Driving on the Other Side of the Road

driving on the left side

My International Driver’s Permit is in hand. Watch out world!

It was surprising how easy it was to get. I’m not quite sure what I imagined, but a passport style photo, a valid driver’s license from my state of Colorado and payment were the only requirements. I walked into my AAA office and fifteen minutes later, I had my permit.

Now comes the more difficult part, actually driving on the other side of the road on my trip to Africa. I’ve never done it before. I’ve always been the passenger. So this will be one of the adventures associated with my trip. Not only learning a new way to drive, but doing it alone in another country. So how to begin? By Googling it of course.

Here are the tips I’ve found so far:

  • Follow the other traffic
  • Write a note reminding myself to stay to the left and tape it on the dashboard
  • Confirm I’m driving an automatic so I don’t have to think about using a stick shift on the opposite side at the same time I’m concentrating on staying on the left side of the line
  • Add GPS to the car rental so I easily know how to get to my location
  • Think “hard left, wide right”
  • Keep the center line on the driver’s side

While I’m nervous, I’m also excited. South Africa seems like a great place to start. Once I get used to it there, it will be much easier to drive when I travel to England and Ireland where the roads are much narrower and the rock walls much less forgiving.

Here’s one of the YouTube videos that gave some great tips and pointers:

Have you ever driven on the other side of the road?


Yes! Several times. Once, after flying all night and arriving in London, my husband and I got our car rental. We were headed to a friend’s house. I told my husband that, since I was experienced and he was not, I should be the one to drive on such little sleep. He agreed. We arrived fine but it took LOTS of concentration. Right turns are the worst. lol. Enjoy your adventures!


I drove in the Bahamas for the first time on the left side. It’s hard to get used to it, but you will. I didn’t know you could get an international drivers license. I guess I should look into that.


I’m planning on the LOTS of concentration, Bonnie. Luckily, it looks like most of drive to my lodging is on a highway. It should make it much easier. Once I get there, I can collapse. 🙂


My travel agent advised me that many of the rental car companies in Africa require the International Driving Permit. Now I have one, I’ll have to take full advantage of it and visit lots of countries, April.

Lisa Newlin

I never even thought about if you’d need a drivers license for another country. You’re smarter than I am!

Have fun and repeatedly remind yourself to drive on the left side! Hopefully that Post-it note works!

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