Learning to drive on the 'right' side of the road

Australia is one of the few developed countries where drivers drive on the left side of the road (and steering wheels are on the right of the car). This can be quite confronting for drivers who are not used to driving on this side of the road, even if they are otherwise experienced. Here are some tips to help you get used to driving on the 'right' (actually left) side of the road. 

Concentrate and avoid distractions

If you are experienced driver you might be used to being able to drive on auto pilot to some extent, but this is not an option when adjusting driving side. You need to avoid distractions by setting up the car before you leave and not being tempted to switch driving channels or fiddle with the GPS for a new route. Try placing your handbag or bag in the boot of the car to avoid being distracted by a beeping phone as well. 

Bring a buddy

It can be a great idea to bring a buddy the first time you go driving on the other side so that they can give you some feedback if you start to drift. Look for someone who has a gentle style and who won't make you more nervous by sitting in the passenger seat. Someone who knows the area may also be able to suggest some quieter streets and intersections to practise through. 

Consider getting professional driving lessons

If the thought of driving on the opposite side of the road is making you very nervous, or you are having trouble adjusting to driving on the left after a lot of practise, it can be worth finding a driving instructor who can give you private lessons. They can often give you specific tips to help you and will be driving a dual control car so they can stop the car if you are not driving on the right side. It's a worthwhile investment in order to be able to drive safely and confidently in Australia. 

Most drivers find the transition to driving on the other side of the road initially stressful, but it quickly becomes easy and automatic once you have been driving here for a while. It's important to give the process a bit of time and seek out support if you are feeling worried or concerned, so that you can be a confident and independent driver again.