On Driving Lessons
So since I passed my theoretical test, I’ve begun taking driving lessons. Despite making me feel like an awkward teenager again, I do believe they are making me a better driver. Perhaps that because I no longer feel like I’m invincible (read: stupid) and I understand more about the costs of car ownership (read: expensive and ethically challenging).
But I thought I’d post a few funny stories from my recent lessons, because I haven’t blogged in a while and you deserve a funny on this dreary Wednesday.
First off, driving on the wrong side of the road is not a problem. It’s not an issue in the slightest way. I’ve never once gone over to the wrong side, or been tempted to turn into the wrong lane, or anything. Your mind just makes the switch, and it’s surprisingly easy.
It’s also not hard to shift with my left hand. In some ways, I actually prefer it. Because I’m right-handed, my right hand has better motor control, so it does better on the steering wheel. And my left-hand has more strength, so it does better with the gear shifting.
Other than that though, the layout of the car is exactly the same. You still clutch with your left, and break and gas with your right. The layout of the gearbox is also the same, 1st gear is top left, then down to second, etc. Easy peasy.
Where I run into trouble is with the road signs. There are LOTS of them, and they don’t always make sense. The universal sign for “don’t do something” is a red circle with a line through it – think of the No Smoking sign, right? So if you see a sign that looks like that, but WITHOUT the red line across it, I would assume that it means that thing is allowed. Makes sense, right? But no. This sign, below, means “No bicycles allowed”
But THIS sign, below, means No Right Turn.
It’s so inconsistent! It’s killing me! Argh. Obviously I can remember the difference, but it seems like such a good example of BAD informational design.
Okay. My second story is actually funny, I promise. My driving instructor was talking about the kinds of drivers that you have to watch out for: motorcyclists, white delivery vans, and then he said “boy racing”. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, so I asked. He said it was teenage boys who line up their cars on a straight stretch of road, and race down it at really high speeds. I responded “Oh, you mean drag racing!”, and he said “No, not boys in skirts. Just boys. Although sometimes girls do it, too”. And there you have a perfect example of how British English and American English are not really the same language.
Have a good Wednesday! (One week the driving test, BTW. Wish me luck!)