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Old 02-01-2003, 04:00 PM
brad_d is offline
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UK driving practices/laws


One of my wife's good friends recently moved to England from California. She's been licensed to drive in California for some 14 years. Last week she took and failed her exam to get a driver's license there. She was talking about it to my wife, who then relayed some points to me, so it's quite possible some things got messed up in the relay. However, some of the things she mentioned sounded downright bizarre to me, so I'd like any UK dopers to comment on whether this is accurate or not. Specifically:
  • Part of the test apparently included backing around a corner on a street. She evidently failed the test because she didn't remain sufficiently close to the curb while doing so. I don't think backing around corners is even legal in most parts of the US, and even if it is it doesn't sound particularly safe. What's the point of this exercise?
  • She was apparently docked points by the examiner for failing to check her mirrors (side and center) before signalling and turning.
  • She was taking the test (and thus would only have been licensed for) an automatic transmission. She was told, in a class I believe, that the parking brake had to be engaged whenever the transmission was shifted. For example, when making a three-point turn in a road the parking brake had to be engaged for each gear change. Come to a halt in Drive, engage p-brake, shift to Reverse, disengage p-brake, .... This sounded asinine to me - was there something being mis-relayed?
  • She was also taught that it's illegal to turn the steering wheel while the vehicle isn't moving. Does this make sense? It's tough to parallel park in really tight spaces without doing so.
  • She was told that one should not cross one's hands on the steering wheel while turning, and that neither hand should ever go past "twelve o'clock". This is quite the opposite of how I was taught to drive. Is it to keep one's hands out from in front of the airbag, perhaps?
I'd appreciate it if anybody could shed some light on this. What of these points are simply somebody (me, my wife, my wife's friend) misunderstanding something? Which are curious differences in driving practices/laws between the US and the UK? Any other possible explanations?
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Old 02-01-2003, 04:09 PM
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Reversing around a corner is often used when parking. Failing to check mirrors is a real no-no - Mirror, Signal, Manoeuver. I've never heard about not turning the wheel when the car is stationary. As for crossing hands, this is also a no-no - you can get your hands in a tangle.

But she shouldn't be overly concerned. UK driving examiners have a reputation for being complete and utter b*st*rds. I passed on my second go (and was a nervous wreck at the end); my brother took four attempts. The upside is that when she does pass, she will have shown that she knows her stuff.
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Old 02-01-2003, 04:13 PM
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Re: UK driving practices/laws


Disclaimer: I passed my test fifteen years ago; things may have changed a little...
Quote:
Originally posted by brad_d
Part of the test apparently included backing around a corner on a street. She evidently failed the test because she didn't remain sufficiently close to the curb while doing so. I don't think backing around corners is even legal in most parts of the US, and even if it is it doesn't sound particularly safe. What's the point of this exercise?
To test the driver's ability to manoeuvre the vehicle; the operation is only ever carried out on very quiet residential roads.

Quote:
She was apparently docked points by the examiner for failing to check her mirrors (side and center) before signalling and turning.
Yup. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre is SOP (plus a turn of the head to check blind spots, if any.

Quote:
She was taking the test (and thus would only have been licensed for) an automatic transmission. She was told, in a class I believe, that the parking brake had to be engaged whenever the transmission was shifted. For example, when making a three-point turn in a road the parking brake had to be engaged for each gear change. Come to a halt in Drive, engage p-brake, shift to Reverse, disengage p-brake, .... This sounded asinine to me - was there something being mis-relayed?
Nope; (although I took the manual test) - generally, the handbrake is to be englaged when the car is stationary - even during gear changes in a multi-point turn.

Quote:
She was also taught that it's illegal to turn the steering wheel while the vehicle isn't moving. Does this make sense? It's tough to parallel park in really tight spaces without doing so.
I think this is correct; in fifteen years of driving I can't remember ever having to steer while stationary.

