Drive Me, Drive You, Drive Anywhere

Why do we fall in to certain driving habits? I realized after Brian got here over a week ago that we’ve switched rolls.

In Brazil, he drove. Actually I wasn’t really supposed to drive the company car, but I was completely capable of navigating the crazy anarchy of the traffic. I played designated driver a few times and drove home after parties and had no problem. I also occasionally borrowed a friend’s car to run errands. I could squeeze my way through narrow roads, narrow spaces between cars and into narrow parking spaces with no problem, and dodge the crazy traffic, but no matter which car we were in I usually defaulted to the passenger seat. I felt totally confident in Brian’s driving and had no need to hop behind the wheel.

Brazilian roads

He loves the wind in his hair. Oh, wait.

Here in the US, I drive. Maybe the biggest reason is that I love our Jeep? Maybe I just feel really comfortable driving on my own home turf? I just feel really comfortable in the driver’s seat and a bit out of control in the passenger seat. Clearly, Brian is a good driver. If he could drive in Brazil for four years without an accident, even in the streets of Rio, then obviously he’s capable, but here he makes me nervous. Maybe the aggression he had to use in Brazil has leaked into his American driving. Maybe that’s just my perception, but I don’t like it. I want to be behind the wheel, and I usually am. When we’re here, we both seem to automatically assume that I’ll drive, and he’ll play with the radio.

Driving my son's foot across the country

In Scotland, Brian drives. I am totally sure that the main reason is that they drive on the wrong side of the road and that freaks me out. He’s happy as a clam on the wrong side of the car, and the wrong side of the road. It’s that feeling of being home. For a man who’s been away from home for nearly twelve years, that’s a pretty good feeling.

For a woman who is firmly entrenched in driving on the right side of the road, that’s just not ok.

Happy driver

Totally happy to be driving 'at home'

I’m going to have to learn. I’m going to have to rewire my brain and fight off the panic attack that comes with feeling like I’m driving straight into oncoming traffic. I’m going to have to learn how to turn right and turn left all over again. What lane am I supposed to be in? Oops.

I’m certain my first big roundabout is going to give me a stroke.

I also think I’m going to get very good at taking the bus.

Who drives when you’re traveling?

When you’re home?

Any tips for this soon-to-be new UK driver?

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About akil3655

A Scotsman and his American photographer wife traveling the world and writing about it. Tales, reviews, photos, interviews and crazy goings on. Because you never know what's going to happen.

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14 Responses to Drive Me, Drive You, Drive Anywhere

  1. Angela
    Twitter: Acook2121
    May 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    No.1 tip for a USA driver soon to be UK driver is It is not ok to turn left, right or any direction on a red light, red light means Stop until light is green then go on your way, one rule I wish we had in UK, I love the turn right on a red light rule here in USA. Oh and Mr Cook has plenty funny stories about Brians drivin when he first hit american shores, we need to get them together again for a whiskey infused reminising session soon :) have fun driving in the wide open spaces of america, your about to hit curvy, winding, hilly roads that need an iron foot to climb and an iron foot on the break coming back down, lol

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      May 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Angela! I might have assumed I could go on a red. Oops!
      Can’t wait to hear about Brian’s driving stories! He, of course, lets on that he took to it easily. lol

      • akil3655
        Twitter: kiltandacamera
        May 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

        Oh, and I can’t wait to get together again with you and Mr. Cook! How’s the week of the 22nd through the 27th? Brian will still be in Houston, and my Mom will be in town too. She’d love to meet you. (She can be designated driver, lol.)
        akil3655 recently posted..Drive Me, Drive You, Drive AnywhereMy Profile

        • Angela
          Twitter: Acook2121
          May 18, 2012 at 12:58 am #

          We should totally get together at ours, how about the friday night if you are free? Please bring your mum we would love to meet her. Graeme is off the whole weekend, yay! If friday doesnt work then sometime over the weekend would be great :)
          Angela recently posted..Scottish Recipes – Chicken Curry PacketMy Profile

  2. Andrew Francis May 11, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    I think you’ll find it easier in a little while. You’ll get used to the left side of the road just by walking around, sitting in a car and riding the bus. The first time I drove, I kept hitting the window with my right hand every time I wanted to change gears but I got over it pretty quickly. :)

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      May 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      I’m sure I’ll either be hitting the window, or turning on my wipers when I mean to use the turn signal. I think as long as the foot pedals are in the same position I’ll be fine. Are they switched around too? Is the gas pedal still on the right?

  3. Barbara Lowenstein May 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Hi Peg, Enjoyed that very much! Driving is an “issue,” no doubt about it. Mark (my husband) does all of our driving in Brazil because I never learned how to handle a stick shift. I tried to learn here, but couldn’t hack it given the other drivers on the road. Way too stressful for me. As for right (wrong)-hand drive, Mark did well with it the few times he drove in England, but he’s left-handed, so I think it seemed more natural to him.

    Thought you might enjoy my comments on driving in Brazil, particularly since you experienced it firsthand. I had a little rant on the subject in:

    and went back to it briefly in today’s post:

    Wish we’d met while you were all of an hour from us! Bjs, Barbara

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      May 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      I wish we’d met too! Maybe someday, we never know what the future holds.

      I am really enjoying driving here in the US right now. It’s such a nice change from the chaos of Brazil. Everybody stays in their lanes, everybody stops when they’re supposed to and we even get the occasional courtesy wave letting us into a lane. Nice!

  4. TheBoyandMe May 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    I don’t think it’s as bad as you think it will be. I’ve driven abroad in France and that’s the ‘wrong side’ for us here. I was completely freaked out about it in advance, but naturally my brain just reversed everything. You’ll soon get used to it and will love it. Driving in the UK is so enjoyable.
    TheBoyandMe recently posted..The Gallery: SunshineMy Profile

  5. Suzanne
    Twitter: suzelibrarian
    October 14, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Oh my! The driving! I can only recommend practice and more practice. I’ve been learning to drive in England for six months and I’m still not ready for the test. The roads here are nothing like the roads in the US. Roundabouts and are the biggest challenge for me.
    Suzanne recently posted..I saw Kate Middleton!My Profile

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      October 14, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Oh my is right! I’ve been here for nearly three months and I have not driven one single time. I was originally going to go to driving school and get my license, but since we’re not staying I decided against it for now. I’m kind of relieved, although I really do miss driving. Good thing Newcastle has such a great Metro system or I’d be stuck at home!