2 Weeks and 3500 miles. After getting my BMW diesel automatic (thank God) with built-in Navigation, I was following instructions out of the city to our first hotel near Bedford. It would have been very difficult without the calm English-accented woman in the Navigation computer calmly warning of which roundabout exit to take, and which roads to follow.
I got used to the left-sided driving fairly quickly. It was the roads, and the driving habits that made me exhausted…..
The smaller highways sometimes have curbs! no shoulders, no warning tracks….just jolt when you bump the curb at 60 mph. Country roads should have shoulders, not curbs.
Once off the major highways, most of the roads are winding the countryside. Again, no shoulders, and occasional curbs. At best there is a 6 to 15 foot hedge row that blocks any chance of seeing anything ahead. Worse case: a 5 foot high solid rock wall that has been there for 1,000 years. Sometimes the road is wide enough to paint lines. You have about 6 inches leeway on each side of your car. When a bus comes around the corner at 45 mph and you see his tires over that white line….you pray that your left front end is not going to kiss the rock as you swerve that way. For some reason, I noticed that shifting your whole body and twisting away to the opposite side while squinting and briefly glancing away at the possible moment of impact seems to help.
Polperro has very narrow and steep streets.
The little village of Polperro on the southwest coast prefers you park outside the village and walk in. Click here to see why.
Typical’ “2-lane” country road, not much of a shoulder!
Other times there are no lines. This is bad. It means the road is not wide enough for two vehicles. That doesn’t sleep to slow down the country buses and trucks. There are pullouts for long stretches, but for a short stretch of single lane road it is a squeeze play….and again pray. Check out a video here.
Parking is allowed with cars facing either direction. It’s not uncommon to suddenly see an oncoming car cross the lane directly in front of you to swing into a parking spot on your side. Freaked me out. And, because there are no shoulders or any extra room on the roads, even in towns…people just park on the road. Not off to the side (there is no side), just right on the road.
On the M-highways….things are great. 3-4 lanes each direction with great lane etiquette No one cruising in the fast line at 55 mph. Immediately after passing anyone in any lane the cars go right back into the lane they were in. I could set the cruise control for 85, and still get passed by the occasional drivers doing 100, or more.