Quote:
She was told that one should not cross one's hands on the steering wheel while turning, and that neither hand should ever go past "twelve o'clock". This is quite the opposite of how I was taught to drive. Is it to keep one's hands out from in front of the airbag, perhaps?
Probably nothing to do with airbags, as they have only been standard equipment in UK vehicles for a few years (wearing a seatbelt has been compulsory for quite a while though, so the need for airbags was not a pressing as it is in the US) - the hands should be in at 'ten to two' or 'quarter to three' - the reasoning I was offered for this is that this provides the best grip - the steering wheel should be 'passed' through the hands like a rope.
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Old 02-01-2003, 04:34 PM
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Turning the steering wheel while stationary is considered poor driving practice as it puts excessive stress on the steering linkages. I don't recall if it's actually illegal though.
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Old 02-01-2003, 04:55 PM
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Crossing hands on the steering wheel is something everyone does - once they've passed their driving test - you just have to control your urge to do it until after you get the slip of paper

Reversing round a corner is just a parking manoeuvre.

Mirrors are just standard, you would fail for that doing the UAE driving test here - a colleague of mine failed for this. Lucky me didn't have to take the test as a British licence gets automatically transferred. People from India and Pakistan do though. But considering in India it's very easy to pay someone just to get your test certificate (countless Indian friends have told me this) I think that's fair enough.

The steering wheel thing - again, that's one of those good versus bad driving practice things.

AFAIRemember, when you take the UK driving test, there are "definite fail" things, and "minor errors." Two/three or more minor mistakes would fail you the exam, but only one definite fail would. I think crossing your hands once and driving immaculately the rest of the time might get you through, but it would also depend on the examiner's general assessment of your driving ability. They do make allowances for exam nerves. IIRC you are allowed a couple of errors, eg if you mess up the parallel park you can sometimes do it again.

The handbrake thing I don't know, because I only drove a manual until recently, and passed my test only ever having driven manual. I am now driving an automatic and it's as weird as hell, like a bumper/dodgem car at a fairground. It goes forward even if you don't have your foot on the accelerator. Weird weird weird. I so miss the clutch!
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Old 02-01-2003, 05:58 PM
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What the OP's friend discovered looks generally correct to me.

I was certainly taught not to cross my hands on the steering wheel. If you keep the wheel at ten to two, you are always in a balanced position to be able to react quickly in either direction. Plus the instructor said that if I got in a mess, he might need to lean over and correct the wheel with great urgency, and if my hands were in the wrong position, he could literally break my arms. Maybe that was a lie designed to reinforce the message.

I was also taught to use the hand brake between every gear change in a 3-point turn in a manual car. I don't know about automatic.

Finally, bear in mind that the pass rate of the UK driving test is about 45% It is not a US-style "don't crush too many cones in two minutes in the parking lot and you're OK", licensed-to-kill approach. The Georgia test doesn't go out of the parking lot. I took my test in Virginia where I had to drive round one quiet block, which involved doing only right turns.
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Old 02-01-2003, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by istara
They do make allowances for exam nerves. IIRC you are allowed a couple of errors, eg if you mess up the parallel park you can sometimes do it again.
Particularly if you recognise and state that you made an error and would like to retry (rather than waiting for it to be pointed out).
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Old 02-01-2003, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by qts
But she shouldn't be overly concerned. UK driving examiners have a reputation for being complete and utter b*st*rds. I passed on my second go (and was a nervous wreck at the end); my brother took four attempts. The upside is that when she does pass, she will have shown that she knows her stuff.
I once took a test with the guy who tests the examiners. The rolleyes expression on my tutor's face said it all on my slow march to the car outside the test centre. Might as well have cancelled it then and there.

This site includes an online driving theory quiz, which gives some instances of the questions the examiner is likely to ask during your test in the UK.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:16 AM
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I think I will have to retake my driving test to get an Australian license, should my migration application ever come through.

How nightmarish is the Aussie driving test?

(And please don't tell me I'll have to have P plates for two years after being a driver for more than a decade... sooooo embarrassing!!)
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by raygirvan
Turning the steering wheel while stationary is considered poor driving practice as it puts excessive stress on the steering linkages. I don't recall if it's actually illegal though.
Not illegal, just knackers the steering rack and tyres (especially common in cars with power steering).

