Cars for sitters

Manual shift cars are or were the norm in the UK. In fact there are two driving tests. If you pass a manual shift driving test you can drive either type of car but if you pass in an automatic car you can’t drive a manual shift. So I think anyone who learnt to drive in the UK is good to go.
The other point is the drivers capability. This is very pertinent to my situation at the moment. I have driven for 40 plus years. Never let me drive a red car, I’ve written off the two I owned but apart from that good, clean driving record. We are in North America at the moment and made the decision to buy a car. Very long story on how to do it and I think that can wait for another time. My husband (smart bs***t) has no problems. I can’t get the hang of driving on the right hand side of the road. My road position is terrible. Therefore I’m a danger to both pedestrians and other drivers. I know, practise makes perfect but I am so angry with myself. Such a simple thing! So, yes, I would worry about their driving record and experience but also go out with them a couple of times to see their driving ability for yourself.
As for who pays what, a water tight legal document would probably be needed to make that legally binding or you could “trust in God” but……

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Yes, cars come automatic and you have to pay more for standard now. Opposite in the UK.

I would consider the HOs asking for $500 to use their car a red flag about the HOs themselves, as they are ok with lending their car but want to be paid when it costs them nothing. HOs need to appreciate the valuable service sitters provide. I would pass on the sit.


I was born and raised in Ireland, and only drove a stick shift (manual) car there. I had never driven an automatic car until I moved to the US aged 32. When I visit Ireland now, I drive my sister’s stick shift.

The first time I used her car was just after I landed in Ireland from the US. Ruth left her car at the airport for me. I knew I was tired and needed to pay attention to driving on the correct side of the road. Then I got into the car and realized it was manual transmission also! Luckily, driving a manual is like riding a bike - the skills return immediately.

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Yes - something we have neglected to ask in the past to our disadvantage! We bought a car in NZ and it ended up with sand and dog hair and a distinct doggy aroma because we were expected to take the dogs on walks in parks and on beaches, none of which were within walking distance to the sits. We will be making sure we ask a few more questions re car use before any future sits!

A post was merged into an existing topic: To need a car or not need a car - that is the question

Hello. We live in San Diego, CA and have GEICO auto insurance. If the sitter needs/wants a car there is one available and we’ve never had a problem. The car allows the sitter to take our large dogs with them to restaurants, breweries and on outings to the beach.


There isn’t a chance in the world I’d try driving on the left after a lifetime of driving on the right. And shifting with my left hand? I can’t even brush my teeth with my left. NO ONE benefits if I were to drive in the UK. I’ve always wondered how long it takes for someone to adjust to the switch?

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My husband adjusts within a day or so usually. As navigator, I do lots of out loud “stay in the left lane”, look to the left when making a RH turn etc when we first start.

That being said, personally, I would never drive in the UK. I haven’t driven a manual transmission in traffic ever. I might be willing to drive an automatic if pressed.

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I live in Canada but drive in the UK and Ireland. It was nerve wracking at first but now it just takes me a couple of days to get used to. It’s fine once you get the hang of it, but I do have a habit of getting in the wrong side of the truck when I get back to Canada!


I had a very interesting experience, when I was offered to try to drive in the UK for the first time: my brain simply froze, and I couldn’t even figure out how to turn the car on :rofl:, let alone drive.

After I relocated to the UK, I had to pass the UK driving test to get a local license after 12 months. I was feeling confident after a couple of weeks driving with the instructor. My driving style also adjusted in due course. Although I do occasionally catch myself coasting, after 16 years of driving in the UK.

I wander now how long it would take me to adjust back in Europe.


Oh, I would also be the navigator that offers up “oh my god”, “watch out” and hissing sounds. My husband doesn’t tend to appreciate that though. As for driving a stick shift, only if no one else could AND we had to go to the hospital urgently.

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:sweat_smile::sweat_smile::flushed::sweat_smile:I’m going to have fun in a few weeks as I drive on the other side of the road, in a larger city…Just have to remember which side of the car to go to when I want to drive :+1::sweat_smile:.

@RunnerC just remember the mantra “driver in the middle! (of the road)” when you’re behind the wheel :grinning:


It doesn’t take long at all. When I moved to the US, after driving in Ireland, adjusting to driving on the right took only a few days. It took longer to adjust to getting into the car on the other side!

I drive an automatic car in the US, but I drive a manual/stick shift in Ireland every 6-12 months. Even when I drove the manual for the first time in years, the skills came back very quickly.

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I adjust to right hand drive almost immediately. I have to think about it, but for me shifting with my left arm is the challenge.

I Can drive manual. Both 4 wheels and 2 wheels! California based!

@Blondce As Car & Driver magazine states" Save the manuals! :slight_smile:

We have had sitters from the US in the past and have been able to add them onto our car insurance. Now it seems it’s not possible to add US licence holders.
I’ve googled it and it appears to be a common issue. Has anyone any advice?

I think it might depend on your insurance company and the age of the driver. I don’t think they will insure drivers who are 70 or older. I have a US license and was recently insured in the UK to drive their car.