Driving On The Wrong Side (The Night I Got It)

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So, as some of you already know, I’m back from a little trip in the UK, where other than enjoy a really nice place, I had the opportunity to experience driving on the wrong side of the road. Or the right side, it depends on your point of view. But since in the UK you’re supposed to keep the left, I can’t calling it the right side, can I?! I’m calling it the wrong side, right?! I mean the left is wrong, right?! Left?! Well, you got it, right?! Just kidding. Point is, I have a new story to tell about it.

Okay, maybe I thought it was a bigger deal than it actually is. Now I can tell you, driving in the UK isn’t that bad at all. Obviously it takes some time to get used to it, but in my case it didn’t take long. By the end of my second day across the UK roads, I was very comfortable driving my brand new electric blue Fiat 500. Piece of cake. It didn’t start that way though.

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As soon as I got in the car at the airport, after I arrived, I knew I had to take my time. So I took my five minutes to sit comfortably, set my phone as a navigation system, adjust my seat and the rear mirrors. Once I felt ready, I turned the engine on, and off I went. Well, I’m telling you. It wasn’t a nice beginning.

Still trying to understand how the hell I had to drive that thing, right after exiting the car park, the first roundabout turned out to be a first big challenge. I mean, a new kind of driving, a car with the seats messed up, the darkness and a roundabout, aren’t the best way to get comfortable in a new situation, are they?! That’s why I kind of got stuck in front of it, trying to decide the direction I had to take.

What I mean is that I knew I had to turn left, but seeing nobody in front of me doing it, and years of right turns at roundabouts in my background, made it hard to convince myself that it was the right direction to take. While I was fighting this internal war in my head, the driver that was following me, must have thought he was behind a narcoleptic guy who chose that moment to fall asleep in the middle of the road, and decided to wake me up honking his horn. It worked, and I finally took the chance and made it past the roundabout.

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See, now I thought I was cool, I was in. I thought, pay just some attention and you’ll be fine. Until I realised there were works in progress all along the road from the airport to Nottingham. And I mean it. All of it. Twentyfive kilometers of works. That, or here in the UK the roads are made of cones. That’s what the road was that night. A cones road. Cones everywhere, road interrupted, change of lane and nobody nowhere to be seen.

All this, made me wonder another time if I was going the right direction. Hell, for a couple of minutes I was really afraid, and fairly certain, I was fucking not. Bottom line, I felt kind of fuckued up. Finally a car ahead of me cleared my thoughts about it. Up ahead in the distance I saw its headlights, and after a frightening moment while I thought it was on my same lane, I saw it passing me, and as strange as it might seem to me, it looked like I was doing all right.

I just got a little extra odd feeling when I got on the streets of the Nottingham city center, but all in all it looked like I could manage pretty good. Then I finally made it to my hostel.

So that was my little adventure right at the beginning of my trip. But like I said, it didn’t take long for me to get used to the driving. I actually had fun driving through the Midlands Country.

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I drove to Derby the day after, where I had lunch, and to Sheffield on Saturday, and didn’t have a problem. It was nice though, to see so many yellow rapeseed fields all along the roads. Unfortunately I don’t have any picture shot while I was driving. For starters I was using my smartphone as a navigator, then I don’t think it’s a good idea taking pictures while driving. Specially when you have to pay a lot more attention because you’re not that used to this different kind of driving.

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Then the pictures I shot are all taken during my coffee breaks along the way. Which I loved by the way. Sometimes I think a good hot american coffee and a good smoke, are the best way to break your road trip. That, or like I said before in some of my posts, I love gas stations because I see too many movies. A lot of things happen at the gas stations in the movies. Yeah, that’s it. The movies and my superstar attitude. Whatever.

John Reese

Marginal Notes

* I did not mention that, even though I was fully aware I was not at the bowling, that night I hit one cone. Good bump, several swear words, no damage observed.

** I did not mention, that same night, as soon as arrived at the hostel, pulling over I hit the sidewalk on my left. Other swear words dispensed, a little scratch on the rim wheel observed.

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About Gianluca8675

I'm an Atypical Italian Traveler, born and raised in Rome. View all posts by Gianluca8675

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