Right hand road driving baffles Irish motorists — survey

27% motorists anxious about driving abroad

“Do you want to drive, then?”

“No, I don’t mind, you can if you want.”

“I don’t mind either, sure you do . . .”

We’ve all been there — holidays overseas and the problem of driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Now a survey from the AA shows that more than a quarter of Irish motorists are anxious about the prospect.

An opinion poll of almost 2,500 people conducted last week found that 27% of respondents admitted they would be anxious on some level at the prospect of driving abroad in a right-hand drive country.

Women are much more likely to fret over it than men, according to the survey by the AA’s European Breakdown Service.

While 17% of male drivers said they would be apprehensive about getting behind the wheel in a country where they drive on the right, 42% of female drivers said they were concerned about it. Overall, 44.5% of men said they had no issue with driving on the other side of the road.

Traffic laws overseas also tend to baffle Irish motorists, according to the survey.

Some 24% of those they polled have had been stopped by local traffic police while driving or as a passenger in a car abroad, with men twice as likely to have been pulled in — 30% compared with 16% of women drivers.

Not being able to understand road signs and unfamiliar driver customs and behaviours were also among the issues raised by respondents when it came to holiday driving.

The survey also revealed that you are more likely to be stopped by police in France, although motorists were also likely to be pulled in while in the US, Britain, Italy, and Australia.

The tone of the local police was also mentioned by respondents, with 68% of those stopped in Britain and 55% stopped in France claiming they felt intimated, while just 31% of those stopped in Italy felt the same way.

Overall, half of all respondents said they found local traffic police to be intimidating, with one third of those questioned saying they did not know what was being said to them and a similar proportion drove away with a fine for their troubles.

Miriam O’Neill, AA press officer, said: “We knew road layouts were an issue for people when driving abroad, but we didn’t expect traffic laws to trump that, especially since the information is readily available online. A bit of advanced research should put your mind at rest on this front. As for the behaviour of local drivers, it all depends on where you go.”


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