Monday, February 20, 2017

Driving on the left, from the right

DSC01089 (1300x803)I’ve finally sorted out the logistics and financing of getting the car fixed.  Initial proposals from Ford Lease were that the car be repaired in Maastricht.  While likely practical from the standpoint of the engine, I didn’t think that the hood latch would necessarily hold for the 6-hour drive to the Netherlands.  Second suggestion?

“We would suggest flying the car back to the Netherlands.  Ummm, can I have iron-clad assurance that I’m not paying for that? 

The third proposal was to take it to a local accident repair centre to get new replacement parts fitted (£2700).  Perfect.  ‘Good, your appointment is Monday

DSC01092 (1300x810)A ‘Relief Vehicle’ is nowhere in the paperwork, so I went online to find a temporary replacement.  Surprisingly, a rental was only £115 for 10 days, all-in with VAT and insurance.  I locked the price and hot-footed over to the depot: a red Fiesta was being checked out when I arrived.

Oddly, so was a bill for over £400 additional payment.  Digging into the itemizations, I found over £300 in duplicate insurance, add-ons, and options. 

And if I didn’t want all of that? 

“Well, of course, then you’d owe nothing.”

These people are such, well, used-car dealers.  I signed for nothing, took the keys, confirmed condition, and headed out.

The car is, of course, set up for UK driving arrangements rather than my customary Dutch / American driver-sits-left.   And this is where it all gets tricky for me.

I am used to transposing to driving on the left side of the road, but not to driving from the right-hand side of the car. DSC01090 (867x1300)It really takes attention to keeping the right side of the car close to the starboard lane lines.  And even so, I tend to drift left. 

I also have this sense off enormous space to my left inside the car, that the vehicle is very much wider than it actually is.  It makes the vehicle difficult to park and problematic when passing.

And, of course, I’m now getting into the car from the wrong side.

Not a bad thing, of course: It encourages me to go slow, hyper-vigilant of what around me and of where my wheels are.   So far, all good: more working from home and less travel generally, but looking forward to being ‘back to normal’ by early March.

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