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Thread: Driving RHD on LHD roads (and vice versa)

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    Brother Michael's Avatar
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    Driving RHD on LHD roads (and vice versa)

    Search brought up no results, so time for a new thread !

    I have been looking to import a car from Japan for a long time now. You can find such amazing deals from there !! Skylines, Subies, Evos....rare stuff like Mitsubishis Galant/Legnum VR-4s, Forester STIs etc etc.

    The problem is that they are all RHD cars and we have LHD traffic. What I would like to know how big of a difference is it to have "the wrong hand drive car" in everyday use ? I'm not talking about purely blasting down a highway or a racetrack. As an everyday car, how bad would it be ?

    I ask this because the temptation to buy a RHD car is huuuuuge, but I'm not too convinced it would be a very smart move as an everyday car. A weekend toy or a trackday -only thing yes. But To use everyday in the city, highway, A-roads, B-roads.....anything....not so sure.

    So....what do you guys think and how many of you have first hand experience driving on the wrong side ?
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    fbc
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    I've done both - travelled through Europe in a RHD drive car & have driven a LHD Monaro for a week here. It's just a matter of getting used to it - with one exception. At first you find yourself doing weird things, like getting confused as to which way to glance for a mirror check - it's amazing how many of the things you do when driving are done by habit or instinct. That one exception? Overtaking on single lane roads - it's much, much harder to see if the road ahead is clear since you're on the kerb side of the road.

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    MXM
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    I've seen pictures of people putting a mirror on the A-pillar of opposite side (near the sun visor) showing you the oncoming traffic. This might help a lot with overtaking. Harder to judge the distance of course, but gives you a warning if someone is there.

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    I was about to make that exact suggestion MXM. No experience, but I wouldn't want to be turning right in this country in a LHD car if there was a blind corner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbc View Post
    LHD Monaro
    huh? they have those in LHD??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford Prefect View Post
    huh? they have those in LHD??
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    pontiac??
    and I was actually hoping we might get these in europe... meh...
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    Unloved and lacking a title watto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford Prefect View Post
    pontiac??
    and I was actually hoping we might get these in europe... meh...
    There is ONE in Germany. Black, custom spec, driven by Peter Hanenberger, former Chairman and MD of GM Holden. But that was back in 2003... However, I doubt he would have gotten rid of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford Prefect View Post
    pontiac??
    and I was actually hoping we might get these in europe... meh...
    They've been out of production for nearly 3 years. Someone could privately import one I guess.
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    Apart from the overtaking issue on single lane roads everything worked fine for me. You'll get used to the different visibility, for example when canging lanes on a motorway, after some time. Be aware that some of your passengers will feel a little bit uncomfortable because they'll see all the diverse traffic heading towards them but cannot react as they don't control the car.

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    Any kind of drive thru service is awkward unless you have a passenger (food places, banks, parking garages, toll booths, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edkwon View Post
    Any kind of drive thru service is awkward unless you have a passenger (food places, banks, parking garages, toll booths, etc.
    That's what the R position is for.
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    I wouldn't worry about it. I've had my Intergalactic Battlecruiser a year, done 14,500 miles in it, and 6,000 of those have been on the wrong side of the road. I've been on everything from four-lane motorways in Italy to twisty mountain roads in the Alps and Pyrenees, and I never had any problems. The worst that happened was on a two-plus-one road in Luxembourg where I had to overtake a tractor, which required cunning use of a left turn filter lane.

    The Italian tolls were annoying, though. The ones that involved taking a ticket meant getting out of the car to take it, and sprinting back in just in case the barrier dropped before I'd driven off.

    And what you're planning on doing is no mystery to the people of eastern Russia. Most cars in Vladivostok, for instance, are right-hookers because they're six-year-old models that the Japanese have to export because they'll not pass their version of the MOT test. A lot of them find their way to Britain, I suspect quite a few go to Australia and New Zealand, but these days the Russians are also queueing up. They'd rather have an almost unfailingly reliable six-year-old Japanese RHD car than a LHD Lada that will probably take longer to arrive, break down as soon as it does arrive and cause years of untold misery.
    Last edited by Ironlord; September 17th, 2008 at 12:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fbc View Post
    LHD Monaro for a week here.
    Where did you get your hands on a LHD Monaro? The only ones I know that were exported were Saudi Arabia and the US.

    Oh, and to the topic started, there's a chance you could pay to get it converted to LHD if you had the money and time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dsemaj View Post
    Where did you get your hands on a LHD Monaro? The only ones I know that were exported were Saudi Arabia and the US.

    Oh, and to the topic started, there's a chance you could pay to get it converted to LHD if you had the money and time.
    Engineering sample is my guess, you see quite a few of them out this side of town (maybe once a month I would see a LHD commodore)
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    fbc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dsemaj View Post
    Where did you get your hands on a LHD Monaro? The only ones I know that were exported were Saudi Arabia and the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hidden_Hunter View Post
    Engineering sample is my guess, you see quite a few of them out this side of town (maybe once a month I would see a LHD commodore)
    Bingo - it was when I was working at Holden and had a contact who controlled a portion of the Engineering Vehicle fleet. The amount of attention that car drew was amazing (bear in mind this was maybe six years ago).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mautzel View Post
    Apart from the overtaking issue on single lane roads everything worked fine for me. You'll get used to the different visibility, for example when canging lanes on a motorway, after some time. Be aware that some of your passengers will feel a little bit uncomfortable because they'll see all the diverse traffic heading towards them but cannot react as they don't control the car.
    Awww, that's the fun part!

    When the Lane museum has an outing, I'm always assigned a RHD car. It's no problem, as I never have to pass on single-lane roadways or use a drive-thru (I never use them anyway). The only other possible problem I've noticed is the chance of other drivers having an accident while taking your picture with their phone. Really, people, just come to the museum and you can take all the pictures you want, promise.

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    Isn't shifting with your other hand really weird?

    I keep imagening it and it always feels odd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dins View Post
    Isn't shifting with your other hand really weird?

    I keep imagening it and it always feels odd.
    not any more so for us the other way around.
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    /deleted rant multiple times.

    thank you, that answers my question.
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