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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cornwall: Driving

I feel as though I should address the driving situation, even though I barely got any pictures, because I was usually too busy navigating.    I should first say that there are a lot of roundabouts in England.    So a lot of navigating involves spotting the warning signs so you can tell the driver which exit of the roundabout to take.    And in the larger roundabouts, that involves telling them which lane to get into.

So, around London are motorways, and they're pretty similar to any highway you'd experience in the US.    Where things get interesting is outside of the cities.    Notice the road above.   See how the hedges come up pretty much to the edge of the road?    First point: these hedges are not short.    They're easily ten foot tall in places.    Second point: this is an A road.    This is the main drag in a lot of places.    Cornwall has a few stretches of what they call dual carriageway roads, which is what a lot of the main routes around here that aren't interstates look like.    But the A roads with some regularity will cross single lane bridges, or features that you just don't find in major roads here the States.    County roads, sure.    But definitely not a numbered road that lots of people use to get from point A to point B.


Here's another typical view.   See the trees.   See how close they are to the road?    If you look really close, you'll also see that they eventually form a tunnel over the road.     That's another thing that doesn't happen over here - we lop trees off at the road line.   It's not pretty, but you have to, especially since I live in snow country, and you need to remove that danger from overhanging the road.

One thing I noticed a day or so into the trip is that I was almost always leaning inward.    I was in the seat I'm very comfortable in if I'm driving the car.    But when you're not the one doing the driving, and you know you have no control, and the spacing is so much different than what you're used to, it's definitely a unique experience.   I apologized up front, because I knew there were going to be a few times when instinct would over ride the fact that I knew we wouldn't actually hit a hedge, and I'd end up ducking, or making some sort of surprised/horrified noise.

So, I'd say don't drive in England if you're not a confident driver.     My sister is used to LA traffic, and it was definitely a learning curve for her.    I think if you like driving, you'll end up having fun, but if you're not the kind of person that enjoys driving, you will make yourself miserable.    England has great public transport, so take advantage of that instead.

4 comments:

Jenn said...

Yeah. I had to take Ativan as a PASSENGER for driving over there!! Ok, granted, it was for our drive from Oxford to Heathrow so I was already wigging out for the flight, but still! Had I had extra, I so would have taken it for other drives! Paul did an admirable job as driver, though, despite my hysterics ;)

Megan said...

I did end up mostly enjoying it as a passenger (P and I have been known to travel random country roads around here for fun, so it's not too far from that), but I know I would not have been able to hack it for a full week driving.

Jenn said...

I think if there had been either wider roads or few rotaries, I would have been calmer! But the two together - and being on the wrong side, which REALLY threw me off as a passenger - I was a mess! :)

I'm all for country roads, but at least the narrow ones here aren't boxed in my hedges - you can pull over - you'll end up in a field or a ditch, but you can! ;)

Megan said...

Definitely. I needed that reminder that even our shoulderless roads over here aren't really that bad in the grand scheme of things...