Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wrong side of the road

After having lived in Ireland for two years (and never found the nerve to hire a car at a Dublin car rental), I was totally bent on taking driving lessons in London: I wanted to be confident driving on what for me is the "wrong side of the road". Two and a half years have gone in London too, and I'm still at the starting point.

Admittedly, London has quite spoilt me: public transports work well and reach every corner of the city, both day and night time, so I've never really felt the need of having a car. However, since I drive when I'm home (I'm not Schumacher, let's say I can get the car move), I wanted to try, at least. But first I needed to learn how to behave as a pedestrian, and this didn't really depend on Dublin driving side.

When I moved to Ireland in 2005, it took me a while to understand where I was supposed to watch before crossing the road. Once, I was crossing a little street on my way to work and the biggest bus I can remember was about to hit me, when two heaven-sent hands grabbed me and kept me on the sidewalk.
Since that day, many times I promised in vain I would have paid extra attention when crossing the road in Dublin. And everywhere else, actually, I think I recall similar events when I lived in Rome, too.

After two years in London, my pedestrian behaviour has remained pretty much inalterated: a couple of times, I risked to be run over by a motorbike. Maybe it's after the last event that I've started being a little more careful on the street. A little, because everything is achieved step by step. 

Again, I was going to work (I could stop this, for a start) and I crossed a road drilled by the ever-present work in progress. Visibility was rather reduced by a bus just on my left, but I darted towards the other side of the road, all the same. Suddenly, I heard a motorbike break: I froze in the middle of the street, looked left, the rider, pale, froze too, for a couple of seconds the traffic stopped. I slowly realised I was still alive and all in one piece so, in a cold sweat, I reached the opposite sidewalk.

I'm not sure when, and if, I'll get used to the wrong side of the road. The good news is that I'll be probably leaving London for good this time, and I'm thinking about heading somewhere where cars keep the "right side".

2 comments:

Ladyexpat (Nancie) said...

I'll be moving to Thailand next year, and have vowed that I will learn to drive on the "wrong side of the road". Like you, though, I need to learn to be a pedestrian first. That's probably the hardest part!

AngelaCorrias said...

Oh in Thailand they have the UK side of the road? Also in Singapore and Hong Kong, I think. Now I got used, well, it's been five years, it was about time! However, I admit, sometimes I'm a terrible pedestrian, I just cross without checking if cars are coming, and this whatever side is the road :-))

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