So I am thinking about taking my driver's test. You have a years grace period before you have to bite the bullet. I am closing in on the 8 month mark and feel relatively confident in my abilities to navigate the NZ roads. The Cinder Block or Sugar Cube that is my car is blessedly free from any more battle scars. I have one missing hub cap, one that is tied to the wheel and am hoping to lose a third on a curb so I can go out and buy a new set (with one to spare- just in case!) The side view drivers mirror was taken of by the Mister and repaired and replaced. It's kinda a wonder of sorts that I drove around for weeks without one really. It's almost like an added bonus/surprise now when I do a lane change and go to look over my shoulder and see it hanging outside the car. "Whoa! What's this thingy? Kewl! I can see cars behind me now!")
I am used to the honking way of communication now. For the most part I don't hunch over when I hear it because frankly it never applies to me and more often than not it's me that's leaning liberally on her horn. In other words, I am back in the Superior Drivers type seat that I was back home
First of all lets talk about the speed limit signs. They are there as kind of a guide line (in my opinion). So, if on the motorway please boot your ass up to that pre determined speed. I will allow you a 10% overage even if you can get your hamsters to go that fast under the hood. I will probably in all likelihood *NEVER* be pulled over for speeding here. I am constantly trying to switching lanes on the motorways in an effort to leave the Sunday drivers behind. One day I had to look down at the speedometer in the car as I seemed to be whizzing by all my fellow travelers. I had started to ease up on the gas when I looked down only to discover that i was 10k (still!) under the limit. Grr....
Another tip is this merging onto the motorways and streets that seem to magically go from two lanes to one; Treat each car like a part of a zipper. In this way you can effectively become one and thus not have the cluster F*** that seems to happen far too often when people come to the end of their lane. This "merging" is achieved by either speeding up (usually) to enter the flow of traffic or knowing that I am going to be right on your tail and thus you should probably slow down and let me pass you. Don't make me use my Devil Horn sign on you and the kids bouncing around the back seat.
This leads me to another topic of safety. There are only a certain amount of seat-belts allocated to each vehicle. Please ensure you A.) Use them. B.) Don't pack all your visiting relatives from another country in the trunk of your tiny SUV. I have seen less clowns in a Beetle at the Circus than some of these rides that I pass on the roads.
The other thing about safety is the the old 10 o'clock 2 o'clock hand position that my driver instructor gave me back in the day of my grasshopper driver's Ed course. Ok, so maybe I don't *always* have my hands in that position on the wheel...er maybe one hand is on the CD changer or reaching behind me to swat the kidletts (they are so quick and flexible though!) into submission BUT there is at least ONE HAND!!. Truly it is amazing to come barreling down the road only to be stopped short by some weaving car whose driver has one arm out the window doing the air surf with his hand and the other I can see quite clearly gesturing to his passenger. Who is driving the bus? I wonder...and there are the limits of my mind powers folks.... I mentally try and will them to move over/speed up etc but fail every time. Must apply the power of my Super Horn (again) which would sound oh so much more "super" if it any sort of power to it. Alas, it sounds more like an accordian or small bag pipe with a bit of wind.
The Kiwi driving mentality is more powerful than I first thought. It has a way of seeping into some weaker bodies it seems. The Mister is quite easy to hypnotize we found out one night years ago when attending one of those Bar type shows. We originally came as a bit of fun to watch the people on the stage act like giant washing machines only to find out that Chris, while watching them be put under, also fell to sleep and thus became a highly entertaining part of the show. Ever watch your husband try to give birth on a stage? No? Classic I can tell you! Anyways, it is much like this I find driving with him -painful labor as he gently slips into Kiwi driving mode. His accelerator foot slowly loses weight and a glaze comes over his eyes as he wanders from lane to lane. Yes, he does the hand surfing thing out the window, OY! I try to remind him of his driving roots, as we wander over to the tiny shoulder. Well... "remind" is maybe a kind word to describe my yelling, sighing, and general foot pumping into the floor of my passenger side of the car. The kids singing "Dad! Look out!" from the back seat. The "Force" is strong in young Skywalker unfortunately.