Quote:
AFAIRemember, when you take the UK driving test, there are "definite fail" things, and "minor errors." Two/three or more minor mistakes would fail you the exam, but only one definite fail would.
You're allowed 15 minor faults ( a minor fault would be something like not putting the handbrake on for the turn in the road, not checking mirrors, poor lane discipline, etc.), but if you get one major fault (nearly causing an accident, etc.) is an automatic fail, as is dangerous drin#ving.
Here is a nice link.
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Old 02-02-2003, 07:07 AM
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The reversing round a corner is considered a safer and more legal form of the u-turn or 3 point.
Only ever reverse from a major into a minor road.

The rearview mirror is supposed to be checked every 6 seconds (at least) while driving. The blindspot and both mirrors are checked before every manoeuvre.

Moving the wheel while stationary is a no-no for lack of control of the car (you don't know how it will turn until you start moving), as well as knackering the driving gears.

The procedure at traffic lights is to put the handbrake on and get into neutral. Hello? Does anyone NOT sit in first gear in real life?


The test is about 30-45 minutes long. It consists of driving on as many types of road as possible, rural, residential, dual carriageway etc.

There should be:
At least one lane change
At least one major roundabout
A right turn at a traffic light
A traffic light with a filter lane.
A t-junction
At least one hill-start.

The standard manoeuvres are:
Emergency stop

And 2 out of:
Reversing into a parking space (between parallel lines) in a car park.
A parallel park (don't hit the cars in front and behind, don't end up too far from the kerb or too near it).
Reversing around a corner (don't go over the middle of the road, don't go too near the kerb, don't go too far away from the kerb).
A 3-point turn, (which may be up to a 7 point turn as long as the car is turned safely in a contolled manner and doesn't hit the kerb).

3 minor faults for the same thing count as one major = automatic fail.

Up to 15 minor faults are allowed overall...highly unlikely you'd get as many as 15 without 3 in the same area.

Failing a manoeuvre fails the test.

Breaking the speed limit fails the test.

Going over the white stop line at a traffic light fails the test.

Skidding in the emergency stop is not a fail if you feather the brake and recover from the skid.

Going into the wrong lane at a roundabout is a fail.

Driving too close to parked cars is a fail.


I failed twice before I passed, the first time wasn't my fault, I made the examiner stop the test because I got my period (unexpectedly), and couldn't drive because of the cramps.

The second time I drove too close to a parked car.

Third time I passed with 3 minors.

Irishfella passed first time with 1 minor.

Jammy Git.
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:02 AM
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Of similar ilk, would an American be able to obtain a license in another European country with which the UK has straight forward reciprocity (swap license for license)?

Hand over hand driving is a no-no. When I was learning, it was taught to pass the steering wheel through each hand.

Hand placement was taught as 10 and 2 for the safest position with the most control.

Three-point turns, emergency stops and reversing around a corner are all new to me as part of a driving test.

Even though I've been driving for 21 years I'm afraid to take the UK exam. Gonna have to bite the bullet and do it soon though... ::bites nails nervously::
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Washte
Of similar ilk, would an American be able to obtain a license in another European country with which the UK has straight forward reciprocity (swap license for license)?
I think so: once you've got a license in one EU country, it applies all over the EU. Certainly when I fill out insurance forms in Ireland, it classes "Irish and EU" together. I still drive on my UK license.

However, my former boss, from the US and with 10 years' driving experience there, had to drive on a provisional license (with L plates!) in Ireland.

Other point:

Reversing round a corner is only legal when going from a major road into a minor one.

Anecdote:

I went to the Testing Center in Connecticut to get my UK driver's license converted to a CT one. I was told that I'd have to take the test. So I did the theory part, then I went to the driving test line, and the guy behind the counter said "You've got a British license? Hell, you don't need to take a test here: you guys've got the strictest driving test in the world." And I got given my license there and then.
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Old 02-03-2003, 01:57 PM
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Thanks for the replies, all. As you can probably gather from the OP, things are a bit different in the states.

