I've never driven on the right-hand side of the road before. What should I do?
The best advice that can be given is to take plenty of care until you are used to the system. The most dangerous turn is now a left hand turn across the flow of traffic.
There are other things to remember such as :
- Roundabouts are based on the rest of the system, so you must give way to the left and drive anti-clockwise
- If you’re coming out of a side road, look to the left first, then the right
- Take care when turning off a one-way street onto a two-way street to think about what side of the road you wish to be on
- If you are at a junction that appears complicated watch and try and understand what other drivers do – they will likely know what they’re doing
- Make sure you remember to go back to the right when you have overtaken over vehicles
- On dual carriageways or motorways stay in the slow lane until you are more confident with what you are doing and your surroundings
- Take extra care when overtaking as your visibility will be reduced in a right hand drive car
- Familiarise yourself with the meaning of road signs, road markings and traffic lights. These can include stop signs, single continuous white lines which indicate no overtaking and flashing amber lights.
- Be alert after each time you stop (e.g. at petrol stations) to make sure you return to the correct side of the road
- Speed limits in Europe are generally higher than in UK so approaching vehicles will be travelling faster and extra care must be taken
There are other rules which may apply, such as in France right hand drive cars must adjust their headlights to prevent them dazzling drivers of oncoming cars. Beam converters can be obtained from most garages and petrol stations. Also in France a flash of the headlights means “I am coming through with priority” not “please come through” as it would in the UK.
We have a Country Guides section with info and advice on local customs for Europe.