I recently returned from a trip to Australia (trip report to come). While I was there, I decided that I wanted to try driving on the other side of the road! I did a bit of research ahead of time to make sure that I would have insurance through my credit card – I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred to rent. I also priced out the rental through various companies. I ended up renting with East Coast Car Rentals in Brisbane. I had decided to rent an Intermediate Car with automatic transmission, even though I much prefer to drive manual, I figured that having one less thing to think about would be a good idea in this situation. The rental came to about $190 for 3 days, for me (under 25), an extra driver, and a GPS.
Our plans were to drive down from Brisbane to Surfer’s Paradise, stay there for 2 nights, and then drive through a couple of the national parks on our way back to Brisbane for our flight home. We ended up making an extra trip to Brisbane and back to Surfer’s Paradise for a meal, so we got some pretty good use out of the car.
I had always wanted to try driving in a country that drove on the other side of the road – I thought it presented a fun challenge. Something that most of us do every day at home, but to have to think about it like we are driving for the first time again. Needless to say, I was a little bit nervous. Those first few turns I made sure to turn into the correct lane about 1000 times in my head before the turn happened. But after those first few turns, my brain had already mirrored the experience of driving! I didn’t think that it would be nearly as effortless as it was. It turns out that the most difficult part, for both my friend and I, was using the blinkers. You see, the blinkers and windshield wipers were actually switched! Especially in moments when we had to react a little more quickly, it was very easy to hit the windshield wipers instead of the blinkers.
Now, to make things a little more interesting… I actually had a little more trouble getting used to driving back at home! I had the same problem with the windshield wipers and blinkers that I had in Australia, but I also found myself questioning what side of the road I should be on and what lane I should be turning into. I had taken something I knew how to do, and made my brain mirror the experience, and then when I came back to what I knew my brain was questioning what exactly it was that I knew. The power of the human brain definitely amazes me.
Next time I have the chance to drive on the other side of the road, I am definitely opting for a manual transmission vehicle 🙂