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msilverstar

driving on the wrong side of the road

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Jul. 9th, 2010 | 08:45 pm
location: New Zealand (not)
mood: dorky

I love research so much, it's ridiculous. I have a story bunny and now I know a whole lot about New Zealand's stance on imported Left-Hand Drive (driver's seat on the left) cars.

New Zealand's traffic keeps left, like the UK, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and India, rather than keeping right like the US, most of South America, China, Russia, and most of Europe (blame Napoleon) (more at wikipedia). Many countries don't allow other-hand-drive cars. According to a 2007 Canadian study, RHD cars in a LHD country are significantly more likely to crash in the first three years. Presumably it's harder to see traffic hazards in the wrong-side driver's seat.

New Zealand, a keep left country, mainly requires RHD cars, but was worn down by the classic car collector's groups, and as of April, 2010, allows LHD cars 20 years or older. I don't know what the rules were in 1999/2000, but guess that there were hardly any LHD drive cars then.

So I have a little more sympathy for Liv Tyler and her driving issues.

Wish I'd spend as much time actually writing...

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Comments {21}

amusing musing

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from: sandelwood
date: Jul. 10th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
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Soooo... there can be cars with drivers on either side (of their cars) on the road at the same time? That's weird!!

I dunno how I feel about their explanation though. No matter where you're driving, ultimately, the side of the car you're farthest from is going to have blind spots, and either you're good at anticipating your car's surroundings, or you're not.

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forsooth, do you grok my jive, me hearties?

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from: bexone
date: Jul. 10th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC)
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the problem would be adapting, i'd think. if you learn in a country that keeps right, when you then go and try to drive in a country that keeps left the blind spots aren't where you expect them to be (not to mention any difficulties with looking in the wrong place for oncoming cross-traffic), and if you switch drives while staying on the same side of the road, the blind spots are covering up things you don't necessarily expect them to. all of which is also overlooking the problem of getting used to having the pedals, shifter, etc on the "wrong side."

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 14th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
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I think you're correct (was going to say "right" but...)

Apparently the pedals are all the same, rightmost one gas, then brake, then clutch (if it's not automatic). So at least the feet part is easy.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 10th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Hard enough to switch sides, I've driven in GB on two trips, and it was a bit scary. Second time, we paid more for an automatic transmission.

The insurance study was pretty convincing, though more studies are always good.

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amusing musing

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from: sandelwood
date: Jul. 11th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
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On a similar note though, I'm a little surprised at how much difficulty my parents had navigating in France, though it is RHD. They had a terrible time with the way the street signs worked and how they pointed, but after only a a couple of days, I found it so much more logical than US navigation. Granted, most of this was in rural villages and small towns, but still, they all had a city center, and if you got lost, you could always find your way back there and regroup.

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 11th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
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We found France surprisingly easy to navigate. I'm sure my 20-year-old knowledge of French and medieval cities helped a little.

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heels and pints

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from: birdgerhl
date: Jul. 10th, 2010 09:49 am (UTC)
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i thought you were going to send me your fic? :)

also, it's *you* guys who are on the "wrong" side of the road!!

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 11th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
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it's not a fic, it's a random collection of paragraphs :-(

ETA: I meant: whatever side is not one's own side is, for them, the wrong side!

fic coming, I just need one more bit for my own satisfaction at character motivation.

Edited at 2010-07-14 03:01 am (UTC)

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Galadriel

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from: caras_galadhon
date: Jul. 10th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
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On occasion you see RHD cars here. It's always a bit of an odd sight. Of course, just looking up the rules around them in Canada made me realize I see RHD cars every day and never think about them. Some of (if not all) Canada Post's delivery trucks are RHD, and some of the other city service vehicles have both LHD and RHD controls. Apparently our military also constructed or possibly still constructs RHD vehicles for use alongside and by RHD countries, so... your research didn't just teach me about NZ, but led to me learning a thing or two about my own country too! Thanks!

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 11th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
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Some of our postal trucks are too, I think theoretically to let the workers reach right out to rural mailboxes.

I love research :-D

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loreley_se

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from: loreley_se
date: Jul. 10th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
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I found it fairly easy to adapt moving from Germany/Sweden to the UK and going from LHD to RHD. Having said that I would never attempt to drive a other-hand-drive-car in either country - because I think that is where you can get confused because it somehow just doesn't fit with the flow of the traffic etc.

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 11th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
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I've driven in Britain on two trips with Ed, but it really is hard to change that much. While LHD there would be easier physically, all my instincts about traffic would be confused as you say!

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Feel For Faith

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from: feelforfaith
date: Jul. 11th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
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The first couple days during my visit to England, I was constantly having panic attacks in the car (and I was in the passenger seat, not driving, and the driver was English), since everything was So Wrong. It seemed to me like we were going to have a head-on collision at every turn. I don't know how log it would take me to get used to driving on the "wrong" side...

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 14th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
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We did drive in Britain, and it was really scary sometimes. The second trip, we insisted on an automatic shift rental car, which surprised people. But a zillion time easier than shifting on the wrong side.

Also, people warned us about the Motorways, but we found them restful because we're used to them. Just sit in your lane and don't worry. Especially compared to A roads, with cars parked halfway out into the street!

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sunny muffin of delight

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from: frisbyg
date: Jul. 12th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
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I had an interesting 'learning-to-drive' portion of my life because I obtained my learner and novice licences in Canada and did very little driving while holding them. I then travelled to Australia, bought a car, and had to learn to keep left and also negotiate many roundabouts.

I absolutely loved keeping left but found it a real challenge to go back to the right when I returned to Canada. I actually really miss driving on the left in a RHD vehicle. that's part of the reason I cannot wait to return to NZ and Australia one day. :)

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Lotripper

(no subject)

from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 14th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
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roundabouts, always exciting...

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sunny muffin of delight

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from: frisbyg
date: Jul. 15th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
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they grew to be. now I miss them!

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Lobelia the adverbial

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from: lobelia321
date: Jul. 12th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
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Okay, *is floored*

Who can resist the RHD LHD research, omg?

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 14th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
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I'm so very very easily distracted by that kind of thing!

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foxrafer

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from: foxrafer
date: Jul. 14th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
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Not a driver but I know I'd probably end up killing someone and maybe even myself if I tried to drive over there. The only time I was in a country that keeps left I was always almost stepping out into traffic after looking the wrong way for cars. I think for everyone's safety I should stay put. :-)

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Lotripper

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from: msilverstar
date: Jul. 18th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
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yes, looking the wrong way is scary! I trained myself to look both ways, which helped.

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