However, I'm still having difficulty envisioning a situation involving backing around a corner to park. Could somebody give me an example?
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Old 02-03-2003, 02:20 PM
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brad_d

Maybe you have more spacious car parks in the USA? It's quite common in the UK to have cars parked side by side (as opposed to nose-to-tail) in rows, with quite narrow lanes between. To get into or out of a space when the park is nearly full, you have to make a tight right-angled turn (either when backing in or backing out). House driveways are often tight enough to need a similar manoeuvre.
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Old 02-03-2003, 03:03 PM
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Ah, I think I understand now. Sort of.

Yes, I believe we have similar parking setups here (the rule rather than the exception, IME), although it's possible (likely, actually) that the amount of room generally available for the maneuver is higher in the US. That extra space alone may be the only real difference.

But it seems that people are talking, not about backing out of a parking space or driveway, but of literally backing around a corner at an intersection of two roads. I'm getting the impression that this sort of thing is commonly done over there. I just spoke with a friend here in my lab, and he agrees that this is probably illegal in most part of the US.

It could easily be a terminology or language misunderstanding, but I'm still not quite understanding why this maneuver, which sounds illegal and dangerous here, would be a test element there.
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Old 02-03-2003, 03:12 PM
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Most parking spaces in the US are diagonal parking, whereas the vast majority of parking spaces in the UK (England anyway) are straight in. Also as mentioned by raygirvan driveways are difficult to access, so this method is useful.

British parking: LLLLLLLLl
American parking: /_/_/_/_/_/_/

The width of roads over here are a fraction of US roads. On-street parking can be awkward to say the least. Being able to reverse around a corner would allow access to spaces on or near a corner. Rather than pull out into the intersection, you turn the corner then reverse back around it. It can also be useful perhaps if you turned the wrong way and rather than flip a Uey, reverse back and go again. Remembering that there is no grid system over here, so going around the block is not as easy as it sounds.... (ask me how I got lost in Birmingham )
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Old 02-03-2003, 05:00 PM
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I think that's because British city centres are often based on much older road systems (try Oxford!) You might have had more luck in Milton Keynes, that's a perfect chequerboard.
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Old 02-03-2003, 05:07 PM
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Gotcha, Washte. Thanks. The differences in accepted practices on opposite sides of the pond are quite interesting to discuss.

A minor nitpick : In my experience, parking lots in the US are pretty much evenly distributed between "angled" and "straight." Both are pretty common.

I'd imagine that the space between rows in American lots are typically considerably larger, though, which does (or at least should) make backing out without hitting anything easier. (Not that this stopped some hit-and-run asswipe from redecorating my front fender some months ago.)
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Old 02-03-2003, 05:26 PM
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The rules for driving in the UK are contained in The Highway Code

Some details of the driving test can be found here
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Old 02-03-2003, 11:32 PM
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I don't believe that they test your ability to reverse round a corner because it is something you will need to do with some frequency after passing your test. It is simply a manoeuvre you do to demonstrate that you can control your car when reversing. The corner gives a target and you have to show that you can keep your vehicle close to, but not touch, the kerb.
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Old 02-04-2003, 01:41 AM
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I read Douglas Adams' rant about "overtaking on the inside lane" as being something allowed in the US and barred in the UK. Can anyone explain this to me?
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Old 02-04-2003, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by hammerbach
I read Douglas Adams' rant about "overtaking on the inside lane" as being something allowed in the US and barred in the UK. Can anyone explain this to me?
I live in Canada where the driving laws are very similar to the USA.. I *believe* is is technically illegal but larger overlooked.. even the police do it..
I admit that I do it myself often.. I do not like doing it, but I have absolutely no choice.. hardly anyone keeps to the right.. they just pick a lane and sit there..
Just today I had to overtake on the inside on a highway on-ramp.. the person infront of me merged at 60km (the limit is 100). Illegal or not, there's no way I'm going to merge at that speed..

