Near miss has made me think.

Jun 11, 2014
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Having driven on the continent for many years in or on most types of vehicles I have never forgotten which side of the road to drive on. Hesitated, yes, driven down the wrong side, no.

Until this summer, then I had a real close shave.

It was the first day of the holiday and I had travelled from the tunnel down to about an hour south of Rouen. Looking back it was one of those nightmare journeys where everything went wrong:
Delay on the tunnel.
Thunderstorms.
Roads closed meaning I had to go right through central Rouen.
Kids acting up.
Sat Nav playing silly irriots and locking up until rebooted. Turns out it was overheating.
Due to the sat nav locking up I took a single track road which got smaller and smaller.
Running late for the campsite we had booked.
I'm sure you all have been there.
My wife was joining us later in the holiday so I had no "wingman" to spot my mistake.

To get to the point of the story.
Having finally negotiated the single track road with both sides and the roof in the trees / bushes I pulled out onto a 2 way road and went on the wrong side. Coming round the next bend came face to face with another vehicle. We missed, just.

I have now carried out a little modification that I thought I would share:

I have used each indicator output from the towing relay to feed two secondary standard relays, one for each side, which in turn energise, via a switch, a loud buzzer.

When in the UK I leave the buzzer switch off and all is silent. When I go onto the continent I make the buzzer switch so that any time I use the indicators, whichever way, the buzzer goes with the indicators.

My theory is that the time I am most likely to get it wrong is at a junction. Approaching a junction I should be using the indicators and so the buzzer will be going to remind me to drive on the right. As I said, the buzzer is switched off in the UK, it is not a sound I am used to hearing so should help.

I think this should be particularly useful on the first day or so of the holiday as the buzzer is a "new" sound and the first day or so is when you are most likely to get it wrong.
 
Apr 3, 2012
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Before pulling away out there I always repeat the mantra, "go right stay right" it seems to switch my headnav on.
 

scotjimland

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I think most of us have done that at least once.. but once you have had the 'close shave' it certainly focuses the mind in future.

Happened to me once, pulled out of a camp site , first think in the morning, brain not in gear and drove for about 1/2 mile on the left.. jezzzzzzz did it wake me up when I saw a truck coming toward me.. that was back in 1972 .. it has never happened again..

I've also seen stickers you can put on the steering wheel to remind you to Drive On The Right.. and most sat navs I think have a reminder that can be set to alert you when abroad.

some ideas here

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=drive+on+the+right+sticker&client=firefox-a&hs=rQc&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=mRo5VOTrGILN7QabtoGQBQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ#imgdii=_
 
Last edited:
Nov 18, 2011
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scary stuff I have made those mistakes and will admit more than once
bill
 

peter marshall

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Funny enough I have not done it abroad (yet) but I remember a couple of years back we had been home a couple of Months from Spain, we had a few days away in the UK on leaving the site to come home I got on the Right side for quite a distance before oncomming traffic around a bend woke me up to my error :(:(:(
 
May 7, 2011
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Hi, Like most of us ,I had scary episode in holland before I owned a satnav , took wrong turn into a single track road with sloping banks on either side of the track , seemed no problem until a dutch delivery van hurtled towards me , I automatically pulled over to the left only !!!! to see headlights blazing horn blaring van still coming quite fast , luckly I realised and pulled sharply over to the right just as he sped past me with horn still blaring!!!!!
 

Forester

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Been there done that and more than once. Yes very very scary. It really helps to have a passenger to remind you when necessary (but how do you switch them off when not required?).
 

Flyingscotsman2

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I think most of us have done that at least once.. but once you have had the 'close shave' it certainly focuses the mind in future.

Happened to me once, pulled out of a camp site , first think in the morning, brain not in gear and drove for about 1/2 mile on the left.. jezzzzzzz did it wake me up when I saw a truck coming toward me.. that was back in 1972 .. it has never happened again..

I've also seen stickers you can put on the steering wheel to remind you to Drive On The Right.. and most sat navs I think have a reminder that can be set to alert you when abroad.

some ideas here

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=drive on the right sticker&client=firefox-a&hs=rQc&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=mRo5VOTrGILN7QabtoGQBQ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ#imgdii=_
Never done that
 
Jan 3, 2013
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We've lived in France for over 10 years and when necessary travel back to the UK to see family etc. Our motorhome is a French lefthand drive and our 2 other everyday transport are righthand drive and depending on who we are visiting depends on which vehicle we take. So yeah, we know it can get a bit confusing as to which side of the road we should be on, but luckily, so far so good although we have had a few moments bit nothing life threatening . . . yet.

