Thursday, December 11, 2008

Driving me crazy - part 1

It had to happen. I knew from the minute I published my first posting that sooner or later I would make a comment about driving standards. Remember the original idea for this blog? It seems I sometimes forget too. It was (and is) my intention to comment and reflect on the everyday differences of living here in the USA, North Carolina in particular and the land of my birth, England. We lived in southern Spain for five years so that may just creep into postings now and again. So differences in driving and all things associated with the automobile are fair game.

I learned to drive as soon as legally permitted at 17, so have 48 years experience and many, many thousands of miles under my belt, 15,000 miles a year being quite a lot by UK standards. I can now imagine my son reading this and thinking to himself “I wonder what it felt like crawling along behind the guy with the red flag”!

Cars (the design, power and more importantly the sheer number), roads and drivers have change tremendously during that time. When I first started driving there were just two sets of traffic lights [signals] in my home town, now there seem to be hundreds. My first car, a Morris Minor 1000 (an identical vehicle is pictured below), is now a classic collectors’ piece. But I think the most important change is in driving standards. The UK driving test is quite exhaustive, much more so than when I took it, but even then is was still much more intense than the test here. Of course, as soon as you had passed and received your full license [licence], your driving habits changed. For example you no longer shifted down a gear (lucky to have four then), slowed down and looked both ways at every intersection, even if you had the right of way. You were now free to travel the Queen’s highway!

Oh dear, this is going to be a long one . . . like previous subjects, I’m going to have post in installments.

To be continued . . .

Photo by Ian Britton, courtesey

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