Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When in doubt, there will be a roundabout...

and saying silent prayers to God is pretty much my MO while driving in England!  While it wasn't that difficult to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road, I am still not completely accustomed to the British style of driving and overtaking on curves...crikey they're bloody nuts!

Basically the speed limit on what we consider country roads is 60 mph but did I mention these aren't your basic country roads...they're full of curves and bends.  I'll admit the speed limit does drop when you approach curves on the hilly roads...it drops to 50 mph!  If it is really bad...40 mph...but for them really bad seems to be a 90 degree or sharper curve!!  You know you're approaching a village when you see a speed limit sign for 30 mph.  Definitely should have brought my St. Christopher medal with me on this trip!!

I don't mind when the drivers overtake me as they are very polite and don't blow their horns.  What concerns me is when they overtake another car in MY lane and zip back to their lane mere feet before my car! 

Moma and I did have a VERY close call on Sunday returning from Bath and it is truly by the grace of God we survived.  It started raining on one of those lovely hilly, curvy roads and as we rounded a curve (to me sharp but not by British standards), we were greeted by another car in our lane (not overtaking anyone) and I slammed on breaks as my only other option was to go over the cliff.  Fortunately just in the nick of time, he realized he was about to hit us and moved back into his lane!  He was so close when he passed us I could have reached through his window and pulled his cell phone out of his hand and talk to the person on the other end!!  It definitely threw me for a loop but apparently the folks behind me more as I just started driving and they stayed still a bit longer.  We had to drive 5 more miles before we reached a spot where I could pull over and have one the Thorton's chocolates we picked up in Bath...nothing like chocolate to soothe the nerves!!

Aside from the idiot above, the English are very polite drivers.  When you pull up to a traffic calming, there's a sign indicating which side has the right of way. If you're on the side that has to stop, they always wave to thank you as they pass by.  When you cut them off on a roundabout because you just realized your GPS meant "this" exit, they don't blow their horns at you.

While in Bourton-on-the-Water today, I did notice a Highway Code book in a shop and quickly went in to pick one up!  So far my knowledge of English driving rules has been trial and error (mostly the later) so this will most definitely come in handy for our last week.  Now, my challenge will be to remember to drive on the right side when we return to the States!
The Touring Mobile

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