When we first started travelling outside of the UK on our motorbikes an friend who used to often travel with us was so concerned about getting it wrong that his wife wrote in lipstick on the righthand mirror a big "C" on the righthand mirror and the word "Ouch" on the other one.
It worked fine on the continent the problem was he panicked himself once or twice on the way to the boat at Portsmouth doh!
 

gasman2008

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I have only done it once in a car, after a stop on a dirt road, soon as I saw another car I knew and got out of the way. More worryingly in Spain on a motorbike, I was on the correct side of the road, but the road was very narrow on had very sharp bends going down to the sea so I had to move out a bit to make the bend. A car came the other way I instinctively went LEFT as a reaction to the danger before correcting myself. I now know that if you only drive on the right occasionally, if something goes wrong you will automaticly go left before you have time to think. I now drive more carefully and keep my fingers crossed at all times.
 

scotjimland

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Glad u approve...:notworthy2:
no probs.. :lips:

.. During WW2 a British agent was caught in Paris by the simple mistake of looking left before crossing the street.. someone shopped him to the Gestapo
so even a highly trained agent can make left/right mistakes.. the book is called... 'I Looked Left .

take care ..
 

Flyingscotsman2

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no probs.. :lips:

.. During WW2 a British agent was caught in Paris by the simple mistake of looking left before crossing the street.. someone shopped him to the Gestapo
so even a highly trained agent can make mistakes.. the book is called... 'I Looked Left .

take care ..
Noted james but I always look.:Eeek:
 

DBK

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Some useful lessons in these stories and I've made this mistake too - curiously it was in the UK after living in Germany for a couple of years. Awkward Brits driving on the wrong side.

My experience has taught me to be very careful driving when tired and to be extra careful when on a road with very little traffic.
 

Flyingscotsman2

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Some useful lessons in these stories and I've made this mistake too - curiously it was in the UK after living in Germany for a couple of years. Awkward Brits driving on the wrong side.

My experience has taught me to be very careful driving when tired and to be extra careful when on a road with very little traffic.
:doh:
 

cruiser

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yes been there. I turned left at a t jun onto the wrong side. but my boss soon put me right . as she always does.
 
May 15, 2008
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Last year visiting my dad in hospital in Halifax, nightmare to find anywhere to park, I parked on the right hand side of the road facing the wrong way. Upon leaving did a 3 point turn and set off down the right hand side of the road until some traffic came the other way, easily done when there is no traffic about.
 
Feb 25, 2013
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I think a lot of us have being there lucky for me no close calls .If abroad i think we all concentrate a bit more than usual if i am lost i tend to get a bit agitated looking for the correct turnings my co pilot (the wife) used to start chanting keep right right right and its not the first time i have turned right thinking she was directing me
so i tend to stop if i feel a bit tired ,have a rest and laugh it off lol.
 
Dec 5, 2011
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Don't even get me started on German motorcyclists riding on the wrong side of the road in the Isle of Man!!
 

TerryL

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In my time as a coach driver I often seemed to end up taking rookies on their first trips abroad (2-man crew) and although they always assured me that they never would, to a man they always did it once, but only ever once. Always at a time when they relaxed, sometimes at the start of the day, sometimes at the end. (I hasten to add that I never let them get into a dangerous situation - I was sitting next to them!)

I honestly think that having done it once, you're unlikely to do it again - but if you think you need an aide-memoire don't let me discourage you and find you coming towards me on the wrong side of the road!:eek:
 

froggy59

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I did the same on the main coast road in benalmadena.....boy did I S**t myself
 

Abacist

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I did it once in a hire car in Canada. Came off the 401 highway and at the top of the slip road turned right onto the left hand side of the road. A juggernaut appeared in front of me out of a dip which frightened me back onto the right hand side of the road.

They have very very very very few roundabouts in Canada and only on minor roads so there are lots of crossroads where you can get it wrong.

One thing that is nice at traffic lights is that you can turn right against a red light if there is nothing coming from the left! We could do with that being adopted in Europe and UK.
 

Minxy Girl

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Hubby's done it a couple of times abroad, when pulling out of supermarket car parks with no other traffic about, fortunately I realised and he soon 'plopped' the camper back onto the right side each time!

The thing that is more difficult to get right all the time is looking the correct way when wanting to cross a road as a pedestrian ... get it wrong and that can be deadly! I find that I can easily get confused in the UK now as I got so used to being 'careful' abroad, the habit has lingered on so I do a double check even here.
 
Jun 5, 2012
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i put picture of roundabout in front of windscreen/turn round 2 u k till used to driving / work.s 4 me
 

robiebee

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Done it once in the 70's when I was in the army,turned left and drove about 2mls before a truck came the other way put me right, ever since then I've been extra careful turning left as it's easily done
 
Feb 5, 2014
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I drove fine in USA until night time, when leaving a friend's house I must have gone almost a mile before a passenger said "you're on the wrong side of the road".

One Sunday, whilst exploring the little bays between Marbella and Fuengirola, I crossed a road bridge to investigate a golf course. Trying to rejoin the A7, I thought "only the Spanish would devise a roundabout where the exit road crosses the entry slip" BUT fortunately I decided to return to a spot further back to take a photograph of a huge poinsettia. Whilst doing that I noticed that the "entry slip" was actually the "exit slip", because I'd forgotten about crossing the bridge. I always say that a plant saved my life!

Returning to the UK, I visited my daughter on a quiet housing estate. I couldn't believe some idiot was driving on the wrong side of the road and blared my horn at him. Then I wound down the window and apologised for my errors. :cry:

Stay safe - Gordon
 
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