VWVortex.com - Spent four days driving in Scotland...
Username or Email Address
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    VWVortex


    The Car Lounge
    Results 1 to 23 of 23

    Thread: Spent four days driving in Scotland...

    1. Member
      Join Date
      Nov 20th, 2000
      Location
      Northern Virginia
      Posts
      4,972
      Vehicles
      2013 Ford Focus ST3, 2015.5 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-e, 2004 BMW R1150R
      07-11-2019 09:40 AM #1
      ...and I don't think I have ever been so stressed while driving in my life!

      Here's what Rick Steves had to say about driving in Britain: "Many Yankee drivers find the hardest part isn't driving on the left, but steering from the right. Your instinct is to put yourself on the left side of your lane, which means you may spend your first day or two constantly drifting off the road to the left."

      He's absolutely right -- I really had little problem driving on the left side. I kept chanting to myself, "stay left, stay left" whenever making a turn, entering a roundabout, or on a road without markings. Required increased concentration, yes, but not a huge deal.

      But judging the car's corners from the right-side drivers seat -- now that was something completely different. As Steves warned, at first I definitely found myself hugging the left side of the road, to the point I clipped the curb a couple of times, but it was when we hit the really narrow and twisty two-way roads with 60-mph speed limits that I REALLY had trouble: I just couldn't judge the car corners from, for me, what should have been the passenger seat. Following behind a Toyota Yaris at one point, I could see that it had about a foot of clearance between the center line (when there was a center line) and the stone wall on the left. My rental Volvo V40 was about four inches wider and I can't tell you how many times I had to grit my teeth and fight my urge to veer left to avoid what I thought was going to be certain impact as we rounded a tight corner and encountered a tour bus with its front bumper over the centerline. My wife got used to hearing me mutter "holy ****!" and "holy mother of God!" as I held my line and we passed with side mirrors seemingly miraculously still attached.

      My wife would warn me when I was drifting too far left, and kept telling me that my side didn't look so bad from where she was sitting, which REALLY made me wish we had paid extra so she could have driven too, since she was sitting in what would normally be the driver's seat for us. Would have been interested to see if she found it as difficult as I found it from the right-hand side.

      Honestly, I think if we had encountered similar roads elsewhere in Europe but with left-hand drive cars, I wouldn't have found it nearly as difficult.

      I have to say, as much as I was looking forward to sipping some single-malt Scotch at the end of each day, I suspect I had twice as much as I normally would have. Good for the local economy; not so good for the local liver.

      In the end we returned the car undamaged, which I think I rank as one of my greater driving accomplishments.

      Here's a shot of the rental car: good looking car, quite comfortable, about the same size as a Golf, but like my V60 feeling a little long in the tooth compared to newer competition (it was introduced in 2012).


    2. Remove Advertisements

      Advertisements
       

    3. Member Chris_V's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 18th, 2009
      Location
      Pikesville, MD
      Posts
      17,886
      Vehicles
      '13 Volt, '05 330ci ZHP, '02 Suburban 2500LT
      07-11-2019 10:03 AM #2
      yeah, I got my first taste of driving in Scotland in a rental Astra in Edinburgh during the 6 nations rugby tournament, with a ton of pedestrians and large tour buses all over. I learned quickly that what you do is place your right shoulder on the center line of the lane and then you're actually in the right position in the lane to miss the parked cars and lorrys on the left side and stay out of ditches. I agree it was highly stressful. You definitely do want to subconsciously sit n the lane where you normally sit, which puts you too far to the left.

      And so many major A roads are really, REALLY narrow.

      It was much easer to drive the rental Caterham all over the highlands, as it as so much easier to position in the lane.





      This is me getting stuck behind a farm implement on an A road

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvotjpOppqQ
      "Like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to budgetary perfection"

    4. Member Meroving1an's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 19th, 2007
      Location
      San Francisco, CA
      Posts
      1,088
      Vehicles
      Present: 991.1 GT3 Past: ND MX-5, GVB STI
      07-11-2019 12:25 PM #3
      Thanks for sharing! I wonder how I'll fare driving on the "wrong side of the road' when I go to Japan in a few weeks.

