Thursday, August 17, 2006

Left Hand Drive Cars

Coming from countries where you drive on the left hand side of the road and therefore in cars which are right hand drive it took a bit of adjusting to left hand drive cars in the USA. In fact I have still not fully adjusted.

On occasion, when I go to the car I walk around to the right hand side of the car to get in. On opening the door I notice that I have arrived at the wrong side. I surreptitiously glance around to see if anyone has noticed and if so I pretend to shuffle some papers on the passenger seat or check the glove compartment. Sometimes I've taken things out of the glove compartment to make it look like I was fetching something before closing the passenger door with authority and walking purposefully around to the drivers side.

On a bad day I will climb into the passenger side of the car and close the door before discovering that the steering wheel is missing. I have yet to work out a way to recover from this. In fact I don't think that there is a recovery. I could climb over the gear changer but if the police were to see that then they'd probably arrest me for impersonating a drunk. Instead, I sheepishly climb out the car and shuffle around to the drivers side hoping that the laughter and giggles I can hear in the parking lot are not directed at me.

10 comments:

Rob said...

lol - been there done that. It gets easier with time and suddenly, one day, you'll be in a place where they drive on the correct side of the road and you'll go to to the 'wrong' side of the car. I did that a year ago in Australia; how embarrassing!

miker said...

in sa it is a wise idea to drive a left hand drive car so that when the hijacker attempts to hijack you he sticks a gun to your passengers head enabling you to make a dash for freedom.

Lessy said...

I’d pay to be one of those people at the parking lot watching you get in and out of the passenger seat. Priceless :) Believe me the last thing they’d think is that you’re British.
This reminds of the time I went to England and I almost got run over by a car when I was trying to cross the street and I could not figure out whether the cars were going or coming. Luckily my friend saved just in time. After that we held hands every time we crossed any street. A bit old to do that, but I just thought ‘what the heck I want to make it back alive’

Guy said...

miker: Perhaps as an anti-hijack device in South Africa you could put a manequin on the passenger seat (in the left hand drive car) with a toy (yet realistic looking) machine gun (a short one - something like an Uzi) pointing up towards the window...?

Did those anti-hijack flame throwers ever take off?

Guy said...

Lessy: I have no doubt that they'd think I was drunk and not British.

Guy said...

Another thing that is often confusing is if someone is going to give you a ride somewhere. You think that you are walking around to the passenger side but in fact it's the driver's side. You and the driver both arrive at the driver's door and there's an awkward silence and standoff as the driver looks at you with a puzzled expression.

On occasion they have held the keys out to me and said: "Um... do you want to drive?"

To which I can now reply: "I can't find the correct side of the car and you trust me to drive?"
At which point the offer is usually rescinded.

miker said...

again human rights had an issue with them, you are not alloweed to toast someone trying to kill you and steal your car. go figure. i have prostitutes working the road above my shop. went to buy a pellet gun so i could shoot them because the police are unable to remove them. was told i would be charged with attempted murder if i shot them with a pellet gun.

Guy said...

I came up with an idea for that type of prostitute problem a couple of years ago. The trick is to kill off the demand in that area. If the demand drops off then they will move to another area. So what you do is take photos of the pro's being picked up and make sure that you get a good shot of the man picking them up. Then start a web site and post the pictures on the web site with captions such as "Is this your husband?", or "Can anyone identify this man picking up a pro on X Jan 2007?" etc.

Once you have the web site up and running it shouldn't be too difficult to get publicity for it throught the local rags and then you stick up posters on the light and phone poles around where the pro's are picked up which say "Want to see a picture of yourself picking up a pro? Go to pros-r-us.co.za".

Don't know if that will work but if the customers know that they are being photographed on corner X and made famous on a pro web site then they might take their business to another corner.

miker said...

i only saw you anti pro suggestion now. its a brilliant idea (finally). i tried writing down all the number plates and giving them to my mate who is a journo to print in the paper, but he said its a human rights violation. not sure if you are allowed to take pics of someone unknowingly. you can with their consent, thats why there was now't paris could do about her vid, cos she consented to being videoed.

Guy said...

I don't know what the legality of showing a picture publicly if the person does not give their consent is.

However, I have thought about this: If someone gets caught on CCTV committing a crime then it appears that the video clip can be shown on national television. Now I very much doubt that the criminal gave their consent.

So my legal question is, if somebody is committing a crime (picking up prostitutes for example) then can their picture be publicly displayed in order to elicit the public's help in identifying them and having them arrested and charged?

Even if you don't take the photos or videos of them picking up pros on your road you might be able to put up a sign that says that you are doing that which would move them off somewhere else.

When I used to see this happening, the men picking up the pros were often driving government vehicles with the name of the government department emblazoned on the side so one would assume that they should have been working and not shagging about.

Actually that was a stupid comment that last one. What else would they use your tax money for?