When Michael suggested that I drive back home after dropping his parents off at an event, and his parents didn’t bat an eyelid at the suggestion, I agreed to my first drive on ‘the wrong side of the road’. This is my take on it:
Driving on the Right
In Malta, we neither drive on the right nor on the left, but we drive in the shade,
I don’t think the above is a fair assessment of driving in Malta, but we do, officially, drive on the left hand side. Add to this the fact that I have driven only very sporadically over the last 3+ years. This means that not only did I need to get back in the motion of driving, but mirror everything my body knows!
Overall I think it went quite well, considering. I did keep on trying to change the gears on the door side, but other than stalling once at the very beginning it went smoothly from there. I was quite worried as to if I would take the right side of the road when joining a new road, but with Michael’s help I had no problems.
There were two other things that struck me while driving. The first is something which has made me think when sitting in the passenger seat. Being in the driver’s seat made it even more important. This is the fact that there are no road lights on most roads, with all the light being provided from the car’s lights.
This is excellent in terms of light pollution, but to someone who is used to driving in well lit roads (mostly within urban areas), it was a bit disconcerting. In particular I struggled to recognise the signs in the middle of the road when a car was coming on the opposite side as the car’s light bathed the sign in too much light. However, as these were always arrows pointing to the side of the road I should stay on, I am sure I will relax about it in the future.
The second issue is the shark teeth at ‘give way’ signs. Michael said, and a brief search on the internet seemed to confirm, that this means that you have to stop. I am not sure I came to a give way sign without shark teeth, but if there are, I wonder what the difference between a normal give way sign, a shark toothed give way sign, and a stop sign actually are.
I thought I did quite well, but Michael did comment on two things when we arrived home. The first is that he thought that I changed gears much quicker than what he would do. However, I felt that my gear changing on the whole was as normal.
He also commented that I never crossed my arms on the steering wheel. I remember being told quite severely during driving lessons that my arms shouldn’t cross, while Michael said that I should cross them when at sharp turns. We are at a bit of an impasse about this. Luckily for us Michael’s sister and her partner were both driving instructors, so we hope to resolve them soon.
Since I wrote this post I have driven a couple more times. Something that has impressed me is how anxious both Michael and his mum got when I am not driving at the maximum speed limit allowed! I’m used to being told that being comfortable is the most important consideration, but in Denmark it seems that driving at the maximum limit overtakes all others.
Photo by Wiki@internezzo.dk