Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Driving in the US

The most obvious difference is that they drive on the right side (or should that be 'wrong'). The steering wheel is also on the wrong, sorry 'other', side. However the accelerator and break pedals stay the right way round which is a relief and you don't have to worry about a clutch, you can't hire a manual (stick) car over here. BTW that's not our car, sorry to say.

There are one or two other differences to contend with. At a red light you can turn right, in fact you are actively encouraged to do so by the car behind!

Another quirk is the 4 way stop sign, seen at many crossroads. This means everyone stops with no apparent priority. This turns it into a game of chicken, although being used to the manic roads in the UK I was quite good at this game.
Just to keep us foreigners on our toes I also saw these crossroads signed '3-way' and 'all way'.

Now here is another game of chicken I wasn't so keen on, the railway crossing. They only have two small barriers that come down, one on each side, leaving plenty of room to ignore the barriers and shoot straight through. There were lots of cars playing this game (not me) although when I saw the length of the trains I could understand why they were taking the risk.

On the plus side, the petrol (sorry 'gas') was very cheap, about a third of the price of the UK (I'm not sure which vehicles run on the 'skim milk'). Still it's good to know our onerous government taxes are being well spent on the healthcare, education and welfare of anyone and everyone who wants to come into the UK.

No doubt the low fuel costs explain why there were so many gorgeous burbling V8's on the road. These UV's were everywhere.

If I was going to buy a US car (and I might) it would be one of these. A retro styled Dodge Challenger R/T with a 5.7 litre V8 Hemi engine, chucking out 375 bhp.
Nice number plate.

I came on this trip with my son and for two days we had great fun on an altogether more sedate and more environmentally friendly mode of transport.
Back to the UK in the morning.


  1. Can't tell if you are joking about 4-way stop signs, but just in case... You go in order in which you came to the stop sign. If multiple vehicles arrived at about the same time, you yield to vehicle on your right.

    1. It was great chatting with you on Friday, David. I hope you had a great trip and will come again next time.

      Tom Colligan

    2. All-way stops pretty much have three rules. Two of those “obstacle” mentioned. The third, excerpted from my province's—in Canada—driver’s manual but which should be applicable in the States, is:

      "If two vehicles are facing each other and have arrived at the intersection at about the same time, the one making a left turn should yield to the one going straight through."

    3. Yes we did work it out thank you, it's just different from the UK. All the best, David.

  2. Fun to hear your perspective on the American driving experience.

    And, for the record, we Americans love to complain about our gasoline prices even though it's several times cheaper than what you pay back home!

    Safe travels back home and hope you had a lovely time here in the States.

    1. Thanks Kevin, we had a great time. All the best, David.

  3. No, that’s the right side of the road as in right and left. I can’t speak for Americans but here in Canada you rarely hear people saying that people in England and other such countries drive on the “wrong side of the road”. It’s “left side” or “other side”.

    It seem that left-siders are more like use think in terms of right and wrong when it comes driving sides whether it be the road, the steering wheel, or the pedals.

    1. My comments were made in a very light hearted way and meant to be taken so. I enjoyed driving in the US, drivers are much more polite than in the UK and there are no traffic jams! All the best, David.

  4. just note, the US gallon is also 20% smaller. Remember 'a pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter'? er., not in america, it's 16oz