    5. Member jettagli1991's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 4th, 2002
      Location
      Orchard Park, NY
      Posts
      4,634
      Vehicles
      '91 Jetta GLI, '68 Beetle 'vert, '65 Rambler Classic, '08 Outback
      07-11-2019 12:37 PM #4
      I'm going to Ireland at the end of a month and will have to do a lot of driving, so I'm nervous as well.

    6. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 5th, 2004
      Location
      Southern Indiana
      Posts
      40,988
      Vehicles
      '66 Beetle (X2) '08 Fit
      07-11-2019 01:01 PM #5
      Thanks for the insight.

      I've always assumed that remembering to drive on the left with unmarked/poorly marked roads would be the hard part, but that all makes perfect sense.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    7. Member
      Join Date
      Aug 22nd, 2014
      Location
      Houston
      Posts
      328
      Vehicles
      2012 Accord, 2012 Escape, 69 (nice) Beetle
      07-11-2019 01:35 PM #6
      I just did a week in England. I hadn't driven there before, but I've visited every other summer my whole life. Maybe that made it easier? I had a blast ripping down the narrow A and B roads in a focus estate. I've also enjoyed the roads around La Spezia in a Fiat Panda and Morocco and southern Spain in a focus hatch.

      Morocco can fit 5 lanes of traffic on a 3 lane road and still have room for a donkey. Not my pic, but not an uncommon sight.

      Either way, an experience not to be missed.

    8. Member
      Join Date
      Nov 20th, 2000
      Location
      Northern Virginia
      Posts
      4,972
      Vehicles
      2013 Ford Focus ST3, 2015.5 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-e, 2004 BMW R1150R
      07-11-2019 01:55 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by gotcha640 View Post
      I just did a week in England. I hadn't driven there before, but I've visited every other summer my whole life. Maybe that made it easier? I had a blast ripping down the narrow A and B roads in a focus estate. I've also enjoyed the roads around La Spezia in a Fiat Panda and Morocco and southern Spain in a focus hatch.
      Could also be my age — after 37 years of driving only a left-hand drive car, my muscle memory may simply be so strong that it’s hard to overcome.

    9. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 13th, 2006
      Location
      Not in Europe. Boo.
      Posts
      21,711
      Vehicles
      SR71 C30 t53a/b/b
      07-11-2019 02:52 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by gotcha640 View Post
      I just did a week in England. I hadn't driven there before, but I've visited every other summer my whole life. Maybe that made it easier? I had a blast ripping down the narrow A and B roads in a focus estate. I've also enjoyed the roads around La Spezia in a Fiat Panda and Morocco and southern Spain in a focus hatch.

      Morocco can fit 5 lanes of traffic on a 3 lane road and still have room for a donkey.


      England.


      Morocco. << Laâyoune - Tarfaya >>
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.
      Buy my couch!

    10. Member
      Join Date
      Jun 19th, 2002
      Location
      CLT NC
      Posts
      10,187
      Vehicles
      3 Audis, 1 Honda, 1 GMC
      07-11-2019 03:07 PM #9
      In 1990 I was living in Germany for a year and had 2 Australian friends visit over the summer and tag along on a 14 day road trip from Hannover around Bavaria (in a rental MB 190).
      The cries for mercy from those 2 as we approached a sweeper at 75mph with another car coming on a 2 lane road was funny at first, but it never stopped. Ever. Their brains were wired for left side of road driving and even as passengers and 2 weeks to get used to it...they just couldn't. It was an adventure for them, for sure. And they wanted nothing to do with getting behind the wheel, Autobahn experience or not.

    11. Member D_B_Jetta's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 26th, 2006
      Location
      Borden, Ontario, Canada, eh!
      Posts
      2,210
      Vehicles
      17 Ram 4x4(Daily Hemi), '84 Rabbit (Slowly progressing project)
      07-11-2019 03:40 PM #10
      When I spent 2 weeks in New Zealand I found the hardest things to wrap my head around were parking lots and entering roadways. So many years of sticking to the right side of the rows and driveway exits.
      Driving on roads in traffic was fine, and on the back roads was not a problem. Outside of Auckland, there really wasn't much traffic and roads were "normal" width.

      It did mess with my muscle memory shifting with my left hand. Both my rentals were stick.
      I also did try to get in the wrong side more than a few times...


