have been full head on.
I was returning from the airport in a hire car having spent three months abroad even though I had requested the 'collision waiver' it still happened!

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Feb 3, 2022
38
56
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86,681
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Bessacarr E695
I know that plenty of you stay away from France because you don't fancy driving on the wrong side of the road. I've written an article about doing just that. You can discuss the article, or ask questions about it here

I always found that it helps if you remember that when sitting in the driving seat you should be nearest the verge/pavement.
 
Feb 6, 2019
400
910
Santa Maria de Palautordera, Barcelona, Spain
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LMC Liberty 560 1992
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Since 2017
Agree with the oft-mentioned wrong-side issue when pulling away from a junction or exiting a carpark. I do that when I'm back in Ireland and it takes some concentration. The paper heads up display is very useful.

Driving on the other side from what you're used to can also consume a lot of mental energy, so I'd add to the advice that for the first couple of days, don't worry if you feel quite tired after a drive and get your rest (which you should be doing anyway).

Driving RHD in Italy many years ago, I was doing extremely well but getting more and more tired as the journey continued. It reached the stage where my mind failed to process a staggered junction at a weird angle and I got the ire of the local traffic when I had to brake and look at it for about 30 seconds before I could work out how to negotiate it. This was the clear signal that the journey was over for the day so I pulled in as quickly as possible after that.

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Feb 14, 2021
2,917
6,000
Milton Keynes, UK
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79,219
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Burstner Lyseo 727G
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19 month year 18000 miles UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy. Campsites and off Grid.
Generally I don't find a problem on the other side of the road. Just adjust automatically on leaving Calais and vice versa. Where I do encounter problems occasionally is when exiting a turning, exit from a carpark/campsite and if I'm not concentrating I can revert to the wrong side. Doesn't happen often but is easily done if you don't think about what you are doing.
 
Feb 3, 2022
38
56
Funster No
86,681
MH
Bessacarr E695
Got off the ferry early morning in Calais one time and came across an elderly British driver resolutely sticking to the left hand lane on the near empty motorway and giving dirty looks to anyone that tried to warn him.

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TR5

Apr 30, 2008
156
188
West Berkshire
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Coachbuilt
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Since 2007
My problem is that because all our motorhomes have been (and still is) RHD and mostly used in France, I find it difficult reverting to driving on the left when we get back to Newhaven !! I have to really concentrate, especially at roundabouts....... :giggle:::bigsmile::rollingeyes:
I totally agree, get back to the UK, get on the M26 or M25 and you'll really wish you were back in France.
In fact, it is easier driving in France than it is in the UK, by a mile!
 

bobandjanie

LIFE MEMBER
Apr 28, 2008
8,106
16,819
Javea, Spain
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2,360
MH
Pilote V600g
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2007
What's the wrong side of the road, we drive on the right. 🤔

After many years driving RHD vehicles both in the UK and Europe, last year when son in law was taken into hospital I had to drive his works van, a fiat ducato the same as our last motorhome. 🙄
Our present motorhome is LHD but still the same fiat ducato and it felt so strange even down to putting the seat belt on and releasing the hand brake. :doh::rofl:
But driving on either side of the road makes no difference, visibility can alter depending on what country your in. 😎 Bob

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