I should start by saying that Matthew and I don't have one of these lovely Minis....yet. Perhaps driving or motoring would be a bit better if I was cruising around in one. For the record we have a lovely blue manual Astra that has been very good to us.
It is very strange not be able to do something that you used to be able to do without thinking. Driving in London is certainally an experience. I have been thinking about getting my license over here. We don't really do too much driving in London, but we go out of town and around England. It would be nice if I knew how to drive so Matthew wouldn't have to do all of it.
I have driven a bit in the UK. I drove down to the gym twice now and I did a bit of driving on the motorway up to Scotland.
The experience so far has been stressful and a bit frightening. I am not very good at judging the distance between the car and the curb, or other cars on the left. The times I have been out in the car I tend to over correct and drive in the middle of the road. In case Matthew is reading, I only do that on residential streets not on the Uxbridge Road.
It's a very strange feeling to feel unfamiliar behind the wheel of a car. I've been driving since I was 17 years old. Getting oriented, working the shifter with my left hand, trying to make sure I don't scrape any parked cars, not being sure the rules of the road, fearing the other crazy drivers. It's a lot to think about.
Let's also not forget the CCTV traffic cameras. I was driving with Matthew one day and we were coming back from the gym. The gym by the way is only about a mile away. Here's the route I take to get there. The main Uxbridge Road is a pretty busy main road.
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So I was driving us back and I accidentally went into the bus lane for a second and it was caught on the camera and a ticket showed up in the mail a few days later. That's a bit unnerving! I could make a slight mistake and it would mean an instant ticket without being pulled over.
I took two driving lessons a few months back. That was ok. I just drove around and the kindly old man told me where to turn and this and that. What I really need to do is get a handbook and learn the rules of the road. Most of the traffic markings are on the road instead of signs. You have to know first where to look and what you are looking for.
I drove myself down to the gym yesterday and it's so funny. I sit in the car and drive, slowly, and give myself positive reinforcement. I say things like, Rhea you are a good driver, You know how to control the car, You have never been in an accident. I do it to calm myself and it works to some extent. It will just take practice. It would be nice to have an automatic so I would have to think about all the shifting. I think when our Astra gives out we'll get an automatic.
Slowly, but surely I am learning and mastering my fear. I also thought that driving on the motorway would be easy, but that is very different than driving on the freeway in the US. On the way up to Scotland there are three lanes and you constantly changing lanes with the flow of traffic. It's not like cruising along on 94 and maybe passing one or two slow people.
I guess I can only take it one drive at a time.