As I drove home from dropping my daughter off for her early training session this morning, I found myself considering the driving transition I will have to make when we move. There is something about the pre-dawn hours, possibly simply that you should be in bed rather than contemplating rational or coherent thought at that time of day, that I have found can prompt the strangest and most varied train of thought!
Over the last couple of years I have become accustomed to huge multiple-lane Canadian roads, left hand drive cars, and a number of perplexing driving rules. Although, anyone who has drawn up behind me at a red light will know that I have never quite got to grips with the confusing rule of the road that makes it acceptable to “turn right on red”. Also, given that I have been driving an automatic for the last couple of years (point and press driving if you like!), it does makes me wonder how well I will be able to switch back to winding country lanes, single flow traffic and navigating a stick! Especially since smooth gear changes have never been my forte. My parents will recall, and I am aware that they do so often, how I wore out a gear box when learning to drive. And, I know my Mother will never quite recover from my first attempt at merging onto a dual carriageway. When instead of pulling forward and joining the traffic, I came to a complete standstill, stalled the car, took my hands from the steering wheel, waved my arms, laughed and wondered out loud what to do and how to do it! There is really no need to add that the queue of traffic and enraged motorists also waiting to join the road were less than impressed, and that I was the only one to find it the least bit amusing.
I am eternally thankful that regaining my British licence is not contingent on my taking a driving test. The prospect that I might have had to demonstrate my capability in hill starts and reverse parking, not only made me shudder, but also made me wonder whether purchasing a bus pass would have been an acceptable option. So, in preparation for taking to the English roads again this summer, I am adopting this simple three point mantra:
1. Buy a small car (easier to navigate?)
2. Flapping your arms should be reserved for waving at people you know
and not a fall-back driving response
3. Never turn right on red!