Mar 1, 2010

What is a yute?

"Well I'm off," I said to her. "Wish me the best of luck."

"Good luck," Flavia said to me. "Hope to see you again."

I was about to have my first driving experience in Australia. After spending days riding with Kelly and Mark and catching my breath every time they turned into the left lane I decided it was my time to brave the roads.

I step into their Ute (Yoot) and get prepared. A Ute is very popular down under. Basically it's an El Camino with the bed removed and fitted with a utility like back end. I check the gauges and play with the manual shifting for a bit. It was odd having to switch gears with my left hand, but I decide it's time to test my skills on the road. I turn over the engine and pull into the left lane.

I was on the road, illegally I might add, but surprisingly it went better than expected. Driving on the left hand side of the road didn't feel that awkward. I mean it felt kind of uncomfortable. It's sort of like waking up with hangover and not showering nor shaving then you hit the grocery store and run into an ex-girlfriend who's there with your boss and they're buying supplies for a weekend road trip.

Ok it wasn't that weird.

Every time I turned right I ended up flicking on the windshield wipers. Other drivers probably thought I was drunk.

As with most countries outside the US there were roundabouts everywhere. They became kind of a challenge, but I didn't eat up too much of the clutch. I pissed off a few Aussies by going right with the wipers on instead of my turn signal.

"And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension." - Ayrton Senna


Mattbear said...

So the turn signal was on the right side? Weird. Never would have thought of that. Something else I've wondered - I assume that 1st gear is closest to you (i.e. on the opposite side from an American car)?

Miss Ash said...

You're a brave man sir as it seems like something that would be next to impossible to do without causing an accident.

And roundabouts are the shit! A brilliant idea!

JLee said...

That sounds fun but challenging. ha

オテモヤン said...


Kelli said...

I think driving on the left seems more natural-- I picked it up effortlessly. After I moved back from Japan, it took quite some time for me to get used to driving on the right. To answer Matt's question-- from what I remember the shift pattern is still the standard H (at least in Asia).