EUROPEAN TRAVEL: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO ROADSTER DRIVING IN EUROPE
DRIVING ON THE RIGHT
First of all remember to drive on the right when you leave the UK. It is amazing how easy it is to become distracted.
The most dangerous time for distraction is when you leave a petrol station. You fill the car with fuel, and you start to wonder how much it will cost in pound sterling. Then the method of payment: local currency or by credit card? Will the fuel station accept the card? Other thoughts may come to mind: is the washer bottle full? How much further have we to travel today? Where will the next coffee stop be? You drive from the forecourt and viola! - you are driving on the wrong side of the road.
You will get used to the other side of the road, especially when you are concentrating. Driving on dual carriageways is easier in this respect than single lane roads. But it is when your mind is on other things that there is the potential for things to go pear-shaped.
And given that you need to concentrate more when driving on the continent, don't even consider having that concentration-blurring glass of wine.
With the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car, it is impossible just 'peep' out from behind a lorry when you want to overtake. Hang back more than you would at home and put your indicators on as soon as you want to move out. Be assertive. As soon as you are sure it is clear then go, and really GO! This tip is particularly relevant when on "ordinary" single lane roads.
The first roundabout you come across after leaving the port is usually the biggest shock of the trip. Remember- traffic will be coming from your left (not your right!) in an anticlockwise direction.
Roundabouts in southern GERMANY:
There is some confusion in southern Germany as to how to negotiate roundabouts. This is largely down to the fact that they have only been introduced recently. The only time the Bayerns have experienced them is in Italy (see below). Therefore it is often unclear who is going to take right of way- so be careful when negotiating them.
Roundabouts in ITALY:
The rule is, if you are ON the Round About, YOU give way to traffic joining it. Yes that is correct- and it is jolly confusing for us Brits (well for me anyway!)
The majority of European countries drive on the right, yet the general rule is to give way to the right. In Germany, Holland and Belgium you should see a blank yellow diamond shape sign just before or after a turning. This means that you have right of way and you do not have to give way to the right. In Holland you find roundabouts where you have to stop half way round the roundabout to give way to the right. This is slowly changing though as many roundabouts now give way to the left.