Driving on the Left

Unlike Jason, the rest of us grew up driving only on the right side of the road, and therefore adjusting to Kenyan driving takes some intentionality. Today, I drove into Nairobi for a national family medicine meeting. It was a good meeting, and I met some impressive folks. The six or seven hours of driving gave me a chance to see 3 giraffes and a baboon alongside the tarmac, and also some time to consider the nuances of driving on the left, and the mistakes often made when switching sides.

1. Getting into the car on the passenger side when you're the driver (novice mistake #1).
2. Taking your right hand turns tight and/or without looking both ways for traffic.
3. Taking your left hand turns wide and/or spending too much time watching for opposite traffic.
4. Turning on the windshield wipers instead of your turn signal (since they are on opposite sides).
5. Neglecting your rearview mirror, since you're not used to looking for it on your left.
6. Hugging the shoulder, which may not really be all that bad an idea.

(And not related to the side-of-the-road issue, but related to driving in Kenya:)

7. Not knowing how fast you can go, because there are no speed limits, but you can still get pulled over (by a cop standing on the side of the road, because they have no vehicles) for speeding, though they have no radar gun or other monitoring device.
8. 3+ lane roundabouts. Enough said.

Here's a map of where in the world they drive on the right (red) or left (blue). Interestingly, although most of the world used to drive on the left (including the US), only 34% of the world currently does.


Anonymous said...

Hi Eric, Rachel and Maggie...just a note from Fredericksburg. The poem/song is so very touching. His hand is upon all that all of you do there...for you are there to bring love and care to these people. Driving on the left of the road would NOT be good for me/or anyone on the road. Lent has begun. Love ALL the pictures!

Anonymous said...

#4 got me almost every time!

Tori Clark said...

Justin & and I just traveled to the Carribean and he made mistake #4 alot (turning the windshield wipers). The island was beautiful with mountains and rainforest and the sea, and last night I asked him what his favorite part of the trip was. Driving our little Daihatsu, he said. :)