After 3 days on the left hand side of the road and the right hand side of the car, I am driving like a modern day Enzo Ferrari: slingshoting around tight corners, drafting behind fast-moving locals and passing two cars in a single burst of light speed. This is fun and I want to do more of it! Unfortunately Rick is in a near coma from anti-anxiety medication. Hey, I can’t solve for everything!
The key to getting comfortable driving here is simple but revolutionary: drivers in Scotland look out for one another. Example: the roads are impossibly narrow, so drivers expect that someone turning onto the street may nudge into the oncoming lane a bit. They slow down and accommodate other cars. What a concept! Scottish drivers have evolved without the sense of entitlement that every American driver is born with. You know what I’m talking about: “This is my road, I was here first, how dare you do anything that requires me to lift a toe from the accelerator or alter my trajectory by an inch!” I am just as guilty as the average American driver, taking a sick sense of justice from riding the rear bumper of anyone foolish enough to turn into “my” lane.
I probably don’t need to tell you driving this way is SO MUCH nicer! Instead of feeling like a jerk (albeit “justified”), you feel like a caring member of a community. All that pay it forward crap. When I make it back to the States, I am going to try very hard to implement this driving philosophy. After all, a 30 second driving delay is not worth elevating my blood pressure, which equates to shortening my lifespan by 5 minutes.
Here are a few new funnies about driving in Scotland that we’ve discovered since I last posted:
In Scotland they have what are called “single track” roads. This is where a road is only wide enough for a single car going in a single direction, but the road is open to two-way traffic. Red that again – there is no typo. Every 25-50 yards there is a tiny pregnant bump on the edge of the road where one car is expected to pull over so the oncoming car can pass. I always realized I was headed toward a head-on collision exactly half-way from the last “passing area. This meant one of us had to reverse (on a tiny, narrow single lane road) for 50 yards.
This was thrilling for a couple of reasons:
- It is a legally sanctioned game of chicken!
- I get to reverse at relatively rapid speeds without looking like an idiot!
- It is totally fun to drive really fast on tiny, twisty roads!
- The scenery was INCREDIBLE.
I will admit, I did not have the cojones to take many pictures on these roads, but I did just google single track roads. Every image was in Scotland. They must be the only folks crazy enough to institutionalize this!
I do think driving in Scotland is the only way to see the incredible scenery. So, if you don’t have an ex-Special Ops friend, get yourself a pair of driving gloves, and buckle up. Trust me, after a couple of days it will be old hat!