A June 2004 trip
to United Kingdom by Norman
Quote: I drove over 1800 miles in England, Wales, and Scotland on a summer trip. Here is a reflection of my experience with some tips that will help you navigate the countries.
For 17 days I had the pleasure of exploring England, Scotland, and Wales by car. This allowed my wife and me the freedom to move from place to place at our own pace, slowing down to take in the sights and scenery along the way. Driving was not that difficult.
Of course you must change your perspective - slower traffic in the left lane and passing on the right. I quickly gained confidence and ease driving on the "other side" of the road. The last thing I got used to was looking to my left for the rearview mirror.
Now don’t forget to look ‘the other way’ when you make your turns, especially from a side street.
All in all, the drivers were quite courteous, both in the cities and on the major highways. People were safe drivers, showing patience when it was called for. The traffic lights are different than the U.S. in that a red light turns yellow before it turns green. This did help the traffic flow in the congested areas.
Now for the difficulties I encountered. First, something quite new for me, roundabouts. A roundabout is a circle, though sometimes they were not circular, where roads meet, usually without a traffic light. Though some of the busier ones did have one or more traffic lights. As in the word, you must drive around the circle until you get to the point where your street turns off the circle. Most of them had two lanes of traffic continually moving. It took me several days before I felt confident maneuvering around them and at the same time quickly finding the appropriate sign for my street.
Most of them did have signs showing the roundabout’s turnoffs before you entered it. This was a great help.
Another difficulty was following the directional signs pointing the way to another road or an attraction. The challenge was reading the sign then trying to figure out which road the sign meant to turn onto. Sometimes the sign gave you little warning, in other words when you saw the sign you were supposed to turn immediately. Other times the signs seemed to be far ahead of the turnoff. Then a few times I turned at the sign only to find out it was a small local street when I should have gone another block or to the next intersection.
Finally, in the smaller cities, don’t be surprised when a car is parked in the traffic lane on a two way street. Just take your time and watch for other vehicles.
A bit of advice. Plan and map out your route as much as possible. I used and recommend the AA Route planner, available at no charge at: http://www.theaa.com/travelwatch/planner_main.jsp
You may see links to all the places I visited here: http://www.netrox.net/~labush/EngTrip.htm
Cooper City, Florida