Although outside the city people tend to be much better at keeping to the right.
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Old 02-04-2003, 03:50 AM
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When I took drivers ed, we would get in trouble for NOT steering hand-over-hand. Also, I have never used my hand brake at all.
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Old 02-04-2003, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
I read Douglas Adams' rant about "overtaking on the inside lane" as being something allowed in the US and barred in the UK. Can anyone explain this to me?
Yep.... inside lane could be translated as 'the lane next to you where cars should go slower'. In the UK this means the lane to the left of you when you're travelling (a) in the outside lane of a dual carriageway or (b) when you're travelling in the middle or outside lane of a motorway. Cars are not allowed to pass in a 'slower' lane, but of course some do.


Quote:
I once took a test with the guy who tests the examiners. The rolleyes expression on my tutor's face said it all on my slow march to the car outside the test centre.
everton, that happened to me too! Except in my case (and maybe in yours, I wasn't sure) I had both the examiner and the examiner's examiner (who was testing the examiner, not me) in the car. I don't know who was more nervous, me or the regular examiner, but I do remember thinking there was no way on God's earth I was going to pass. And I was right.
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:14 AM
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I think the reason for not passing on the inside is if you are legally overtaking a truck on the outside, and someone is doing the same thing on the inside, then both cars try to get to the middle lane without seeing each other. . I've seen this nearly happen quite a few times.
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:56 AM
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Living in Dubai, I know overtake all the time in the inside lane.

The issue with this is that if people drove properly - ie didn't lane hog (driving at 80kmph in 120kmph zone in one of the middle or outside lanes) it wouldn't actually be possible to overtake on the inside. You can only do it because people are driving along the wrong lanes at their own sweet pace, blocking you from overtaking on the correct side, the outside.

The other issue here that it really isn't safe a lot the time to overtake on the outside lane. This is because many drivers are extremely aggressive and will squeeze past you via THE HARD SHOULDER rather than wait for you to pull back in past the vehicle you're overtaking. ie you are going 120, overtaking a vehicle doing 100, and someone doing 200 (I kid you not, happens every day even in rush hour) zooms up behind you and just won't wait.

I once heard that a certain sheikh here got so pissed off by a bad driver on the main highway one day he pulled him over, got him to open his window, and shot him in the foot. If only that sheikh did traffic patrol 24/7...
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:07 AM
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As a complete aside, anyone know what the standard parking space size is in the US? Vehicle size is generally bigger on average, so I guess parking spaces must be too.

UK standard (minimum) size is 2.4 x 4.8M, (with 6M roads between bays) which is quite tight for any reasonably big cars. What's the minimum dimensions in the US?
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:09 AM
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As amarone said, reversing around a corner is just a test of your control of the vehicle - with the exception of driveways and car parks, you would hardly ever need to do it in the real world.
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:28 AM
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The reversing round corners thing: you have to remember that in Europe drivers have to cope with city streets that were laid out long before the motor car was invented. Many city centres have medieval (even Roman) street plans.

In countries where land is at a premium, even modern streets are much more narrow that those found in the USA, Canada etc. So, it is essential that a driver can maneouver is tight places, get in and out of small spaces etc. - problems that a driver in the USA (etc) almost never has to deal with.

Hence, the UK driving test places much emphasis on maneouvers such as multi-point turns and reversing round corners. Training and testing is usually done where there is plenty of space, but it is important to keep close to the curb to demonstrate that you could cope in a much more confined space.

Overtaking on the inside: in general British drivers do keep to the correct lane - moving over to the slowest lane available and not overtaking on the inside. But this does have the disadvantage that British drives frequently change lanes - British drivers typically go quite fast and any lane change is inherently dangerous so great care is needed.

I can understand why drivers in the USA and Canda behave differently. Having driven in the USA and Canada I must say that overtaking on the inside may not be such a bad thing if it also means (as it seems to) fewer lane changes.

Another feature of North American road that is not common in the UK is the bifurcating carriageway - you have to choose left or right and both ways seem to have equal precedence. In general, UK multi-lane carriageways have a distinct main route and a clearly marked slip lane for vehicles turning off to the left. It seems to me that the bifurcating carriageway blurs the distinction as to which lane is the inside lane.
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:28 AM
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Standard parking spaces in the US are 9' x 18', or 2.75m x 5.5m.

