"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Newsflash from New York (no, not that one!) |  Are the British better drivers? |  The Story of the Telephone Kiosk |  Drinking Nelson's Blood |  Screaming Jelly Babies |  Flying to the UK is very dangerous! |  Brits to drive on the right |  Who hung the monkey? |  Upper class virgins |  Double, double trouble |  What a Lovely Morning for a War

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Are the British Better Drivers?

Following my theme of "why do the British drive on the left", I have another theory to put to the test. Are British drivers more skillful than Canadian drivers?

Why should they be? Why should the citizens of one country possess better driving skills than the citizens of any other country? I sat down in my thinking chair with a drop of Nelson's Blood (see yesterday's post) and came up with an answer.

But first, what do I mean by British drivers are better than Canadian drivers? British drivers never have to face the wrath of a February blizzard, or learn the art of braking on a sheet of ice after a freezing rain storm.

OK, this isn't based on any scientific or industry expert study, just my own eyeball observations centred on just two things: observance of traffic signals and the ability to negotiate bends in the road.

First, let's admit it, Canadian drivers run red lights routinely. At every light change, at every intersection in the Greater Toronto Area, a vehicle - and quite often more than one - runs a red light. Secondly, Canadian drivers seem to regard the left hand side of the road and the shoulder as legitimate extensions of their driving lane whenever they encounter even the mildest bend in the road.

In July this year I drove over 2000 miles in Britain and I only saw maybe two cars run a red light. I also witnessed tens of thousands of cars drive skilfully within the confines of the very narrow, winding lanes on British roads.

So why don't British drivers run as many red lights as Canadian drivers? Because there are tens of thousands of traffic cameras watching them almost everywhere they go!

And why do British drivers demonstrate consistently better use of the steering wheel than Canadians, despite their very narrow, winding roads? Canadians have a shoulder at the side of the road (on which plows pile the winter snows), the British do not. In Britain, any excursion over the edge of the road will likely result in a seriously injurious off-road experience. So why might British drivers be better? They don't have any choice, God help them!

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