[DML] British Motoring versus American Motoring
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[DML] British Motoring versus American Motoring

I've just returned from a 1,600 mile whirlwind driving tour of Great Britain, during which I observed several differences that account for much of the online confusion between American DML users and British DML users:

1) Whereas Americans hold on to cars for an average of more than 10 years now, British automobiles more than 5 or 6 years old are quite rare (cars with visible body damage, especially rust damage, are even rarer). British cars also accumulate fewer miles than American cars. It is basically a country of recently manufactured low mileage automobiles.

2) British MPG calculations need to be reduced 20% to yield comparable American equivalents (the British gallon is 160 oz). The Brits also don't adulterate their gas with grain alcohol, which reduces MPG at least 5% further. 

3) British gas currently costs about $8.70 per US gallon.

4) The curviness (and hilliness) of British roads is indescribable. They are 10 times worse than West Virginian roads. No joke -- plan on averaging 35 MPH (you are continually accelerating and braking at intervals often measured in fractions of a second). Their Motorways are more or less comparable to Interstate highways, but they only cover a small fraction of an already small country.

5) British road signage is less than inadequate. 

6) Brits have yet to discover pay at the pump.

7) Run flat tires must have been developed for British use, because their roads have no shoulders whatsoever (9 times out of 10 the pavement is bordered by a stone wall, or it just drops off the side of a cliff (or into a lake/loch). 

8) A sign on the A5092 advertises 740 deaths in the past 5 years, which is pretty phenomenal for a 10 mile stretch of pavement, so I looked up British road fatalities per 1,000 square miles (20.5) versus US road fatalities per 1,000 miles (8.64). Given the comparatively shorter distances Brits drive, they are slaughtering themselves on their roads at a frightening pace.
9) Brits do not drive pickup trucks.

I'm sure I could think of more, but jet lag is kicking my butt, so I am going to bed. Bottom line: until British DML users come over here and experience American motoring first hand, of course everything we do on this side of the pond is going to seem weird and inexplicable. 

Bill Robertson


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