In crowded urban areas, some parking lots have a section of smaller spaces marked 'compact cars only.'
These are no smaller than 8' x 17.5' (2.45m x 5.33m).


The space between bays is 24' (7.3m) where the spaces are at right angles to the aisle. It can be smaller in a slant configuration.

Those dimensions are for parking-lot type configurations (perpendicular). On-street, curbside parking (parallel) spaces are narrower and longer, typically 8' x 20' (2.45m x 6.10m).
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:01 AM
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brad_d,

Tell your wife's friend to take lessons from a driving instructor. The U.K. driving test is noticeably harder than the test for any state in the U.S. Your wife's friend should have been told before she even considered getting a license about how difficult the test was. We can debate endlessly about whether or not the test is representative of driving in the U.K., but the point is that it is harder than a U.S. test and that it involves techniques that are little used in the U.S.

I think that this is part of a general principle: Don't go to a foreign country and think that you can easily tell the citizens there about they can improve their country by adopting American habits. Even when you're correct, you're going to get hostile reactions. Your wife's friend can decide after a couple of years of driving in the U.K. whether or not the techniques she needs to learn for the test are really relevant or not, but at the moment she doesn't know enough about driving in the U.K. to complain about it.
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:09 AM
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I moved from the US to the UK about 7 years ago, and took the test in my American car (Chevy Lumina Z34). I passed the first time with just a couple comments. I was in an area that didn't have any speed limit signs, and it seemed urban, so I was going 30 when I should have been doing 45. I also tended to drive thru the apex of small roundabouts. Since the car was so big and the street so narrow, the 3 point turn was more like a 5 point turn, but as long as I didn't hit the kerbs it was OK. And being a left hand drive, the reversing around a corner was dead easy. I did my normal hand over hand steering that I was taught in Iowa driver's ed in 1978, and never touched the parking brake (which was foot operated, not a hand brake) until the end of the test.

Overall I didn't think it was any harder than the Iowa test. And people here are horrified when I tell them what drills we did in driver's ed. The two scariest examples: Driving down a straight country road at 60, the instructor would reach over, grab the wheel, and pull right until 2 wheels dropped onto the shoulder. The other drill was in town, he's say 'turn right at the next corner', then reach over and hold the accelerator with a yard stick to simulate a stuck throttle.
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kferr
Overall I didn't think it was any harder than the Iowa test. And people here are horrified when I tell them what drills we did in driver's ed. The two scariest examples: Driving down a straight country road at 60, the instructor would reach over, grab the wheel, and pull right until 2 wheels dropped onto the shoulder. The other drill was in town, he's say 'turn right at the next corner', then reach over and hold the accelerator with a yard stick to simulate a stuck throttle.
  #35  
Old 02-04-2003, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by istara
(And please don't tell me I'll have to have P plates for two years after being a driver for more than a decade... sooooo embarrassing!!)
Are they the aussie equivalent of R plates in Northern Ireland. R plates are a peculiarity of NI, I don't think they are used in the rest of the UK or in the Republic of Ireland. Basically when you pass your test you replace the L plates with the R plates and have to drive at a max 45mph for the next year.

As for the OP I can see the common sense behind what's been mentioned but I can't for the life of me remember needing the handbrake for a 3 point turn.

The minor and major mistakes mentioned elsewhere, I was under the impression that any number of minors were allowed. A mate said he had his sheet filled with them. But then what would be the point of having them if only for the sake of embarrasing people.
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Old 02-04-2003, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by istara
I think that's because British city centres are often based on much older road systems (try Oxford!) .
Private cars aren't permitted to drive in the Oxford city centre anymore, thank God, but in the 60's I heard that crossing High Street was like trying to cross the M1.
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Old 02-04-2003, 04:34 PM
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Another UK driving question: somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that you are allowed to park against the flow of traffic in the UK. Is this true?