      G
      █ ♣ █ Army

    12. Member
      Join Date
      Aug 22nd, 2014
      Location
      Houston
      Posts
      328
      Vehicles
      2012 Accord, 2012 Escape, 69 (nice) Beetle
      07-11-2019 04:45 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by LT1M21Stingray View Post


      Morocco. >
      Have you been to Laayoune? We lived in Dar Bouazza, worked in El Jadida (Jacobs/OCP phosphate plants), office in Casa, went to Marrakech and Rabat and Essaouira and Safi. My neighbor went to Dakhla a couple times for the kite surfing.

      The dunes over the road only happened to me on the way to Marrakech.

    13. Member
      Join Date
      Feb 8th, 2000
      Location
      Portland, ME
      Posts
      4,384
      Vehicles
      1973 Porsche 911T, 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup, 2011 Ford F-150 5.0
      07-11-2019 05:37 PM #12
      I can relate. Two buddies and I went to Scotland last month and covered 1100 miles in 6-7 days on motorcycles. I was a new motorcycle rider to boot and needless to say, I was very nervous. Glad you had a safe and enjoyable time. It really is an amazing country!

    14. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 28th, 2009
      Posts
      16,329
      07-11-2019 05:39 PM #13
      I've never driven on the left side of the road, but 20 years later I still tease me dad for hitting the rear tire of our Ford Falcon on round abouts when we were in Australia. He had the same issue placing the car wrong.
      Driving While Awesome Podcast. Give it a listen.
      Quote Originally Posted by Phillie Phanatic
      SoS - please shoot a message when Brendan & His Retarded Sycophants has another gig. I’ll be there, front row.

    15. Member
      Join Date
      Aug 22nd, 2014
      Location
      Houston
      Posts
      328
      Vehicles
      2012 Accord, 2012 Escape, 69 (nice) Beetle
      07-11-2019 05:41 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by dts View Post
      Could also be my age — after 37 years of driving only a left-hand drive car, my muscle memory may simply be so strong that it’s hard to overcome.
      I'm 37, not quite as many miles but definitely took a bit of thinking. Sort of like reversing with a trailer or driving a dually for the first time. Track time, offroading, other non-lane-keeping type driving probably helps.

    16. Member Dr.AK's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 16th, 2007
      Location
      near Cologne, Germany
      Posts
      2,249
      Vehicles
      '87 Porsche 944S, '02 Chrysler Sebring LX Convertible
      07-11-2019 05:53 PM #15
      I feel you on the 'driving on the left is easy but sitting on the right is hard' part.

      I've driven my own LHD cars over to the UK multiple times and driving a LHD car there is easy as pie.
      I got to drive a friend's RHD car while I was there and nearly threw it into a ditch because I couldn't figure out how to properly place the car on the road at first. Took some getting used to!
      www.bastienbochmann.de - my automotive photography
      '87 Porsche 944S - make flip up lights great again!
      '02 Chrysler Sebring LX Convertible - my 'Camaro for the elderly'

    17. Member Rocambolesque's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 18th, 2010
      Location
      Quebec City, QC
      Posts
      936
      Vehicles
      190E
      07-11-2019 08:51 PM #16
      I thought it was fairly easy to get used to. Only one time I turned into the wrong lane on a deserted road.

      B-roads were my favorite, the rental car was a Eunos Roadster.

      The answer is always Miata, no matter where you are in the world

    18. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 13th, 2006
      Location
      Not in Europe. Boo.
      Posts
      21,711
      Vehicles
      SR71 C30 t53a/b/b
      07-11-2019 09:35 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by gotcha640 View Post
      Have you been to Laayoune? We lived in Dar Bouazza, worked in El Jadida (Jacobs/OCP phosphate plants), office in Casa, went to Marrakech and Rabat and Essaouira and Safi. My neighbor went to Dakhla a couple times for the kite surfing.

      The dunes over the road only happened to me on the way to Marrakech.
      Yeah, I went to Laayoune twice. I stayed and worked in Rabat for a year, but I also did drive the whole country twice. The whole Atlantic coast, The whole Mediteranean coast, Oujda, Taza, Fes, Meknes, Ifrane, Midelt, Errachidia, Ouarzazate, Agdz, Zagora, etc... Fun.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.
      Buy my couch!

