One of the changes in life that UK people face after making aliyah, is learning to drive on the right hand side. Or, if you have driven before on the right hand side, learning how to make that common, daily, and routine. (Otherwise, it is a little dangerous out there.) Once it becomes a habit, you forget it. Until it’s time to drive again in the UK…
Although driving standards in the UK appear to have worsened, it’s still much easier to drive there. Drivers in the UK are, generally, more courteous, understanding, and far less aggressive. Susan pointed out that this state of affairs is partly due to the much lower rate of congestion; in other words, in the UK there are fewer cars per square kilometer than in Israel. Still, I would say that it is enjoyable to drive in the UK. Regrettably, I doubt I will ever get to say that about Israel. (Unless I am gifted a Merkava tank and a license to use it on the roads…) With that in mind, when I returned on this latest trip, I was soon relaxed in my driving and happy to be in that easier environment.
Fast forward into the break, when I am on a mission to buy a gift card. The hire vehicle was a sizable beast, and I did several orbits of the target area in Shawlands before finding a suitable parking space. (Suitable in this case meaning one big enough and easy to access by me, given my less than stellar parking skills.)
I parked, locked the car, and went off shopping. Later, I returned, opened the car and slipped into my seat.
Stop. Something is wrong. Er, where is the steering wheel? Oh dear. I was in auto pilot mode, and had got in on the wrong side – the passenger side. Ooops. I guess I am more acclimatized to Israeli driving than I thought.