Driving on the Opposite Side of the Road Made Easy

In nearly 70% of all countries in the world, drivers must keep to the right side of the road. In that past, however, the unwritten rule was to keep left because that allowed swordsmen to quickly attack their opponents with their right hand. That is one of the reasons why many of the countries that used to be part of the British Empire still drive on the left side of the road, including:

  • The UK;
  • Australia;
  • India;
  • Jamaica;
  • New Zealand;

So, if are used to driving on the right and you are planning to rent a car in New Zealand and go on a road trip around the country, you will need some time to get used to this rule. The same goes if you come from a left-side-of-the-road country and you need to drive on the right. For some people, driving on the opposite side of the road is easy, while for others – it can be an enormous challenge. If you want to feel more confident behind the wheel, you can try the following tricks and tips.

Pictured: Australian road sign

Rent a car with an automatic transmission

One of the toughest things about driving on the opposite side of the road is that you usually have to do that in a car in which the transmission box is also set in the opposite side. That is why it a good idea to pick a rental car that comes with automatic transmission.

Avoid busy city roads

Even if you are an excellent driver who knows how to adapt to different road conditions, you will still need some time to get used to keeping to the “wrong” side of the road, so to say. Therefore, try to stay away from cities or at least from high traffic zones on the first day of your trip. If you can, choose a pick-up spot somewhere outside the city or in some quiet area.

Check the conditions of your insurance

When you have to stick to the opposite side of the road, you will be more prone to road accidents. Therefore, make sure you hire an insured vehicle that comes with CDW or Collision Damage Waiver. Also, take the time to carefully go through the conditions of your insurance to see whether the rental company will provide you with a comprehensive insurance or not.

Know the local road rules

Familiarise yourself with the road rules in the country you are about to visit. In that way, you will know how to navigate roundabouts, for example, and you will not have to overthink every time you have to make a turn.

Be well-rested before you sit behind the wheel

Feeling tired and sleepy can affect your driving skills and your attention span. That is why if you are not well-rested, you are also more likely to forget that you should keep to the other side of the road.

If you have a bad experience when driving on the opposite side of the road, you can simply play it safe by renting a car that comes with an additional driver.