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Top 5 US vs Europe Driving Differences

Soon I shall be launching a new website - abritinthebay.com (don't go looking, there's nothing there atm).

Part of my immigrant status here means I get to see things with outside eyes. Things aren't better or worse here, they are just different.

Cool stuff happens in the bay, and it's fun to see other people pick up on that, as well as the differences. So so that end - some driving differences:

  1. "To an American 100 years is a long time, to a European 100 miles is a long way." This is true, but that's because it likely takes the European a long-ass time to get that 100 miles. Much longer than it would in the USA. This is because the road systems grew up usually several hundred years before motorways, therefore they aren't exactly the shortest route.
    For example - it's possible to get to LA from SF in around 7 hours, if traffic is good. It's possible to get to North Devon in 5 hours from East London, if traffic is good. The distance is about 3 times as short to Devon... but it takes time.
    From my parents house to Newmarket took an hour and a half, but in a straight line it's only about twice the distance from Oakland to San Francisco... adjust your perceptions!
  2. 25mpg is not impressive. Stop pretending it is. When I drove the hell out of my gas-guzzling Rover in the UK I could still get 28mpg out of it, easy, and that was crap - My Nissan got 36 on a bad day. Yes there are some differences between the US and UK gallon, but it's still not enough to make up for it.
  3. US cars can't turn if your life depended on it. Need to make a sharp turn? Good luck with that. The average car here seems to be designed to have a turning circle approximately the width of Dakota. I'm not sure why... perhaps its because they have roads here that you could run Olympic track races across...
  4. Air Conditioning is not optional. Do you hear me UK? Just because the UK only gets about 4 weeks of sun a year is no excuse to skimp on a feature that should have been standard on all cars 20 years ago. It's not a feature you should have to advertise as standard - it should just be a sodding standard.
  5. Gas is more expensive because that money pays for stuff. This needs to be beaten into heads both sides of the Atlantic. Like your nice high quality roads Mr "I voted for the Tory's because petrol is too expensive under Labour"? Suck it up, because nothing is going to change. Likewise I hope you like the barely-a-step-up-from-a-concrete-slab-covered-in-dirt Freeway you have for your cheap gas Mr US-of-A. Because $4 a Gallon is not expensive. Call me when it hits $6, then we may be in agreement...


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
10th Mar, 2008 18:45 (UTC)
I cannot stand most Americans attitude toward taxes. It's the same douchey people complaining every time. "Well, I'm not using health care, so I shouldn't have to pay for some bum." It's called helping another human, you twat. Are you stupid enough to think when that homeless gent gets really ill, he's not going to the ER? They have to treat him you know. Where do you think they pay for that? Higher prices and your tax dollars. "Man, this road sucks.. why don't they fix it?" Because your dumb ass voted against the $0.005 increase in gas tax. Get fucked!

10th Mar, 2008 19:01 (UTC)
$4/gal is expensive when a good chunk of that money is going to a) record profits for oil companies, b) buying politicians, and c) monarchs of oil producing countries to fund terrorism against your country.
10th Mar, 2008 20:52 (UTC)
I agree with most of this ramble. :-)

My only observation is the "barely-a-step-up-from-a-concrete-slab-covered-in-dirt Freeway you have for your cheap gas Mr US-of-A" The US has to have concrete highways because blacktop/tarmac/bitmac/asphalt, whatever you want to call it, melts. It doesn't get hot enough in England for them to have experienced this phenomenon. So the crappy concrete with expansion joints every 20 feet is as good as it gets in the south/west/midwest. They don't use it cuz it's cheap.

And AC should just be a sodding standard.. hear hear!
10th Mar, 2008 20:56 (UTC)
Not true - cheap blacktop melts, but they have blacktop in Oz, and in some parts of India. If it can cope there, it can cope in the US.

Primary reason is cost. Concrete slabs are cheaper - in fact they are the basis of UK motorways... it's just there is concrete under the tarmac.

Having seen how US and UK streets are constructed - the UK ones are about twice as complex (and thus more expensive) but get done in about 1/3 of the time.
11th Mar, 2008 14:06 (UTC)
Used to agree with you on AC. Really, I would not ever be convinced otherwise. I guess places and time change you though. There's no AC in my husband's car, and while that can be annoying once in awhile, I live in freaking Connecticut. Really not necessary. ;)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )