It’s strange, really. I move to England and begin the process of getting a driving licence here after being here a year. I’ve been driving for just over 10 years. And yet somehow it’s like I don’t know how to drive again.

It isn’t like I’m not used to being in a car behind the wheel. And sure, it’s taken me awhile to get used to being on the left side of the road and on the right side of the car. Yes, I’m still getting used to driving a manual transmission as well.

Image Credit: chuckoutrearseats

The whole process of getting a driving licence in this country has in fact made me feel like I don’t know how to drive. I’m getting better at it. Last week my instructor deliberately took me down a lot of the really narrow streets in Carlisle so I could get used to where the rest of the car was in relation to where I’m sitting. (You’d have to see the narrow two-way roads with cars parked on either side to really understand why I struggle with this.) Apparently I finally did well enough that he’s going to give me a practice test this week! Woo-hoo!

On Thursday last week, I took the written portion of my driving test. It consists of 50 questions about the rules of the road and a case study to see what you would do in that situation. Thankfully, I passed! I also had to take a “hazard perception” in which I watched videos to identify the hazards. This has to be the hardest part of the process so far… having driven for so long already, I see hazards but don’t really think of them as hazards until it’s too late. I also figured out that my American driving habits don’t always help either.

People in the UK in general drive a lot safer than people in the US. It’s incredible that all these safety rules of the road actually help prevent incidents on the road. I don’t think there are nearly as many incidents here as there are in the US when it comes to driving because people are taught to be safe drivers! I guess that’s one advantage to learning how to drive “again”—I can learn how to drive safely and how to drive in the UK because it is different here.

Things are closer together here, so incidents could happen really fast if I don’t pay attention. There’s a lot more traffic on the road in this small-ish area. I have to worry about pedestrians and cyclists more than I ever did in the US. Because of all this, I’ve been learning how to drive more intuitively than I ever have. It’s still kind of a strange concept to me, but it’s good because I’m learning how to drive in the UK… not learning how to drive all over again.