European driving advice??

Discussion in 'Full Timers' started by gazza280, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. gazza280

    gazza280

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    Hello Funsters

    Funny how things just pop into your mind??
    Driving to London on Tuesday I saw incidents where cars had come off the road after crashes and I noticed that they were both left hand drive cars and this got me thinking, when I get my van chances are it will be right hand drive. Did the fact that both vehicles were left hand drive somehow contribute to the fact that they were both wrapped round trees, and I'm asking the seasoned European drivers out there.
    I am planning to buy my van in January (if the end of the world doesn't happen in December) and take off in the long pursuit of happiness driving across France so it makes sense to ask!
    Ok I understand that you have to take more care when driving on the right in Europe but what difficulties has anyone come across driving on, what is in effect, the wrong side of the road?


    Thanks in advance
    Gary
     
  2. ukbill

    ukbill Funster Life Member

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    none maybe the crashes was more down to the drivers than to the vehicle but also could be the english drivers on our road being less forgiving than in europe
     
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  3. Nirvanauk

    Nirvanauk Funster

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    I actually prefer driving in France in my RHD motorhome. The only bit I find a bit difficult is pulling out of a slip road onto the main highway as I have a bit of a blind spot. Luckily the misses is sat,on the good side so she keeps us safe!
     
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  4. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv

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    Gary....I live in France and I have lived in France for 9 years now....I still drive my right hand drive peoples carrier Citroen...NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL...I also have a 7.4m "A" class Motor home which I do 25,000 to 30,000 a year in touring France mostly also other European countries..so I am constantly switching from right hand drive to left hand drive while I am in France...I also drive my left hand drive Motor home in the UK as well as my right hand drive Citroen...to be honest I don't even notice, I do it automatically ...It is NOT a problem.

    What I will say to you ..IF you intend to do most of you touring in other European countries other than the UK...maybe it would be better to get a Left hand drive....don't forget at round-a-bouts and junctions you look the opposite way... left hand drive look to your left...right hand drive look to your right for on coming traffic. before you pull out...also you must STOP at STOP junctions in France..wait a couple of seconds make sure all is clear before setting off......or you will end up with a on the spot 90 euro fine..
    Also in many towns and other places there is still the "Priorité à Droite" priority to the right in force although it does seem to be getting fewer and far between....you have to give way in some places to the traffic entering the main road from the right onto the road you are on.. from what may look like a minor road ..

    If you are a bit unsure about looking right and left... put something on your dashboard to remind you...and also the conversion of speeds from MPH to KM.....and just take it steady at first....You will be fine use your co-pilot just look down the road before you overtake on a single track two way road...and at junctions



    You will be fine:thumb:


    Mel
     
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  5. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    No problem with a left hand drive in the UK either, all you have to do in the UK is keep to the kerb and of course dont overtake if it aint safe to do so (but that bit is the same Left or right hand drive).

    I drive LHD in the UK and its a piece of cake, cannot see that is any different in Europe with RHD, just drive with care and if you don't think its safe, then chances are it isn't.

    After all yur in a MH! :thumb:
     
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  6. lesleyjean

    lesleyjean Funster

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    I feel the same way as Nirvanauk.
    I prefer to drive RHD in France and Spain. So much better than driving in the UK::bigsmile:
    The roads are brilliant. After arriving my brain seems to automatically switch to driving on the right hand side and because I am in a familiar RHD vehicle, I feel comfortable.
    I have never had a problem and even if I bought a new van I would buy RHD.
    Soooo easy.
    Go for whatever you feel comfy with.
    For me RHD every time::bigsmile:
    Good luck and happy travels
     
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  7. motorhomer

    motorhomer Funster

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    My van does far more miles on the "wrong" side of the road than in the UK, it is RHD and I have never had any real problems, in fact sometimes its easier as it is easier to position your van close to the edge of the road when that is the side you are driving on. Its also easier than a RHD car would be as you sit higher and have better visibility.

    I am far more relaxed driving in most countries in Europe than on the UK's over congested roads! By far the worst part of any trip overseas for me is the drive from home to Dover - 250 miles of 3 lane traffic hell around Birmingham and then the M25. Once off the boat in Calais it is a different world.

    Just occasionally if you approach a junction at an angle it can be difficult to see what's coming from the left, but usually SHMBO is there and helps.
     
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  8. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    only problem i have is reading the speedo in kilometers so i set the sat nav into km mode and whatch that to cheek my speed if i go 5km over it barks at me anyway
     
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  9. novawight

    novawight

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    at 75 last year, ist trip with campervan in France,went on my own made one foo faa, when sat nav said take 2nd exit on roundabout, and ended up in Supermarket :Smile:............Del
     
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  10. yorkshirepudding

    yorkshirepudding

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    One piece of advice. When leaving the port on arrival in France follow another vehicle which is travelling at a speed comfortable for you, until you become acclimatized. It won't take long.
     
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  11. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    My last MH was LHD and was no trouble in UK, present one is RHD and no problem on the continent. Blind spots can rarely be a bit of a problem, but the passenger can help.
    Driving in the UK is far more of a problem than the continent due to congested roads and impatient bad tempered drivers.
     
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  12. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv

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    Good for you Novawight:thumb::thumb:
     
  13. Onderweg

    Onderweg Funster

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    Hi Gary

    We live in The Netherlands and we went to England in 2009 for the first time.
    Driving at the "wrong" side of the road took me about 5 minutes to get aquainted to.
    The only thing is that you have to stay focussed.

    I found out there is something else which is far more dangerous: cross a street while walking !!!
    You are used to be focussed while driving, but you (at least I) are not that much focussed while walking.
    Had luck though because my dog stopped while i wanted to cross looking in the wrong direction, if not i would have been hit by a car :Eeek:.

    Made it a habit to stop about 1 meter from the curb, look around and than cross the street

    Have a good time and enjoy it
     
  14. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    European driving

    I found driving on the right easier to adjust to than going back to the left in the UK.
    I tend to just sit behind lorries who are travelling at my speed and drive defensively:)
    It won't be anywhere near as bad as you imagine, and if your sat nav tries to send you down an unsuitable road, i would ignore it:Doh:

    Enjoy!:Cool:
     
  15. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    I have all sorts of problems when I hire a LHD car.

    I constantly reach the wrong way for the gear stick and handbrake.Also I always reverse looking over my left shoulder and I can't seem to look over my right shoulder the same way:Doh:

    For those reasons I am far happier driving my own RHD car.

    Never driven a LHD motorhome but I anticipate I would have the same problems::bigsmile:
     
  16. tony_g

    tony_g Funster

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    Snap. I have mostly driven my own car or MH in Europe over the past 30 years and whenever I have had to hire a LHD I have persistently scraped my knuckles on the door going left for the gearstick! Just cannot get my brain to re-groove. I'd rather drive a familiar vehicle and adjust to the other side of the road, which seems no effort to me. I agree with other comments about finding it useful to be able to clearly see and follow the edge of the road as many French minor roads or villages could be a challenge in a wider vehicle. As for passenger side blind spots, of course there is SWMBO but also very useful is the Milenco blind spot mirror I have fitted which increases the field of view considerably. Some slip roads are still a problem but I can also see out of the side hab window on most occasions if the junction is particularly acute - just remember to drive with the net curtains open. ::bigsmile:::bigsmile:::bigsmile:::bigsmile:::bigsmile:
     
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  17. Stephen & Jeannie

    Stephen & Jeannie

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    Let me get in first !!!

    Right hand drive is great for viewing the "scenery" on roundabouts !!!:Blush::Blush::Blush:
     
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  18. jennyp19

    jennyp19 Funster

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    When we were in Poland last year we got held up as there had been a particularly bad accident. We later found that it was a Polish driver who had been living in the uk - he had driven on the wrong side of the road in a LHD vehicle.
     
  19. Ridgeway

    Ridgeway Funster

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    Stick a post-it note on the speedo as a reminder, it works pretty well.

    Night time can be more tricky as the references of other vehicles are less evident.

    Other wise it's just about getting used to it.
     
  20. coldstreamer

    coldstreamer Funster

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    coldstreamer

    A very wise driver told me many years ago, "You are much safer driving a L/H Van in a country you know.....Than a R/H Van in a country you don't know.

    After 26 yrs of happy motoring all over the Continent.. I'm sure he was speaking the truth.
     
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