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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Good Morn'
Some board members brought this topic up earlier, so I thought I'd post some challenges I encountered while on Holiday. To put it in perspective, you've sat on a plane for about 10 hours--get off, climb in the passenger side of the car, buckle up and with gas pedal mashed, proceed down the opposite side of the road with dozens of other "foreigners" from the U.S. and other countries who have never done it this way before and drive straight into a circle. It's a flippin' circus--more akin to the bumper car rides at the fair And this is before you've even left the airport grounds! If you make through that you've passed the first test..

You recognize the marques of the cars around you but have never seen them before. Galaxies are SUV's like the explorer and MG's are the look and size of a Ford Taurus. Most use their blinkers (turn sigs.) and give fair warning. Four way crossings are rare with roundabouts (traffic circles) everywhere with few traffic lights or caution blinkers at them. Instead they have brake markers like at the track--300 yards, 200 yards, 100 yards then brake or merge at the circle.. The speeds and limits are somewhat harrowing at times, with small villages having 50 mph speeds through them on roads which would qualify as a big driveway over here. In areas the speed drops to forty, but the road narrows to one and a half lanes. In a bus I was on the driver turned down one of these narrow roads and an on-coming car had to literally pull into a drive-way to make room. Nobody is foolish enough to play "chicken" with a double-decker and most are polite about giving way..

The locals are something else again--case in point: I was zipping through the twisties' in a Vauxhall (kinda' like a poor man's Audi) at a reasonable clip when a young lass (20's-30's) came behind. You can lose your license for tail-gating so that's not an issue. You pick it up a bit (at this point your just over the speed limit) and she still hangs on. To get to the point, I was two thirds into rallye mode before she up and passes! Somewhat humbling.70 mph is the norm in the "crawl lane" and they don't make reference to a fast lane. There is very little notice of your lane ending so running along-side buses, lorries and four-wheel-steer trucks at 80 mph and running out of road creates quite the pucker factor.

Passing on the left is not permitted and most everyone obeys the law and thankfully moves over early. Motorbikes straddle lanes in heavy traffic and pass at speed--oddly no one seems to mind. It's very scary looking out the wing mirror and seeing one come up. Another one that will stay with me was when another woman--this one old enough to be my Nanna, driving an Alfa Lusso wisked by me on an "M" road (Super highway) at 130+ while my foot was on the floor and running better than 125.

There was a bloke in a new Ferrari Stradale-Competzeone' runnning full-out up and down a side street in London for several minutes--a great show, and I saw my first Enzo up-close but parked . The fastest cars I saw running was a Porsche Turbo screaming away from a seriously tuned VW Polo (Golf) with the V-dub pullin' 60+ through the roundabout. I'm sure the Porsche was well north of 150 mph. There is quite a few F&F style cars but few posers--with loud booming stereo's, giant wings and off-set wheels being a rarity. These guys are about subdued body-work with full bore motors and forced induction the entry fee to play in this league You have to know how to drive well over there or you'll be killed.

Getting your permit requires a lengthy study and very hard tests. If you fail you can relax for a year or so. There is no radar or manned speed traps but speed cameras are becoming more common. People really obey the speed limit in these zones--not even 2 mph over. Fines are very high. I know firsthand--On a side street in a local parking zone (albeit locally restricted), after unloading my luggage in the hotel front room--I swear in less than two minutes, I found a parking ticket on the windscreen--One Hundred Dollars--Pay within two weeks or double it--Pay within a month or it's Five Hundred. After that it's the boot and loss of license. A small fee though, for all the enjoyment I had.
Happy Motoring.....
 

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The coolest thing I saw when I was in London a few years back was a tow truck with a crane on it removing an illegally parked car. It just plucked the thing vertically from the tight spot it was in and plopped it on its flatbed trailer. Took less than 5 minutes.
 

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I can remember this like it happened yesterday -- flew to Germany with my Mom in 1979 (she is originally from there). My uncle picks up up at the airport (Stuttgart or Frankfurt, I forget) and we end up on the Autobahn going back to my Grandmother's house.

It is raining quite heavy. My uncle is wheeling a German version of a Ford Torino and we are going about 90 mph -- pretty impressive when you are 11 years old at the time. All of a sudden I hear this roar for a split second and that classic tapering-off shriek of a high perf. engine and it blows past you. In the mist and spray created as we got our doors blown off, I was able to make out "Carrera" between the taillights before it disappeared up the road in the mist . . .

What a cool memory for my first encounter with a P-911.

'Doba
 

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Winding through the hills in St Thomas, coming back from shore patrol late at night, cruising steadily in the right hand lane in the ship's van. Next thing you know, coming around a curve and suddenly wondering "What the heck is that bozo doing in MY lane...?"
 

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Thanks for the read. I have only been off the mainland twice, so I'm living my opposite side of the road driveing thru you. I have driven those LLV's the post office has so I know right hand drive but not on the wrong side of the road.
 

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AfxToo said:
Winding through the hills in St Thomas, coming back from shore patrol late at night, cruising steadily in the right hand lane in the ship's van. Next thing you know, coming around a curve and suddenly wondering "What the heck is that bozo doing in MY lane...?"
Hey, I was on that road too, had that same experience. Never thought about being in the wrong lane until I saw the oncoming vehicle and had an Oh S*** flashback to reality and got over. What was really funny, is that not one passenger in the car thought about the lane issue until they saw the other car coming too. :eek: rr
 

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When you're driving a left-hand steering car on a left-hand oriented road for the first time things can get mighty dicey real quick.
 
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