Driving on the left side  

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HollyA
(@hollya)
Eminent Member

has anyone had any trouble adjusting to driving on the left side?

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Posted : January 26, 2011 4:39 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

Well, it's been over a quarter century since I had to adjust 😀 but thousands of visitors take the plunge here every year and do just fine so I wouldn't worry too much about it. I think it would be a lot more difficult if we drove RH drive vehicles and at high speeds but the cars are standard American LH drive vehicles and the maximum speed limit is 35 with most of the driving in the 20-25MPH zone. Once in a very rare while I hit 40MPH and get quite a rush, and can only imagine what a white-knuckler I'd be back on the New England turnpikes ...

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Posted : January 26, 2011 4:52 pm
HollyA
(@hollya)
Eminent Member

Thanks STT. We're comming in May, can't wait!!!!, just thought how strange it will be driving on the other side.

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Posted : January 26, 2011 5:00 pm
stevemac77
(@stevemac77)
Active Member

The hardest part is remembering to get over to the wrong side when there's no traffic around to make it obvious. This is true especially after you first start the car and head out on the road.

We use this method to remind us each time we get in the car. I'm always the driver but my wife holds the keys. She won't give them to me to start the car uless I say... "Drive on the left, drive on the left, drive on the left".

If you come to a rotary (roundabout? trasffic circle?) forget about it!

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Posted : January 26, 2011 5:22 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

stevemac77 wrote:
The hardest part is remembering to get over to the wrong side when there's no traffic around to make it obvious. This is true especially after you first start the car and head out on the road.

We use this method to remind us each time we get in the car. I'm always the driver but my wife holds the keys. She won't give them to me to start the car uless I say... "Drive on the left, drive on the left, drive on the left".

If you come to a rotary (roundabout? trasffic circle?) forget about it!

Your wife obviously has you well trained! Most of the rental vehicles have a big 'KEEP LEFT" sticker in plain view and I think the only roundabout is the new one on STJ. I don't like to drive much at night any more - one of those "advancing age" things - but there's nothing quite so disconcerting as coming around a sharp corner and seeing a set of headlights bearing down on you. Oops, a visitor had a couple of drinks with dinner and temporarily lost his mind and bearings. But rest assured that there are surprisingly few road accidents here, at least not those of any major import. Minor fender benders, scrapes and dings (the islands are hard on vehicles) are the norm but you'll be just FINE!

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Posted : January 26, 2011 5:38 pm
blaze
(@blaze)
Estimable Member

After four or five trips, I am used to driving on the left now. Driving down the road is quite easy, and it actually seems saver (at least for the driver, since opposing drivers are always closest to the shoulder of the road, and not facing each other nose to nose. It can feel strange and disorienting when entering intersections and driving in crowded parking lots. Like Stevemac77, when turning in an intersection I will always say "left...left...left..." to remind me to be careful where I am headed. The narrow roads and hilly turns are a bigger adjustment for me than driving on the left. It often feels like riding on an amusement park ride - lots of fun! Have a great trip.

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Posted : January 27, 2011 12:09 am
toes in the sand
(@toes-in-the-sand)
Reputable Member

It really is easy to adjust. Just remind yourself "Stay left" especiall when you are turning out of a parking lot or such. That seems to be when I lapse back into the stay right mode. Turning from street to street poses on problem for me.

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Posted : January 27, 2011 1:05 am
cruisingal
(@cruisingal)
Eminent Member

I say to myself "shoulder to shoulder" meaning my shoulder to the shoulder of the road. Laura

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Posted : January 27, 2011 11:13 am
HollyA
(@hollya)
Eminent Member

Thanks you all so much for your input we will use your suggestions 🙂

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Posted : January 27, 2011 3:19 pm
John
 John
(@john)
Trusted Member

Haha, yeah I learned how to drive on STT. Once on vacation up in New England, I was driving down the road with my friend and went to the left side. He kinda bugged out and told me to get on the right side of the road =)

Just keep reminding yourself you need to drive on the left, pay attention, and you'll be fine.

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Posted : January 27, 2011 4:17 pm
FL Barrier Islander
(@fl-barrier-islander)
Honorable Member

Until you return home and then it's another adjustment.

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Posted : January 28, 2011 3:25 pm
DonH57
(@donh57)
Active Member

We've been there 3 times now and plan to return the first week of May. I've always enjoyed driving in St. Thomas and found it easy to adapt to the left. I've found the local population to be very courteous to vacationers like me. I find driving there to be more relaxed by far than driving in Boston!

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Posted : February 11, 2011 9:10 pm
A Davis
(@a-davis)
Honorable Member

if i can do it, you can do it!

cars here still have the steering on the left.

much harder with cars with steering on the right (european) as i drove on grenada. that was too odd and uncomfortable for me.

but with american-made cars, it's a matter of paying a little more attention and if you visit often you will find that you easily switch from one to the other.

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Posted : February 12, 2011 5:00 am
billd
(@billd)
Honorable Member

I spend about 8 months down in STT and the balance in the main land. I have been doing this for about 8 years. I find it is natural to drive on either side. Every now and then I still have a problem when I am in a parking lot. Put a string on your LEFT finger. That will help you. Also if you have a side kick it helps.

billd

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Posted : February 13, 2011 8:34 am
irishmist
(@irishmist)
Eminent Member

In 15 trips it has become easier. However, I was coming down the hill from Cost u Less and managed to make a left hand turn into on coming traffic. Thank goodness Mc Donalds parking lot was there. Lots of honking and good natured gestures but no damage. At night it can be unnerving when taxi comes up on your bumper when you are looking for your turn. I think greatest danger is from scrapes and dents after you park.

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Posted : February 13, 2011 11:59 am
STTDeb
(@sttdeb)
New Member

It really seems natural, You see the side of the road and that is where you stay...THINK LEFT..it is turning where you get confused..But if you remember that you are on the edge of the road you will be fine.

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Posted : February 15, 2011 2:32 pm
mahojim
(@mahojim)
Reputable Member

Trip #15 for me this May, too!
Only other thing I'd recommend as far as the taxi's are concerned would not only be getting out of their way when they're pushing from behind, but also to keep your arms/hands inside the vehicle, too.
I almost lost my right arm a few years ago when a taxi came flying at us ( I was in the passenger seat) up & around a curve and took off our sideview mirror! He was driving over the line and was in the wrong completely. I got that point clearly after waiting @ an hour for him to return on the side of the road, wondering how it would play out. He never showed back up, so we just left. The rental car company didn't ask for any $ either, so there's that.
Have fun & see you there!
Smiles-
MJ

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Posted : February 15, 2011 5:04 pm
HollyA
(@hollya)
Eminent Member

thanks for all your suggestions, CANNOT wait till 5/19!!!!!!!!

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Posted : February 16, 2011 4:36 pm
mahojim
(@mahojim)
Reputable Member

We'll just miss you.
Keep left, go slow (if you think you're going too fast, you probably are...), and like they say upon boarding a rollercoaster, "Keep your arms & legs inside the car at all times!"
Smiles-
MJ

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Posted : February 17, 2011 4:35 pm
HollyA
(@hollya)
Eminent Member

ok, will do 🙂

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Posted : February 23, 2011 11:40 am
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