Monday, August 18, 2008

The Irish should LOOK OUT!

Another American is on the road! Well, sort of. I did lots of practicing yesterday and I think I'm getting the hang of it. From what I understand, Americans can drive for 12 months from day of arrival as long as they are insured on the vehicle. I have decided to become official, though, so I've started studying for the theory piece of the test, which is all multiple choice. A co-worker gave me a practice CD and said that the questions on the test were the exact same. The database of questions could be as large as 2,000 but you are only asked a random sample of 40 for the actual test. The yuck part is that you have to get 35 out of 40 right - sheesh!

Now, I think I've been driving for something like 19 years (eek) so I'm thinking nooooo worries here. But that is not so. There are lots of signs that I have never seen before - maybe I just wasn't paying attention enough. A few examples:
This one looks very straight forward and we have these in the US, but I think that the ones here are just a little different. The sign is indicating that there is a junction up ahead, but the difference is that the road at the junction is thinner in width than the main road. Therefore, the wider road indicates the dominant road. If that's the way it is in the US as well, then I never noticed it.

We have cattle crossing and deer crossing signs. They do as well, but they also have sheep crossing. Makes total sense!

Island pooping? Ah! Falling rocks.
Look out for bees butts? No no - dangerous winds.

I got this one on my practice test and could only come up with railroad crossing of some sort. But the actual answer is "Level crossing ahead, unguarded by gates or lifting barrier." Oookay - if you say so!

One of the multiple choice answers for this one above was "cathedral up ahead". Ok, I know that I have some to learn, but come on now - I'm not that dumb.

The ever important, self-explanatory one (kind of hard to see - says "Drive on Left"):

I think this one reads, "OH SH*T!!"

And then there are the funny fun fun roundabouts. The important thing is to indicate (or use your blinker in US terms) at the right time. When you're entering, if you put on your left blinker right away, then that means that you are going to take the first exit to the left. In this case you should also be in the left lane. If you are planning on taking the second exit, then you have to put on your left blinker after the first exit and before the second. There's not much time. I'm thinking you'd have to be in the left lane as well - and maybe the right depending on how big the roundabout is. To take the third exit, you should be in the right lane (or maybe left) and also indicate right before it. So you are basically putting your left blinker on as your turning the car right. It's awkward. Very awkward.

So that's all of the driving lessons that I have for today. Now you're all ready for the left side of the road! Now if I could only stop reaching for the gear shift on my right when I'm in the car - I'll break the habit right before I go home for Thanksgiving and start driving there. :)

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