Life in a new world, Part II

Traffic

I’ve already talked about the language barrier and how we try to diminish it.

The other thing we face every day is traffic. I mean, the UK is one of the few countries who still drive on the left side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the ride side of the car.

Obviously, we don’t have a car, but when you try to cross the road, you have to be aware of where you can expect cars from. And tadaa, it’s the other side. I mean, of course. English people say that is the correct side, but to be honest, when almost the whole world operates differently, at least you have to consider that maybe you are the minority.

Anyways, we are here, so we have to comply with the different traffic rules (the Highway Code, as they call it here).

The first thing to learn is to consciously look around before crossing the road. We came from Hungary, and there, traffic comes from your left-hand side. Here it’s the opposite. We have to look right first. You’d think that’s easy. No, it’s not. Especially because in England there are much more one-way roads, where you have to actually read whatever is written on the road.

Signs on the road

So that’s one thing. Always make a conscious decision of where to look.

The other is people. We got used to the fact that in Hungary, people rarely obey traffic lights, I mean as long as you are a pedestrian or a cyclist. In car, people usually follow the rules. But if you are on foot, it’s really up to you how strictly you obey pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, common sense. (rarely… shall I say)

I worked 5 months in London and I found that – at least in Central London – people are fairly strict about the rules. But maybe only because when it’s red, there are always cars, so it’s not just stupid to cross the road, but it’s dangerous as well. But in the suburb area, or here, in Brighton, it’s more like a recommendation than a rule.

So here, in Brighton, there are four kind of people.

  1. Pushes the button and waits for the green light. (that’s more like a rarity)
  2. Looks around, and crosses the road. (understandable, but not exactly rule-following)
  3. Pushes the button, looks around and crosses the road (WHAT?)
  4. Pushes the button, waits for the green, doesn’t start, the light turns red, loses their patience, crosses the road (WHAAAAT?)

+1: Stands at the edge of the pavement, does nothing, waits for the miracle (for someone to push the button)

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