Have you ever wondered why when you drive in a car in the UK or in the US the driver is always on the inside of the road so that when you meet another car the drivers are on the inside of the lane and the passengers are on the outside of the lane? Why does this matter? One word….passing. When driving in Romania, you drive on the right hand side of the road – something my North American Mongol Rally team was use to.
Passing a Car is Not As Easy As You’d Think
When you have to pass another car on a two lane road – you want the driver to be on the inside so that they can see the oncoming cars and know when it is clear enough to pass. Simple.
Now its not so simple when you are driving a UK drive car in a country where they drive on the other side of the road than the UK. This means you are trying to pass people when you the driver are on the outside of the road trying to see the oncoming traffic. I actually wrote a post about it a long time ago when I was traveling through Laos – but then I was the passenger. This time I am the driver.
As I took my turn to drive from Budapest Hungary to Cluj Romania and it of course was pissing down rain. It seems that whenever I get behind the wheel it’s pouring rain. As if the giant gray rain cloud is just following me overhead as if I were an unlucky cartoon character.
Little did I know, but today was the day where we lost our lovely autobahn type interstates with smooth tarmac and 2 or 3 lanes to choose from. Today we entered the world of two lane driving and left the massive interstates of the western world behind.
Passing is a Team Effort
Passing was a team effort in which we had to perfect our signals. Rick and Deb were riding on the inside lane of the car as passengers and they were responsible for giving me the signals. A clear “Go!” if it was clear and a clear “No” when it wasn’t – none of this maybe stuff! Together we worked as a team to get past the massive trucks bunched up on the two land road. We celebrated after the first successful pass and we fell into a good rhythm. However, it pained me every time we had to stop and I knew that I had to start all over again getting around the slow vehicles I had just worked so hard to pass previously.
Video of passing cars – Dave and Deb from The Planet D have it under control!
Overcoming Driving Fears
This is one of the things about driving in the Mongol Rally that intimidated me most. Yet I actually found it really exciting in a way. It certainly gave me a rush to be a part of the driving culture and trying to learn all of the unwritten rules.
We crossed the border into Romania with a slight delay as the authorities took our passports and our car papers to do God knows what. We sat and waiting for abot 20 minutes and they handed back out passports with a new stamp in ti! Finally – a stamp! We had already passed through 7 countries in Europe and no stamps!
I settled down to a big Romanian beer once we reached our camp site. – a great team effort today!
I thought Passing was hard, wait until we made it to Ukraine! Make sure to read our trials and tribulations of Driving in Ukraine
By Craig Zabransky August 4, 2011 - 9:34 am
great times, well deserved beer… Living these road adventures.
Stay adventurous, Craig
By Sorin August 4, 2011 - 10:21 am
Welcome to Romania Sherry. Sorry for the delay at the border – Enjoy Romania and Timisoreana :P.
By Sherry August 5, 2011 - 6:52 am
Thanks!! We loved it…minus the border crossing!
By Cat August 4, 2011 - 3:25 pm
So spot on! We ended up taking two whole days off of our trip plans in April due to the road conditions and unexpected buggies!
By Adrian B. August 5, 2011 - 5:08 am
Hi and welcome to Romania! I hope you enjoy your time here.
I see you already discovered on of Romanians favorite beers – Timisoreana 🙂
Anyway, while in Romania, you should get used to the two lane driving and slow vehicles and forget about interstates (unfortunately).
Drive safely and enjoy your stay!
By Sherry August 5, 2011 - 6:51 am
Thanks! We love Romania – wish we could stay longer…but we have to keep driving to Mongolia! We are getting used to the driving, but it’s still foreign to us!
By Ted August 5, 2011 - 10:37 am
“And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and water him.”
— Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide)
By Sherry August 5, 2011 - 3:07 pm
Love it!! Thanks Ted!
By Mike August 8, 2011 - 10:45 am
Looks like you guys are having quite the adventure. It really makes me miss the rally a ton! I’ll keep following and please drive safely.
Mike + Lauren + Bill
Abandon the Cube
Mongol Rally 2010
By Sherry August 10, 2011 - 9:52 am
Thanks Mike! We had a really tough drive day yesterday and are falling behind our plans – but have remapped out a new route now…so we are back on track! It’s been a crazy adventure so far!!
By Yatra Flights August 8, 2011 - 2:37 pm
hey nice post i liked it…
thanks for sharing…..
keep it up….
By Ron Denesha August 8, 2011 - 7:03 pm
Hey there, its Ron and my friend Michael finally got back to me if you ever need help in a Russian speaking area….his info for contacting him is by email: [email protected] and via phone at 808-222-8690. Hes really cool and loves helping people out. Please let me know if you receive this information by replying in some way.
By Sherry August 10, 2011 - 9:51 am
Thanks Ron! I will take his number down and give him a ring if we get in a bind. We have one more leg through Russia – but all the countries here speak Russian…and it’s super hard to figure out!
By Natalie T. September 3, 2011 - 1:12 am
Well deserved beer! I feel like I’m in European Driver’s Ed with you.
By Lucian June 11, 2019 - 3:25 am
I’m glad you liked traveling through Romania. We hope you come to visit us more.