Here are a few things I have learned by driving a right-hand drive car every day in Southern California…

Pros:

Easy parallel parking, just look down and there’s the curb!

It’s safer for the driver to exit the car since the steering wheel is on the curb side.

It’s a good conversation starter.

For those in the western states, some In & Out Burgers have drive-thru service on the right! They love it when I come through.

Talking to other drivers at stop lights is very convenient.

Talking to girls on the sidewalk is much easier. (Change “girls” to “guys” if you are female)

Police officers love having the driver’s window on the safer side of the shoulder.

You get a lot of smiles from people of all types. And sometimes they actually laugh with you rather than at you!

Some mail boxes can be reached from the driver’s seat which require other drivers to exit their car.

Chicks dig it.

Car thieves hate it.

Cons:

Grabbing the ticket from an automated parking garage gate can be a challenge. You have to crawl through the car, pull the ticket out and scramble back before the gate closes on you.

Toll booths can be a challenge in the same way as a parking garage, only there are cars honking at you the whole time.

Drive-thrus that aren’t In & Out (a west coast USA chain) can be difficult, especially when they are designed for taller vehicles.

Left turns can be fun when you can’t see around the vehicle turning the other way.

Passing slower traffic on a two-lane highway is a terrifying experience until you get the hang of it. It seems like you won’t know if there is oncoming traffic until you are mostly over the center line!

Passengers have to exit on the traffic side when parked at the curb. Not too romantic on a date. Might I suggest a parking lot in this instance?

You are the center of attention every minute you are on the road. This can be considered a Pro if you like living in a little glass box on wheels or crave lots of attention.

Forget getting errands done quickly. People stop and ask what it’s like to drive on the right every time you get in and out of the car.

But is a right hand drive car right for me?

With all humor aside, I have been driving a RHD car daily for several years as well as other RHD cars on extended driving trips, weekend canyon runs, etc. I have found no situation in normal traffic where I am at any more risk than I would be in a LHD car. The level of comfort for a particular driver will be subject to his or her abilities to adapt to new methods of navigating traffic. Overall there is little difference in driving a right hand drive car other than a few controls being moved around.

The most difficult task in my opinion is mastering the left hand shift, especially because the shift pattern is not reversed from the left hand drive layout. First gear is now away and forward instead of toward the driver and forward. An annoying side effect of driving RHD cars daily is that when I get into a LHD modern car, I sometimes turn on the windscreen wipers instead of the turn signals. It’s quite embarrassing!

There are two situations I have found where the driver of a right hand drive vehicle must show extra caution. They are…

1) Left-hand turns in a busy intersection. If there are cars turning left from the opposite direction, it will be difficult to see around them to ensure the road is clear before making your turn. The solution is to not pull as far into the intersection, place yourself as far to the left of the lane as is practical and then lean to view oncoming traffic before proceeding. If visibility is truly blocked, perhaps by a large truck, you simply don’t turn until the other car does.

2) Passing on a two-lane highway. Obviously a similar situation occurs here, where there is difficulty seeing around the vehicle in front of you. The solution in this instance is to back off, which increases your view of the road ahead, and as an additional bonus allows you to get a running start at your pass. This should be done in any car regardless of where the steering wheel is.

While these two situations may seem more dangerous than in a LHD car, they are not necessarily so. The first thing to remember is that most MGs are very small cars. You can easily lean over enough to put your head in the same place it would be were you driving a LHD car. If you are limber enough you can put your head right up to the left side window glass.

What it boils down to is don’t take a chance in a RHD car that you wouldn’t take in a LHD car. If you aren’t sure the path is safe, don’t take it.