photo credit: k e n c h i e
So while I plan on getting a fantastic job in London with a driver (just kidding!), Rob is going to attempt to learn how to drive. We have no plans on purchasing a car, at least not yet, but we will be looking at rentals and possibly trying out Zipcar.
A unique element of the UK driving system is that you can either have an automatic only licence or a standard/automatic licence. The vast majority of cars in the UK are standard, even the ones from rental agencies and Zipcar. While in the UK, Canadians can drive using their current licence for a period of 12 months. After 12 months, or sooner, you can choose to do a direct exchange for a UK licence. The only restriction is that by exchanging your license, you can only operate an automatic vehicle. This is due to the fact that in Canada, we do not normally test on standard vehicles. If you are interested in starting this process, you can read more on Directgov.
To help prepare Rob with obtaining a full license, he ordered an assortment of training materials that you can find online including the official DSA complete learner pack and the official highway code. Which, by the way, took over a month to get here, so we contacted them and they resent the package to us. Of course, the day after, the original package arrives followed by the new ones a day after that which we then give to friends who are also thinking of moving abroad.
Overall, the rules of the road are pretty similar to what we have here in Canada. Some odd facts include:
- No yellow centre line to divide traffic travelling in opposite directions. They just go with a white line in the UK.
- Pedestrian crossings are named after the zoo: Zebra- Standard crosswalk, Pelican- These have a button at the sidewalk and a walk signal that appears on the other side of the street, Puffin- These have a button and a walk indicator at street level and Toucan- Same as a Puffin, but includes controls to allow cyclists to legally cross.
- Sidewalks are called pavement.
- Curbs are spelled 'kerbs' and during your road exam, you must be able to back up along the kerb and around a corner without striking the kerb.
Wish us luck.