Traffic

Traffic in London is fairly well-mannered compared to some cities I’ve seen. There’s none of the frantic jockeying for position you see in Rome, for instance. It’s basic big city traffic, with perhaps a touch more restraint. My impression may be influenced by the fact that I really haven’t seen any traffic outside central city so far. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the driving on the left concept. I have to consciously think about which way to look whenever I approach an intersection and sometimes if I can’t figure it out in time I end up looking like I’m watching a tennis match. I haven’t come across any truly large intersections to date, so it hasn’t been a problem though.

They do have this interesting crossing that will appear in the middle of a street sometimes. I heard a professor refer to it as a “zebra crossing” and you can see an example in this picture I borrowed. Amazingly enough, that’s its actual name. The globes on the tops of the black and white poles shine off and on, although it can be hard to see in the daytime.

My understanding is that if you are standing on the sidewalk at the entry to this type of crossing, the traffic must stop and yield to pedestrians. Before I read that, I just thought London had a lot of really considerate drivers.

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One Response

  1. Of course, one might say that obeying the law indicates that they are in fact considerate. I’ve been in plenty of countries where laws of the road are simply ignored (and a few where I don’t think they have any laws, which is exceedingly inconsiderate).

    Having gone back and fourth between left- and right-side driving a number of times, be advised that, when you return to the U.S., driving on the right will not simply come back to you. You’ll have a few days where you have to work as hard as you do now to stay on the left. By this point in my life, I’m always questioning if I’m in the right place — and I definitely look both ways before crossing.

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