...and I don't think I have ever been so stressed while driving in my life!
Here's what Rick Steves had to say about driving in Britain: "Many Yankee drivers find the hardest part isn't driving on the left, but steering from the right. Your instinct is to put yourself on the left side of your lane, which means you may spend your first day or two constantly drifting off the road to the left."
He's absolutely right -- I really had little problem driving on the left side. I kept chanting to myself, "stay left, stay left" whenever making a turn, entering a roundabout, or on a road without markings. Required increased concentration, yes, but not a huge deal.
But judging the car's corners from the right-side drivers seat -- now that was something completely different. As Steves warned, at first I definitely found myself hugging the left side of the road, to the point I clipped the curb a couple of times, but it was when we hit the really narrow and twisty two-way roads with 60-mph speed limits that I REALLY had trouble: I just couldn't judge the car corners from, for me, what should have been the passenger seat. Following behind a Toyota Yaris at one point, I could see that it had about a foot of clearance between the center line (when there was a center line) and the stone wall on the left. My rental Volvo V40 was about four inches wider and I can't tell you how many times I had to grit my teeth and fight my urge to veer left to avoid what I thought was going to be certain impact as we rounded a tight corner and encountered a tour bus with its front bumper over the centerline. My wife got used to hearing me mutter "holy ****!" and "holy mother of God!" as I held my line and we passed with side mirrors seemingly miraculously still attached.
My wife would warn me when I was drifting too far left, and kept telling me that my side didn't look so bad from where she was sitting, which REALLY made me wish we had paid extra so she could have driven too, since she was sitting in what would normally be the driver's seat for us. Would have been interested to see if she found it as difficult as I found it from the right-hand side.
Honestly, I think if we had encountered similar roads elsewhere in Europe but with left-hand drive cars, I wouldn't have found it nearly as difficult.
I have to say, as much as I was looking forward to sipping some single-malt Scotch at the end of each day, I suspect I had twice as much as I normally would have. Good for the local economy; not so good for the local liver.
In the end we returned the car undamaged, which I think I rank as one of my greater driving accomplishments.
Here's a shot of the rental car: good looking car, quite comfortable, about the same size as a Golf, but like my V60 feeling a little long in the tooth compared to newer competition (it was introduced in 2012).