I love and I admire British people and my respect for them has increased a lot since I’ve started driving here. I have noticed, as pedestrian, that the drivers do not use the horns very much, no loud stereo music from cars as you hear everywhere in Romania, no curses. I am sorry to say it, but that’s reality. Here, in UK, I‘ve heard the sound of horns 4 times in a year, how do you find it? To be honestly I honk in traffic in Romania. But I honk because I hate and I get nervous when I see those jerks who don’t wait at a traffic light, those uncivilized drivers trying to bypass the traffic queue although they don’t have an emergency. I am able to hit my car in order not to let them in front of me when I am in a traffic queue. I know I am not the one who could civilize them. In UK I heard loud music from a car only once, but obviously the people in the car were Romanian citizens, the music was gypsy style (manele) and I thought to myself: I have to move from that district as soon as possible; but fortunately they disappeared in the next days.
the road traffic
The traffic and the drivers’ behavior in traffic are different in UK. Everybody follows the rules, they don’t use the bus lane, they wait in line at a traffic light, they don’t bypass a queue and normally, if you are on the wrong lane, as it happens quite often at the beginning, the other drivers let you enter in front. Nobody is in a hurry and they do not use other lanes in order to go faster or to bypass the traffic queue. Those who choose the wrong lane are beginners or people from other countries who are not used with the UK traffic rules and the British drivers help them. Part of the good manners: thanking with a nod, a wave or a flash of the lights.
traffic signs and pavement markings
Everything is well signaled and it is almost impossible to go on the wrong way; it’s hard for us to get used with driving on the other part of the road, it’s hard for us to enter in a roundabout to the left part, to give priority to the left not to the right as we are used to, but everything is so well signaled and marked so it’s almost impossible to go wrong. I am still afraid and a little stressed when I drive my car but I am not alone and my son helps me, he has no stress. It seems so easy for him driving on the left side of the road, he comes with me, but he compels me to drive the car by myself. He drives alone he doesn’t need help. In UK everything is measured in miles, and at the beginning I was wondering how could I drive with 30-40 km/h on a national road? In fact those were miles not kilometers. There are also inches, foot, feet, etc. It is a little complicated for us but passing the time you are getting used with these, harder or easier, up to each one of us.
The taxi drivers are a little bit more aggressive, but not too much, they can’t afford to go over the limits, everybody observes the laws and follows the traffic rules because the risk is great. They will remain without driving license and they won’t be able to work for a certain period of time.
Shall I tell you about roads, highways, ring roads? Useless, we don’t have highways in Romania as they have ring road and we won’t have them ever in the next 2000 years, the rhythm of building a highway in Romania is very slow. And everything is so well organized that you know exactly the way you have to go. In Romania it’s different, on the highway to Constanta there is a place where suddenly you have to do right and you don’t know if it is the way to Constanta via Murfatlar or Harsova or Tulcea, Mamaia…. useless. According to data supplied by the UK Government, in 2012, there were 245000 miles (around 245000 km) of roads, this means a little more than the distance between Earth and Moon (238855 miles). With this I’ve said all.
Parking in UK seems to be a problem but it isn’t. There are a lot of huge parking places, you know from the entrance where you have to go, the level where you can find free places; there are parking places on the street and there are residence parking places, all of them are paid. There are plates informing you where are you allowed to let the car and for how long, usually for maximum 2 hours. British people are not disturbed of walking a few hundred meters, more or less, they observe the rules. Otherwise the fees are very high and you could remain without license for a few months. What do you think? In this way everybody can park his car, nobody is upset, a simple and efficient solution. There are also parking spaces for disabled and they are used only by them. These spaces will never be used by other people as it happens in Romania where some people think they deserve everything in this world, money has the power and education and rules are not for them. We could name them disabled but without medical certificate, it another type of handicap.
Although I am living here for almost 2 years I am still surprised by the calm and the degree of civilization of the British people, thinking that there is no chance for Romanian people to be changed, civilized. Romanian people will be never civilized; it won’t be at the same level with the British people neither in 100 years.
Personally I consider that you don’t have to be afraid of driving in UK, it’s not easy but in the same time not very complicated as it seems to be, you have all the support of the other drivers and thus things become easier.