Thursday, May 15, 2014

Look Left

One of the fun things we discovered about London is that apparently everyone is confused about the whole "drive on the left side of the road" thing. Long a joke staple of American sitcoms, being confused by the different driving practices of England wasn't something I was particularly worried about when visiting. I wasn't going to be driving, certainly, and even if I had, I was pretty sure I could manage.

I was naive.

Throughout London, we saw on the street on almost every intersection a (rather crudely done) sign instructing the pedestrian to "Look left" "Look right" or "Look both ways". These warnings were ubiquitous as well as very, very necessary. On several occasions I was almost hit by not paying attention to them.

I came up with two theories for this phenomena. Either (1) so many confused tourists had been hit by cars at intersections that the authorities instituted the warnings to stop the carnage, or (2) the "drive on the left" practice (and the many one-way streets) confuses even Londoners. I still haven't decided which theory I like better.

Always look left.

1 comment:

Eric Haas said...

A friend who went to England and drove a car while there told me that the hardest part, for him, wasn’t remembering to drive on the left, but getting used to the different turn radii (i.e., making wide turns to the right and narrow turns to the left).

Supposedly, there are a number of British tourists who get killed every year while visiting the US or Canada because they forget we drive on the other side of the road.