There are a great many differences between driving in the US and driving in the UK, as I have been keen to notice over the last few months.  The singlemost striking difference is sitting on the other side of the vehicle as driver (right hand drive vehicles) and being on the other side of the road.  It is that first few weeks of transition that can be found most nerve-wracking and require focused concentration at all times.  And most Americans or non-UK drivers can likely recount at least one tale of how they involuntarily lapsed in to previous habits.  (I was the target of some odd and steely looks as I drove the entire length of Windsor High Street on the wrong – the right! - side of the road.)

For about 3 weeks, until I consciously sought to correct the behavior, I found that I “hugged” the kerb side (left side) of most lanes and roads I drove on.  I think this was linked to my brain correcting for where it thought I should be in relation to the middle of the lane/road.

Since you sit on the other side of the car, in many UK market cars the levers on the steering column to operate signals/indicators and windscreen wipers don’t always correspond to where they are in cars made for the American market.  Signalling at the first sight of rain, or turning on the wipers before turning left were a regular occurrence.   (“Didn’t he see I was turning left?  My wipers were clearly on!“  I joked to myself beneath a crescendo of honks as I cut across two lanes to exit at a roundabout.)

Anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was the Romans who built roads in the US and not the UK.  Roman roads were renowned for being straight, but it seems when they left the UK they took their roads with them.  Modern road building seems to been executed using the McCartney method leading to a lot of swaying and bumping.


Britain is renowned for its beautiful countryside and quaint villages. We love to explore the various surrounding small towns and villages. As we are driving down a highway, a sign pointing to an unexplored town will tempt us to turn off the main road to discover a hidden part of this wonderful island. However, the driving can be quite exhausting, most especially for the driver.

I do not refer to the fact that we are getting tired of exploring. Oh, no, not that. It is simply that when we turn off the highway, the sign will tell us that the village is 3 miles down the road. After winding around for a few miles, we think we have lost our way, when another sign announces that we are heading in the correct direction and the village is now only 2 miles away. After going through some more winding streets, we come to a turn. If you go right, the village is another 2 miles. Two miles?!! Yes, that’s right. Another two miles.

It’s part of the British sense of humour, you see. Miles stated on signs are “as the crow flies” on a good day, but the actual route taken is that of a drunken crow trying to make it to its destination without a crash landing. Unlike the US, you cannot get from point A to point B with a straight line. You must twist and turn until you are completely exhausted from holding on to the steering wheel. As a passenger, you are thrown back and forth against your door as you anxiously anticipate seeing your quaint little village, only to find that it keeps getting further and further away. It is like going through a huge maze just to get to your destination. The British roads are so unique that I think they need to come up with their own distinct definition for the British Mile.