While serving with the military, I traveled to many countries and saw many things.
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that some of these country are left and some are right. It just depends on which country and which way the individuals of that country have decided to take. Basically, it is their choice.
Still, we Americans adjust fine if the country is right and eventually adjust when the country is left. Yet, the "eventually" can cause distress when we come home and have to face our fellow countrymen who are on the right.
It is imperative that we make that adjustment, because it can be very dangerous not to make the adjustment. It could even land you jail if you do not.
Japan was is on left. So is the UK. Germany and France are on the right. Which ever the case it must be followed.
Please allow me to give an example.
When I first arrived in Japan I did not pay too much attention to the fact that they were on the left. I quickly found out that I had to pay attention.
For someone raised in the USA, I was taught that when you approach a street you look left first. That is because traffic is coming from the left as cars are on the right. This can be very dangerous when you go to a country where the traffic is coming from the other direction. In fact, in the UK and Japan it is the number one cause of traffic deaths for tourist.
Yes silly, I am referring to traffic, not politics!
For me, I almost stepped out in front of an oncoming car, because I was looking the wrong way. It becomes even worse when you actually drive in these country and there are somethings that can save you embarrassment. Again, I will use myself as an example.
First, you have to remember where the steering wheel is.
I can not tell you the number of times I ran to the car and jumped in only to find that I was on the passenger side. This happened several times in Japan and again, once I returned to the states. You sit there with your face turning red and then begin to pretend you needed something from that side of the car. It doesn't matter, grab anything to cover your mistake - it works and those who have not been in this situation will buy the digging and fumbling until you change sides. Of course, if like me, there are those that have "been there done that" standing near you will notice the all knowing smile.
Second, The turn signal is on the same side!
My wife always laughed at this one. I would be driving along and instead of hitting the turn signal, I would hit the wipers! It wasn't a problem if you were turning right, because the lever did not go up. However, each time I made a left turn, I signaled with the wipers! I swear these countries do this just to mess with those who are not used to it.
Three, watch what lane you are in.
There is nothing more frightening then to be headed straight at a semi! I did this twice. Once in Japan and again inn California. Both times, a very large truck was headed straight at me. That will wake you up! It can also make you feel an urge to find the nearest rest stop.
Four, watch out for your fellow countrymen when in another part of the world.
These folks will do some pretty dumb things. Like turning on the wipers to signal a turn, getting in on the wrong side of the car or even go the wrong direction on a street. Just forgive them, be careful and remember it could be you.
Hope you enjoyed the article.