    19. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 17th, 2007
      Location
      Bend, OR
      Posts
      33,051
      Vehicles
      Hot hatchback coupé heaven
      07-11-2019 09:42 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by LT1M21Stingray View Post
      Yeah, I went to Laayoune twice. I stayed and worked in Rabat for a year, but I also did drive the whole country twice. The whole Atlantic coast, The whole Mediteranean coast, Oujda, Taza, Fes, Meknes, Ifrane, Midelt, Errachidia, Ouarzazate, Agdz, Zagora, etc... Fun.
      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
      The family: 1955 Customline 351C | 1970 TR6 262Olds | 1977 Capri Cologne | 1980 Rabbit AAZ | 1984 C30 350 | 1988 Scirocco 9A | 1988 Scirocco LP7Y | 1992 Pickup 22RE | 1997 D21 KA24E | 2000 Grand Marquis Modular
      Quote Originally Posted by Crimping Is Easy View Post
      You're always better off with a Citroën.™

    20. Member
      Join Date
      Jun 19th, 2002
      Location
      CLT NC
      Posts
      10,187
      Vehicles
      3 Audis, 1 Honda, 1 GMC
      07-12-2019 07:38 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Rocambolesque View Post
      The answer is always Miata, no matter where you are in the world
      I thought the answer is rent a MC, esp when touring around Scotland, Ireland, IoM...


    21. Member Slipstream's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 8th, 2002
      Location
      Omaha, NE
      Posts
      11,140
      Vehicles
      GTI | Sport
      07-12-2019 10:17 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by jettagli1991 View Post
      I'm going to Ireland at the end of a month and will have to do a lot of driving, so I'm nervous as well.
      My wife and I did this for our honeymoon and had a blast. Two biggest tips - roundabouts never seem to get easier (and they're EVERYWHERE); and rent small. Cars you think are "small" in the US are big in Ireland. We had a Suzuki Alto and that was big enough. lol

      Honestly, for the most part it's pretty easy. Main roads are just fine, and even town/village roads aren't too bad in a small car. It's the small country roads that can get sketchy if you have to pass someone going the other way. If you aren't looking ahead, you're going to have to put the car into a hedge to squeeze past.

      On the plus side - once you get back to the US, lanes on the interstate feel 500 ft wide.

      17 gti sport | 16 xc60 t5 | seventwosix

    22. Member Strange Mud's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 20th, 2017
      Location
      Small Town CT
      Posts
      874
      Vehicles
      2017 GTI
      07-12-2019 10:27 AM #21
      wait till you drive a traffic circle (round about) in a country where they drive on the "other side"

      me it was in Jamaica and I went around it in the wrong direction.

      one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had in a car....and that includes going to the drive-in movies with a crazy hot chick back in HS
      My glass is half-full of empty

    23. Member
      Join Date
      Oct 22nd, 2007
      Location
      Syracuse, NY
      Posts
      2,090
      Vehicles
      982, F22, E88, etc.
      07-12-2019 11:04 AM #22
      I definitely had a learning curve the first time I drove in the UK; for the first 50 miles or so I actually assigned my passenger to watch for me inching toward curbs.

      Eventually you get used to it though. Ironically, despite the overwhelming majority of my miles being driven in drive-on-the-right countries, I actually prefer driving on the left now. I'm left-handed and for some reason it just feels slightly more natural to me. I've talked to a few other left-handers and heard similar thoughts.

    24. Member HarryC's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 8th, 2001
      Location
      Georgetown, TX
      Posts
      1,073
      Vehicles
      2018 Civic 2.0L LX 6MT, 2016 Lexus GX460
      07-12-2019 01:31 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by tbvvw View Post
      The cries for mercy from those 2 as we approached a sweeper at 75mph with another car coming on a 2 lane road was funny at first, but it never stopped. Ever.
      Sounds like an average Tuesday in Central Texas
      Current: 2018 Honda Civic LX 6MT, 2016 Lexus GX460
      Past: 1995 200SX SE-R, 2001 VW Jetta Wolfsburg, 2003 Mini Cooper, 2004 Pontiac GTO, 2001 Chevy Silverado 4.8L, 2001 Olds Intrigue, 1990 e30 BMW 325is, 2004 Honda Odyssey, 1995 Chevy K1500, 2000 Toyota Camry, 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 2009 Toyota Sienna

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •