Posted by: scribe9 | November 17, 2009

More road noise

Driving on the left is getting easier, but the right-of-way rule I mentioned at still gives me pause. This morning, I forgot and turned left without yielding to a woman turning right across my lane. Nope–no crash. When we were both inside the office we were visiting, I apologized. She said she still has to stop and think about the rule. Turns out it was adopted more than thirty years ago, to copy Melbourne–which long since changed back, leaving New Zealand the only country in the world with the rule. Naturally it has its opponents and its staunch defenders. I just hope it doesn’t result in injury to my car’s fenders.

Whenever I turn right, I’m tempted to look over my shoulder to make sure no one’s coming up behind me in the lane to my right; it still doesn’t seem natural to simply look ahead to my right, since that’s where any oncoming traffic will be.

Another habit I haven’t quite made is frequently checking my rearview mirror, because it’s to my left instead of my right. And, borrowing trouble, I can’t help wondering how long it’s going to take me to be comfortable going back to driving on the right.

On a less dangerous topic, many people here have vanity plates.  LISA NZ parks near Mildew Towers every weekday; I assume she works at the hospital just across the back lawn. Free marketers will be glad to know that the New Zealand government contracts out the sale of the plates, and there’s also a secondary market. Right now the two most expensive listings are V8KIWI and KIWIV8 for $1,000,000 and $600,000, respectively. Even with the NZ dollar at 74 cents on the greenback, that’s too steep for me, although their owners indicate a willingness to negotiate.


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