How to drive on the left in countries like Ireland

On our trip to Ireland we decided to rent a car and tour the island with it, taking advantage of the advantages of having a vehicle with which you can move freely and quickly reach the greatest number of places.

This is how we like to travel but in Ireland driving is a challenge because there, as in many other countries, people drive on the left, so many of the customs learned when driving on the right have to be changed.

But don’t worry, it’s just a matter of practice and you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

How do you drive on the left?

Ireland - Car rental - Driving on the leftDriving on the left is also not that difficult in the end. The first minutes are very tense because you have everything upside down. The gears are changed with the left hand and although the position of the gears and pedals is the same as in left-hand drive cars, the first few times it requires a lot of concentration.

After leaving the car park, the first roundabout. You have to be aware that you turn clockwise, although this is not difficult either, since the lanes before the roundabouts always redirect you in the right direction. The bad thing is to get out of them and remember that you must do it through the left lanes.

Driving on the highway has no mystery either. Slow cars drive to the left and the right lane is for overtaking. And the exits and incorporations are also on the left. What does take a bit of getting used to is riding correctly in the lane. The normal thing is to be used when driving to have the left line of the lane close to you and this unconsciously leads to the car going to the other side and you invade the other lane. You quickly get used to it, but it is common that you step on the line many times.

Ireland - HighwayAnother thing you have to get used to is looking through the interior mirror correctly. It seems silly but the first few times, instead of looking in the mirror you look out the window. Remember that the mirror is on the opposite side.

As the days go by you already drive correctly without stopping to think about what gear you put in and as if you’ve been doing it all your life. It was only difficult for me to reach a crossroads. There I always had to think about which lane to turn into and where the cars were coming from. But this is something that also happened to me on the way back to Spain where we had to get used to driving on the side we were used to again.

In short, driving on the left is not difficult at all, although it is necessary to pay close attention the first few times. Then you will instinctively do it right after hitting the door with your right hand a couple of times when trying to change gear with the wrong hand or trying to enter through the passenger door when you have the car parked.

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