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“This is my first time driving on the left, I’ll let you go first,” I said to the women picking up the rental car next to mine at Hobart Airport in Tasmania.
“Oh, that is nervous,” she said.
My nerves were unduly frazzled. As friends advised, it wasn’t so bad. Australian rentals are primarily automatics so I did not need to juggle a manual.
Regular flow of traffic was remarkably uneventful. My surmise that the place for mistakes would be deserted spots was correct. My two near-misses were at ultra-low speeds in national parks. One I pulled out of the Feycinet National Park visitor center parking lot and took the right turn to the near lane, fortunately the oncoming car coming round the blind bend was also going slow and probably thought, “Idiot in a baseball cap, must be a Yank.”
Other was slowly descending a narrow muddy park road, back seat had a elderly Slovenian long resident in Tasmania on a lift down to the Mt Field National Park visitor center. I was in the center in case of sliding. When an oncoming car approached I naturally veered to the right, exactly where he was veering. The Slovenian said, “I see you’re not Australian. Your tendency is to the right.”
On the narrow Tasman roads I erred to the center, not quite having a sense of alignment due to the new perspective.
My biggest issue, which two days did not overcome, was signaling turns with the windshield wipers.
Next up is needing to combine left and a manual, next week’s trip up to Ayers Rock should be ideal, hardly any traffic out there. I want to get in shape for my Ireland road trip in late November.
Note: Tasmanian drivers are very slow and cautious, often going under the speed limit. The exception are the wild taxi drivers in Hobart who nearly clipped me several times in car and on foot. Beware.