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cockswain's avatar

Can you legally drive in England with a car that has a steering wheel on the left side?

Asked by cockswain (15254points) October 2nd, 2010

I was just thinking about how if you were driving around Europe, then went through the Chunnel, maybe you’d have a problem. What are the logistics of this one?

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13 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I would think you would have to be able to. I think in most European countries they drive on the right side of the road, like in the U.S. You would still have to drive your left-steering wheeled vehicle on the left side of the road though, to do otherwise would be madness and most certainly illegal. :-)

jerv's avatar

I’ve seen enough right-handers on the road here in the US to imagine that the UK would also allow having the wheel on the “wrong” side of the car.

cubozoa's avatar

Yes, it’s perfectly legal. I’ve driven a french (left-hand drive) car in the UK. At ferry terminals on both sides of the channel, they tend to have warning notices in various languages to remind folk which side of the road they should drive on.

meiosis's avatar

Yes you can, perfectly legally.

downtide's avatar

Yes it’s completely legal. You don’t even need any special license or anything. It’s the same with taking a British right-hand-drive car over onto the continent. A driver needs to take extra care though, because of being right over on the wrong side.

lillycoyote's avatar

@downtide Yes, just walking can be a bit confusing. I took a trip to London, a very long time ago, and it was very confusing and unsettling just trying to cross the street on foot when I got there because I had to get used to watching for traffic coming from a completely different angle than I was used to in the states.

harple's avatar

On a slightly different note, I know people who worry about driving a car with the steering wheel on the “wrong” side to what they’re used to, but having done it, it actually is so much easier driving in a foreign country in the cars that are meant to be driven there than in your own car, for the same reason that @downtide has already given.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Has anyone taken their vehicle through The Chunnel? I’d be interested in hearing how it is handled once it is unloaded from the train. Do people just go on their merry way, or are there reminders posted or given out about the rules?

Toll booths could be a challenge if you are the only passenger in the car and don’t have an electronic pass.

harple's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes, I have – it’s the same as @cubozoa said re getting on and off the ferries, there are lots of reminder signs in a variety of languages telling you which side of the road to drive on. These usually extend a mile or so beyond the terminal too.

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote It’s a little easier if you are used to people who can’t pick a lane and have a habit of running lights. Then you look every which way, half expecting a car where there shouldn’t be one.

Harold's avatar

They actually sell new LHD cars in the UK, so it must be legal. Here in Australia, you can only register a LHD car for regular use if it is > 30 years old. Newer ones may be under very special circumstances.

jerv's avatar

They also sell RHD cars in the US, mostly for postal use. I’m not just talking regular Jeeps either; I’m talking normal cars like the Saturn SW1.

mattbrowne's avatar

Of course. I did this. It’s not a problem during the first two days, because your brain is extra careful. The trouble starts after that when your brain switches to autopilot again.

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