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Driving a rental car on the right side of the road in Europe

Taking a rental car from the UK to Europe is a straightforward process. All hire cars from are available to take across the channel in to Europe and within any of the European Union Countries. But you need to be vigilant that in Europe you drive on the left side of the road! The same applies when you rent a car in Spain, France, Portugal, or any other European tourist destination; when you leave the car rental forecourt, you will be driving on the LEFT!

Tips for driving on the right side of the road

Here are some tips to help you when making the switch from driving on the left to driving on the right side of the road.

Driving a Hire Car

  • Rest your left elbow on the armrest or window sill so as to further prevent confusion.
  • The controls for the stereo system, lights, etc. may be in a different position than you are used to, so be sure to check this before leaving the car rental forecourt
  • The pedals (Accelerator, brake, and clutch) never change position in left-hand drive compared to right hand drive cars. The accelerator will always be on your right.
  • Pay attention that you know your relative position to the road markings, kerb and oncoming traffic on the right side of the car. Beware not to creep in to the oncoming lane with the right side of your vehicle. Avoid swerving to correct any small adjustments in your position on the road.
  • You can rest your right hand on the gear stick in manual geared cars. In automatic hire cars, you can rest your right elbow on the central armrest. This will help prevent you from accidentally opening the window when you intend to change gears!

Tips for the Road

  • Turning left will mean turning in to the oncoming traffic. Make sure that you give way. Be very aware of the left turn and any dangers.
  • You must give way to the left on roundabouts and you will drive anti-clockwise around them.
  • Be sure to look left first when coming out of a side road. This maneuver is the most common cause of accident from British drivers in Europe.
  • When driving down a narrow lane or one way street and then emerging on to a two lane street or highway, make sure that you emerge on the right side of the road. It is easy to get this wrong and emerge on the left in to oncoming traffic. Pay special attention when there is no traffic to follow that you are on the correct side of the road.
  • It is easy to follow other cars on the road. When entering a junction or roundabout follow the car in front to avoid making mistakes. Be vigilant when there is no traffic around that you are on the correct side of the road or junction.
  • If you are driving on a narrow lane, make sure you remember to pull over to the right-hand side when passing other vehicles.
  • Take it slowly when driving a rental car on highways or motorways. Until you get the hang of it, you can stay in the slow lane. Do not undertake. Overtaking should be done on the right. If you have a passenger in the vehicle with you, get them to help you by looking and telling you when it is safe to overtake.







































































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