As I mentioned, the first time I rented a ZipCar here I knocked off the passenger side rear-view mirror. Maybe it’s just me, but I was surprised at how different and difficult it was to drive on the other side of the road. My main problem is that I had no sense of how far I am on the left side. I just have no way of calibrating that. I end up thinking I have far more room that I actually do. I should have realized this when I picked up the ZipCar then, when I parked on the side of our road, ran over the curb. When we started driving, every time we passed an object on the left side, Jieun made audible noises of fear because I was so close. I thought she was exaggerating. Until I casually knocked off the mirror by hitting something on the left side of the car. Fortunately it was just a wooden sign and not another car, but yeah, I’m not good at that. Afterwards, I was completely stressed, trying to drive as close to the right side as possible but still unsure if I was going to hit something because again, I just have no sense of my dimensions on the left. It’s stressful.
There are other things. It’s hard (for me) to shift with the left hand. I was on an incline and the engine kept dying (and we smelled smoke). Turned out I was trying to start the car in 3rd gear instead of 1st. I’m just not used to shifting with the left. Also, my instinct for looking the rear-view mirror is to look up and right. Two decades have reinforced this instinct. So I found myself looking in the driver’s side mirror to look behind me. Obviously, that’s doesn’t capture the full rear view so I’d find myself surprised and startled every time a vehicle I did not know was there passed me on the left. Again, stressful.
Not to mention the insanity of the roads. It is not possible to drive straight for a solid 1/4 mile in London. The roads don’t even have the same names for that long.
So yeah, driving in the UK is more difficult than I imagined.