|Subject: Re: Have you driven in the UK?|
I agree with all this. My husband and I, between us, have driven at least 30,000 miles in the UK while living there for 2 1/2 years. When I first read your note, I thought you said you were going to arrive at Dover with the car, as we did on our first trip to the UK...and let me tell you that was scary, because the exit from the ferry is one huge parking lot, with a few police waving traffic this way and that. It's a wonder we made it out of there.
Well, as has been said, the motorways are much like our freeways, except that the fast lane is on the right, rather than on the left. Also, you do NOT pass on the left...you always move to the right into a faster lane to pass, then move back into the slower lane if there is room and if it is going at the speed you want.
>From the in the car perspective, the biggest problem is that the driver will not have any car, no passenger seat, to his right. We in the US are used to sitting on the left side and orienting our navigating from that position. If you are not careful, the first few times you drive, you may scrape the passenger side of the car on something. Also, the rear-view mirror is up to the left, rather than up to the right.
Before you take off driving, make absolutely sure where the light switch is and the windshield wiper, because it will rain. Even before you hire the car, go somewhere and buy a complete atlas of the UK, one that has even the unpaved roads, because... well...just because! Also, take a compass, because the weather is often very cloudy, the roads twist and turn, and you may wind up going North when you should be going South.
The recommendation for one to drive and one to navigate is good, but Brian and I trade off. We drive for an hour, and then navigate for an hour. It seems easier. You will probably find that one is a better navigator, and that one should be the one to navigate through the cities. In our case, I am the best navigator, and I am out of luck in the cities if I'm driving, because my husband is not very good at always mentioning the roadsigns. I guess he thinks they are so obvious that I will have seen them, but that's not the case...I have been busy just keeping out of trouble, I may well have missed the important signs.
Roundabouts are very easy. If you can't find your turn on the first go around, then go around again. Traffic IN the roundabout has the right-of-way, so watch for cars on your right at the roundabout. If you are going to make what is a right turn, signal for the right turn, get way into the middle of the roundabout and signal to get out of the middle in time enough to get to the outside. Sounds difficult, but it is really easy.
Pat McKinney Orinda, CA USA