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car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

Texas
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car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

After reading advice we are going to rent a car to drive to Shelton Green. I am planning on renting a car from Hertz at the London City airport which is east (the direction we will be traveling) and I assume we will take a taxi from Kensington to the LC airport

ABOUT RENTALS: I assume the column is on the Right. I assume "standard" means shifting with your Left hand. Need clarification about these details. Would prefer the column on the left and standard would be no problem...is there a term for this "american custom"?

Thanks in advance

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UK
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1. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

I'm not aware of left hand drive cars being offered in the UK although there way be.

I would suggest you stick to right hand drive. You can always ask for an automatic if you don't fancy shifting with your left hand.

Having a left hand drive car would cause a few problems with visibility especially as regards overtaking. Your passenger owuld have to do the looking and give you a nudge when it was time to go etc. Rather stressful I suggest!

London, UK
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2. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

In addition sitting on the opposite side gives you a constant reminder to drive on the opposite side.

Upminster, United...
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3. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

Having the appropriate left/right hand drive for the country you are in is safest. It help you to remember which side of the road you should be on.

No car firm in England will hire you a left hand drive car unless you find one which hires out specialist cars (ie Hummers, classic/vintage American cars, etc)

Standard means a manual 5 speed gear box and 3 pedals. As a previous post says, you will be better off with an automatic.

A taxi from Kensington to London City will be very expensive. Hertz offer a drop off service and this may prove considerably cheaper. However the airport is very handy for driving to Norfolk, a few easy roads, then straight up the M11.

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Norfolk
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4. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

If you don't want to shift with your left hand rent an automatic; slightly more expensive but available.

Oakland, California
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5. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

This topic clarified something for me that often confused me (I am so easily confused) which is: "right hand drive" refers to the position of the steering column, NOT the side of the road you drive on.

Now perhaps you could clarify a few other things, too-

Is the gear box reversed too? Here 1st gear is to the left and 5th gear/ reverse to the right. If that is reversed, too, then I KNOW we're going to need to rent an automatic!

And what do Brits do when they drive their cars on the continent (which I assume is even more common since the tunnel opened.) Of course, I assume the answer to this is that they are, as a whole, brilliantly clever people who aren't tripped up by such things as driving on the other side of the road. :-)

Upminster, United...
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6. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

Gear boxes are the same the world over

1 3 5

2 4

Same with pedals Clutch, Brake, Accelerator

Driving in Europe is easier with a car hired over there. I find overtaking more difficult when sitting a car's width away from the line of sight past the slower car.

Dunfermline, United...
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7. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

Macjack - yes the gears are exactly the same on a standard shift. 1st top left, down to 2nd, up and right for 3rd etc. Automatics are the same as in the US - P, R, N, 1, 2 and 3.

When we drive on the continent, we seem to adapt quite easily and although it will appear strange at first, you will find you get used to it soon enough.

I would recommend going for an automatic when driving in the UK as this gives American drivers one less thing to worry about.

UK
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8. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

PLEASE get an automatic! If only for the safety of all the UK TA members here.

You will be driving out of one of the most congested cities in the world, on the wrong side of the road, with a LOT more to worry about than which way the gears go, such as poor signage, one way systems, aggressive drivers, roundabouts..

Roads aren't nice and straight and east west/north south with simple numbers like in the US, they are convoluted, often narrow, and often poorly signposted, both for where you are going, and also where you are (no street names above intersections like in the US) so even working out where you are can be a PITA, let alone how to get there.

PLEASE GET AN AUTOMATIC

so you don't kill someone, like me, for example, whilst you work out which gear you are in or try and shift with the door handle!

I would also strongly recommend you either buy or hire a sat nav system, it will pay for itself in reduced stress within the first hour.

Greenwich (London)
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9. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

Yes - narrow lanes, fast traffic and aggressive driving are more than enough to worry about without having to remember to use the clutch or change gear!

Brighton, United...
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10. Re: car rental in London: steering column on R or L?

mackjack is very insighful, cos we must all be cleaver people!!:-), I've never had a problem adjusting when driving our righthand drive in France, we do it regularly, last summer we did 700miles in all sorts of weather, day or night.

In fact pretty much, driving anywhere in europe is easier then driving over here, becasue our roads are so congested, the french toll roads are a dream to drive on - there's no traffic!! (except the time I drove to Brussles and got lost on the City ring road!)

As for a sat nav, i wouldnt waste the time, our road signage is perfectly adequate, plus we have these cleaver things called road atlas's. To Shelton Green, its the M25, M11, A11 to Thetford, A1066 to Diss, then north on the A140, why would you need sat nav for that?