Learning to Drive on the Left Hand Side of the Road #$@!
So I just got back from Ireland the other day having enjoyed my visit and after having driven on the “Grand” island for seven days straight. Now that may not seem unusual to you until you realize as I did pretty much abruptly that all of that driving is on the LEFT HAND side of the road!
Now I've been driving for a little over 40 years so I have lots of experience driving cars of all types ( I was a valet a million years ago ) as well as fairly big trucks and had my “D” license driving big trucks double clutching through the city for almost a year but nothing prepared me for this driving challenge!
I had no expectation of driving on this trip because my son and his girlfriend had said they were going to be the drivers so it hadn’t even crossed my mind that I would be driving – let alone on the wrong side of the road ;). Well when we go to get the rental car its “decided” that it would be best if the most experienced driver in the bunch … as in “me” should also be on the car as the alternate driver and not my sons girlfriend . After a bit of humming and hawing I decided to myself – just how hard could it be?
When we went to pick up the car they didn’t have the class car we had rented – some basic model and instead upgraded us to a Mercedes C type sedan – brand new to boot. Now normally I’d be ecstatic that we’ve been upgraded and all but put yourself in my shoes … never driven left handed … in a brand new Mercedes that you can easily ding up …with 3 other passengers you’re responsible for if you “%$#@” up!
Not an easy pill to swallow.
As luck would have it my son volunteered to drive the car out of the car lot saving me the immediate pressure of being behind the wheel BUT I did know that my turn was coming soon.
And it did come when we were in a sleepy little town just after we had stopped for lunch. Its very hard to mentally switch your driving universe from right to left beginning with sitting on the right hand side of the car where the steering wheel is ;). My very first right hand turn I started to turn into the wrong lane out of habit until my son gently corrected me and said No “Dad” the other lane. Numerous times I looked at a sticker that was on my dash in front of me reminding me that I had to stay in the left lane and believe it or not that silly sticker helped me a lot.
Gradually over the course of the week that we were there I overcame my fear of getting behind the wheel and on the last day I drove the entire width of Ireland From Galway to Dublin by myself ( about 4-5 hours) and was so comfortable in the Mercedes that on the highway I was doing 160 km/hr without even thinking about it – and being passed by other cars to boot!
So why tell you this little story? Well I think learning golf is a lot like the challenge I faced down.
At first your scared of hitting a driver or playing a golf course you don’t know or not sure what swing you have for that particular day but anyway you look at it you have to face the fear of doing it and do it anyway. Even if you do screw up you’ll be stronger for it and if you don’t screw up you”ll be ten times stronger.
Your brain and body can do a lot of amazing things if you let them but you just have to try. Whatever you’re most afraid of in your golf game is exactly what you need to work at and if you do you’ll be a much stronger player for it. And since I just came back from Ireland what I would say to you is that would be “Grand”!