Three Random Things - 29 October

When people hear that we're living in England, inevitably one of the first questions we're asked is about the difficulty in driving in a country that drives opposite of the US. It's actually not too hard - the first day was certainly a white knuckle experience, but you figure it out quickly. For this week's edition of 3 random things, I thought I'd introduce you to three random driving related things.

1) Roundabouts

Without question, the most challenging part of learning to drive here is dealing with the roundabouts. Not because they are hard - they actually are awesome - but because we hardly have them in the US and it's a new skill to learn. Because of well designed roundabouts, it's actually possible for us to drive from our house to London, over an hour away, without hitting a single stoplight! To help you navigate the more complicated roundabouts, where there could be 4+ exits, you have these signs before you enter. While lovely, my complaint is that they don't always indicate the cardinal direction you are heading, and it's easy to get turned around when driving in a circle!

2) Speed Limits

If I asked you what this sign meant, you'd probably say it was a "do not _____" sign. With the big slash across the face, it certainly seems to carry a negative connotation! In fact, it's the sign for the national speed limit in effect. What is that? On single lane country roads, that is 60MPH, while it's 70MPH on highways. So when you see this sign, it means the speed limit is 70MPH. Right.... they could have used a better sign designer!

3) Speed Cameras

You hardly see any speed traps manned by a police officer here, because they rely on a huge network of thousands of speed cameras to automatically catch and ticket speeders. The cameras, which look like this one, snap a photo of your front plate as you wiz past and they mail you a ticket automagically. Some of the cameras are extra tricky - they measure your speed over a certain distance and send you a ticket if your average speed is too high, meaning you can't slow just at the camera and then hit the gas. They also have mobile speed camera trucks they park on the roads to catch speeders. The good news is that they warn you where these cameras exist - our satellite GPS even flashes up a warning, so there really is no excuse for getting caught.