01 April 2005

Driving an American car

I hope my American friends won't be too offended by this little observation on driving in the USA. Americans are polite, charming, genuine and generous. Occasionally they are loud and demanding. Yet they are always open and talkative. Right now I'll cut to the chase...

When some get behind the wheel of a car things change. The multi-lane highway becomes a lane-hopping video game. The object of this game seems to be to drive at full speed until your lane starts to slow down. Then switch without warning or indication into any lane still moving. Repeat until all lanes are stationary. Now take your foot off the brake and edge forward in lurches to intimidate the driver ahead. Hell I'm in Orlando right now what should I expect?!

My English driving education taught me to make courteous gestures to other road users, wave them out if they are waiting to join the road, leave a sensible distance between me and the next car and drive at or only marginally over the speed limit!

They say "When in Rome do as the Romans do" so from now on I plan to start weaving in and out and using my horn loud and long. I guess I'll fit right in!!

I have a V6 Pontiac Grand Am in bronze. It goes. However I am used to organising my driving all by myself. For now I am having to get used to the following:

Shut door
Buckle up seatbelt
Insert key
Switch on
Engage 'Drive'
Release handbrake
(Lights snap on automatically at dusk)

Any deviation from this rigid schedule results in an electronic chastisement, "ding, ding, ding..." Call me old fashioned but sometimes I like to get going and then put on my seatbelt. Sometimes I release the handbrake before slipping the key in. No chance.. "ding, ding, ding..." This car is so reproachful!!

Anyway my time's running out in the Cyber Shack Cafe and I still need to quote some lyrics without the safety net of my music library. I'm off, Bye!

"I been drivin' all night man sweat on the wheel."
Golden Earring - Radar Love


Grace said...

Take it easy PV, we dont want you bringing any road rage tactics back here! ;-)

doughgirl said...

Perfect I tried to respond yesteray, but it wouldnt let me..lol

Anyway, you have just described to a tee what driving in the US is like. You think its bad in Orlando?? LOL Come to Boston, Ill give you some insight on driving here

1. you must have a dent in your car, even if its brand new, if not, you will by the time you leave.

2. you must drive as fast as possible even if you dont know where youre going so as to be going fast enough to cut someone off at the las tminute before you miss the exit you neeed.

3. Ignore the one way signs and justify it by saying, I am only going one way..lol

4. Park anywhere you want, double park and take p the whole road if you like...its ok, just do it

Now remember, you can olny do that here and you must behave when you go home...enjoy your vacation :) and thanks for taking time to check in on us !!

Perfect Virgo said...

Grace - Found a Kinkos public internet access place near Univ of Central Florida! Road rage is great when you get the hang of it. I have started to calm down just a little. I am still not speaking very much though.

Mrs virgo hasn't a clue about maps or east and west so I drive everywhere with a map on my knee and perform regular emergency stops. See why I'm tense? Much more on that when i'm home.

Doughgirl - Boston sounds scary! I love the rules you set out for me!! They are frighteningly accurate. One you forgot to mention is that the engine does not even start on some cars unless the driver has a cell phone clamped to their ear!

And another thing, how come the car only does about 18 miles to the gallon? My Ford at home does at least 35! But then gas in the UK costs $7.00 a gallon!