Driving in England: Lessons Learned
"It'll be fun!"
"A whole lot easier than having to drag luggage."
"Driving on the 'wrong side of the road'? No problem!"
"Hell, I drove in L.A. - what could be worse than that?"
"Mo (my BFF) drove in Ireland!"
... All thoughts while making the rental car arrangements for our two-week tour of the English countryside.
We arrived at Europcar and picked up our adorable Peugot at 11am. With Mr. Something behind the wheel, we were on the road within 20 minutes. Our chosen mantra? "Stay to the left, stay to the left, stay to the left". Wiithin 15 minutes I changed it to ..."Let's just call a cab to come get us, let's just call a cab, for God's sake, pull over and call a cab..."
The 'die was cast' however, when the Europcar guy handed me a map of Bath. It was then, that I realized, driving all over England would be a crap-shoot for us. Our car was outfitted with GPS (SatNav) and although we are thankful for that, we really just needed to take the train. That being said, GPS was our virtual life-preserver.
|City of Bath, England|
If you look carefully, there are few streets that go north/south/east or west. They're just all over the place. Really.
The width of Bath's city streets originally were made to accommodate horse-drawn carriages. Metal barricades were plentiful and in place to prevent innocent pedestrians from getting run-over. 'Roundabouts' common circular traffic intersections failed to make sense to us. Familiarizing ourselves with U.K. traffic laws was purely an afterthought...
A perfect storm.
I needed a drink.
Mr. Something explained to the guard that we had traveled soooo far and were leaving the next day... She caved and told us we could "park and walk about 3/4 mile through 'the pasture' to take a look". After our lengthy drive, we looked forward to the exercise.
|I had no idea we would be on the cow's turf. |
It was just a flesh-wound.
Lessons Learned Driving in Britain:
- Get online and review British Traffic Laws and signage before driving in the U.K.
- Request Automatic Transmission. You might have to pay a little more but it's worth it.
- Stay to the Left.
- Following the car in front of you really helps.
- Be aware of the left side of your car. It's really easy to hit things (cars, people, buildings etc.) Just sayin'.
- The Highways in the UK are great. When in doubt - find a highway and get on it.
- Eating and smoking while driving is illegal in England.
- A GPS/Sat Nav is priceless.
- Carry plenty of change for parking.
- When entering a traffic circle - hug the inside lane and keep circling until you find your exit.