Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Driving on the OTHER side of the road






Usually I think of myself as a good driver. I have driven a lot, on tough roads, long distances and crazy weather. I started driving at an early age and one of my first road experiences was when mom let me take the wheel while driving between São Paulo and the Amazon. Well, only for a few minutes since I was only 14 years old. We were on a small patch of dirt road and we were driving a Ford Caravan. I felt so powerful. I loved being in command of that machine that could take us places! I will tell you, those few minutes were enough to spark a passion for driving and for road trips. From that moment on I was hooked. I would always be the designated driver on many long trips through North and South of Brazil. I was convinced that I was the best driver of all of my friends so I would gladly take the wheel, sometimes for 18 hours straight. I loved everything about it. The whole body and machine integration was a definite high for me. This went on from when I was 18 (minimum age for a driver's license in Brazil) till when I moved to New York where the only vehicle I drive is actually a bike. There's no sense in having a car in New York City. Still, a lot of times when I travel, I rent a car and I will be the driver. Having driven in many countries I am now faced with a new challenge. I've planned a road trip in South Africa, and Hello! They drive on the OTHER side of the car/road. I have never done that before! I must admit, even with my invincible driver confidence, I am a tad apprehensive. Once in Barbados, on a all girl trip, we rented a minibus to drive around the island. I don't remember who was driving at the time, but I do remember a lot of screaming ladies in the back seat. "NO!! Don't turn there!! OMG, OMG!! The other way! The other way!!!" That's not a fun imprint in my road trip memories. Granted I was NOT the driver. (Sorry Sue, Leslie or Lina? Who was driving!!?) Anyhow, we survived. Thank God! And now, here I am. With the road trip planned, a cool 4x4 at my disposal (thanks Thomas!) and the fear of the unknown. Have you ever driven on the OTHER side of the road/car? ( I mean legally, when you were sober...) How did you do? Was it scary? Did you get use to it fast? Or is it like riding a snowboard goofy vs regular? My trip is in a couple of weeks and I am wondering if I should or not shorten some of the driving part and fly instead. I definitely will take your advice and suggestions.
I hope to hear from some of you!


Cheers!


anacissapinto
anacissapinto@gmail.com

23 comments:

  1. Easy! If you're a good driver it will be a piece of cake!

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  2. Ana, você vai tirar de letra! Não se preocupe!

    bjs

    Patrícia

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    1. Beijo Pat! ( não acredito que a gente não se viu antes de eu ir embora! Proxima vez, cê num me escapa!)

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  3. I have no idea, and I'm curious about it as well! Let me know how it goes!! Boa sorte e boa viagem! *invejinha* ;)

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  4. I will be the passenger, so help me God... hehehe

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  5. Hahahaha. We will be fine mom!!!! <3

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  6. well, what can I say?
    Who the hell never drove on the other side of the road, trow the first rock!
    Life is too short,to be always on the right side, you must drive on the wild, ops, other side of the road !! Whatever it means too you, go 4, it seems to be hard at the begining, but you get used to it, and after all , you comeback to the right side, your are a good girl !! just kiding, vc vai tirar de letra, dont be afraid !!! rs

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    1. bring some of your great pictures, enjoy!!

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  7. You will do just fine!

    Have a great trip!

    Russell

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  8. Firstly, I think you wont have any problems.

    In Australia we drive on the left hand side of the road. Throughout my travels I have been forced into driving on the right ( but incorrect :P ) side.

    I found the hardest thing to do while driving in foreign countries is to grasp an understanding of the road rules, etiquette and traffic flow. You are an experienced world traveller so I know you will be fine with this part.

    More specifically in regard to driving on the 'OTHER' side of the road:

    Most roads are made in a way where its easy to stay on the correct side of the road as ur turning corners, going through intersections and roundabouts etc. While you are travelling on a straight section of road it is not even an issue.

    The slightly harder thing is getting familiar with sitting in the opposite front seat, and the position your seat floats above within your lane. Initially I would drift to the right, as I was used to my chair being slightly right of the centre of the lane, while the car was centred. Lining yourself up with the person in the car in front is an easy way to gauge where exactly your car is in the lane. Or watch the tracks your tyres leave behind you. Its one of those things you pick up easily though.

    Another thing worth mentioning but not worrying about is the gear stick is positioned to the left of the driver. Which is another thing that is picked up easily. You do not need great dexterity in order to change gears, its better to keep your right hand on the wheel ;)

    And also just remember for intersections which do not have any signs or lines, you give way to the car on the right. Or I'm quite sure in South Africa it is which ever car gets to the intersection first. :P

    Oh and another thing, I hope at least once you reach into the middle of the car (the left side of the drivers seat) searching for the seatbelt. I still do it.. I don't know if I'm natural or goofy on that one any more haha.

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    1. WOW, thanks so much Jon! Very informative! I will use ALL of those tips!!! :D xoxo

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  9. ...vc tem que treinar mesmo , quando for com o DB 5 nao pode haver erros rsrs !! Vc vai tirar de letra !! As melhores viagens sao guiando sem destino certo !!

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  10. Ana my friend- you will be absolutely fine. Remember I moved here from New York and I had not been driving all that often in my NY days...one day I just took the car and went, and it was soooo easy. Roads here are fantastic, well signed and people are actually very civilized drivers except fot the "minibus taxi" drivers who are crazy....so you will do just fine. i promise you will actually enjoy it. Did you rent a car yet for Capetown and Garden Route? see you very soon... dani

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    1. Dani my love,
      My friend Thomas graciously offered mom and I his car that is in CT. He actually told me to hold off on buying the rt trip tickets from CT (or Port Prince) to Jburg because there is a chance that he might be able to be in CT in which case he would drive us the Garden route! He will know this weekend one way or another. :) xoxo

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  11. Take many many pictures to share with us!
    Boa Viagen!

    Bry

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