(In the US, if you are parked in the northbound lane, you must be pointing north. To point south is a ticketable offense.)
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Old 02-04-2003, 05:05 PM
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yeah, Hello Again, you can park any way that's safe to do so.

eg, pulling across an empty street to park outside your house is fine, pulling into oncoming traffic isn't.
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Old 02-04-2003, 05:52 PM
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Thanks again to all for very informative responses. I think I "get it" now to the point that I can coherently explain differences in laws & style to my wife and her friend. Wendell, I'll pass your advice on, as it sounds like it might do some good.

Personally, I wish US road tests were more stringent - mine (Texas, 1986) was a complete joke. Knowledge of the rules (completely objective) was given far more weight than actual car control (somewhat subjective).

Actually, I went to the sample written test on the link ticker gave. The overall sense of the test (tone and scope of the questions) was very similar to the ones I've taken in Texas and California (when I moved, I had to take a written test only to get at California license). There was a good bit of terminology, signage and street markings that I simply didn't understand, but other than that I don't think they're that different. BTW, I failed with a 28/35. (80%, which would have passed in CA and TX).

OK, one of the questions has me absolutely baffled. I have NO CLUE what the hell this is talking about:
Quote:
Which of the following types of crossing can detect when people are on them?
  • Pelican
  • Toucan
  • Zebra
  • Puffin
Huh?
  #40  
Old 02-04-2003, 06:29 PM
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LMAO.

It is (surprisingly) the case that the streets of Britain are literally crammed with Pelicans, Zebras, Toucans and Puffins. Sometimes you can hardly move without negotiating your way through a herd of zebra. We really should get round to doing something about them one day.
  #41  
Old 02-04-2003, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hello Again
(In the US, if you are parked in the northbound lane, you must be pointing north. To point south is a ticketable offense.)
Ah, thank you. That would explain why when I park against the flow, I am usually the only one. I had wondered....
  #42  
Old 02-04-2003, 06:48 PM
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Puffin crossings (Pedestrian User-Friendly INtelligent) have some sort of motion detector which keeps the lights on red while you cross the road. Toucan crossings are similar, but also allow cyclists to cross at the same time (i.e. "two can" cross ). But these really represent the cutting edge of pedestrian crossing technology - Pelicans (PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled) and good ol' Zebras (white stripes across the road) are far more common.
  #43  
Old 02-04-2003, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Usram
Puffin crossings (Pedestrian User-Friendly INtelligent)
There's a contrived pseudo-acronymn if ever I saw one (haven't seen the likes of that since CEDRIC - the Customs & Excise Data Retrieval Information Computer)
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:56 PM
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Thanks, Usram.
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Old 02-04-2003, 10:16 PM
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The 'inside' lane... Xerxes, wooba, you're saying that the 'inside' lane is the 'slow' lane, the one furthest from the centre of the road? That's completely opposite to the way I think of 'inside' and 'outside' lanes, but then I usually call them the 'fast' lane, the 'middle' lane, and the 'slow' lane.
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  #46  
Old 02-05-2003, 01:16 AM
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Sunspace:
I meant passing on the right of a car, regardless if that's the far right (slow) lane or a middle lane... whenever possible I always pass cars on the left and then keep to the right.. but in Toronto, that's not very often
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Old 02-05-2003, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
The 'inside' lane... Xerxes, wooba, you're saying that the 'inside' lane is the 'slow' lane, the one furthest from the centre of the road?
Yep; in the UK if you viewed a motorway from above you'd see

slow-middle-fast centre fast-middle-slow.
  #48  
Old 02-05-2003, 09:31 AM
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Remember that you drive on the LEFT in the UK, Sunspace.
  #49  
Old 02-05-2003, 10:40 AM
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I don't think the left/right difference has much to do with it - I agree with Sunspace. To most Americans the "inside" lane would be the one closest to the middle of the road, no matter which side a particular country drives on.
  #50  
Old 02-05-2003, 11:26 AM
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I try not to use the term 'inside lane', as it means different things to different people, even within the UK (outside=as far 'out' or away from the lane in which you start, or outside=the part of the road which borders the countryside or pavement(sidewalk)).

slow-middle-fast(central reservation)fast-middle-slow is the configuration regardless of left or right hand drive - the fast lane is the one furthest away from the slip roads/on ramps.
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