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Driving Right-Hand Drive in a Left-Hand Drive Country Is Awful

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2018

I've now owned two different right-hand drive vehicles here in America, where we mainly have left-hand drive vehicles. Many people ask me about the experience of owning a right-hand drive vehicle in a left-hand drive country, so today I'm going to give you my answer: I hate it. Deeply. A lot.

First, a little background. A couple of years ago, I bought an imported 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R from a dealership in Virginia called Japanese Classics. As this car was sold new in Japan, it was right-hand drive, which I figured would be kind of annoying, but not so bad. I was wrong. Oddly, I then purchased a 1989 Nissan S-Cargo from the same dealership, apparently wishing to replicate the experience.

Truth be told, both the Skyline and the S-Cargo were awesome cars, and I enjoyed them a lot. The Skyline was immensely powerful, and the S-Cargo was ridiculous and hilarious, and I truly wish I still had the latter. But the one thing I hated about both of these cars was that they were both right-hand drive.

The biggest problem with right-hand drive, of course, is visibility: There isn't much. This especially becomes an issue with two-lane passing (a rarity in my life) and left turns (not such a rarity). A left turn at an intersection is a real problem because you can't see around opposing left turners to decide whether it's safe to go. You end up leaning over a lot.

There are other issues, too. Toll booths are a problem -- and that was a big issue when I lived in the Northeast. When approaching the car, you often went for the wrong door -- and so did your passenger. There was the unending attention you'd get for sitting on the "wrong" side of the car. And then there was a problem I didn't expect: Lane positioning. When you drive left-hand-drive cars your whole life, you position yourself to the left side of your lane. You tend to do that unconsciously, too, when you're in a right-hand drive car, which places half of your car in the lane next to you -- or in opposing traffic. Not good.

I've spoken to some people who drive RHD cars daily, and nearly all of them say the same thing: You get used to it. Frankly, I never got used to it, but maybe you would if you drove more often than me. Really, though, I'd rather just have a left-hand drive car.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Driving Right-Hand Drive in a Left-Hand Drive Country Is Awful - Autotrader