One of the difficulties of living in a country where they drive on the other side of the road is remembering which way to look for oncoming traffic. Of course, you look both ways, but when you cross into the middle, you need to know which side to watch. I am starting to adjust. However, my problem now is always remembering “the other side of the road”.
When I first came here, I used to remind myself that I have to look the opposite way that I was used to. I have become adjusted to being a passenger on the left side and seeing cars going down the left side of the road. However, that reminder still pops into my head, and now it’s gotten to the point where I am looking to the opposite of the opposite and I have to stop and really think it through. It becomes very frustrating, especially because sometimes you have a very narrow opportunity for crossing the road. (Though most places have crosswalks, sometimes it’s too far out of your way to cross there.)
I don’t know when I’ll have adjusted enough to just take it for granted that I am looking in the right direction. Sometimes, I see people, whom I consider natives, who make the same mistakes. Of course, they might also be foreigners, or they might just be careless/forgetful.
It’s taken almost a year for me to get to this point. And I’m not even driving. It’s so appropriate that I bring up this topic today because the people of Samoa are about to experience what I’ve experienced this past year. Only, they will all experience it collectively and will have to adjust in a shorter time period.
The people in Samoa have to make the switch from right-hand driving to left-hand driving in one day – today. They will have a two-day holiday to get people adjusted. Some critics are complaining about the lack of preparation, with the roads (not to mention the people) not being ready for the change, and the resultant increase in car crashes. I really feel for them. I can’t imagine what would happen if the UK were to ever decide to switch like that. Since Samoa is many hours ahead of us, I wonder how things went over there today.