19 July 2008

Traffic Confusion

The BIG day is coming soon. A week from today, in fact. That's the day we take the first part of our driving exam--the theory part. Please be praying with us about this! There are 50 multiple choice questions for the first part of the test, then a hazard perceptions part, which at this point is utterly confusing to me. They show you a clip like you are driving down the road and you have to click the mouse when you see potential hazards. Can't click the mouse too soon or too late or you won't get full credit. And some of the hazards progress/change and you have to know when to click again. Sounds confusing, huh? This afternoon I'm going to practice with a DVD we bought on-line to help you learn how to take hazard perceptions part and do well. Let's hope it works.

So we've been studying for the multiple choice portion of the test for at least a month now and are feeling more confident, but at the beginning we were also confused the terminology they use for various things. Here are some names/words/phrases I jotted down each time Mark and I were studying and looked at each other and said "What in the world is that?"

Level crossing - railroad crossing
Motor slipway - exit and entrance ramps to the "motorway" (i.e. highway)
T-junction - dead end road, have to turn left or right (this one makes sense!)
National Speed Limit - well, it's obvious what this is, but the sign is just a white circle with a big black line/bar through it. Not very informative. Plus, the speed limit changes according to what type of vehicle you are driving and what road you are on (the chart contains 20 different possibilities)
Dipped headlights - We had to ask "the locals" about this. They must have laughed when they left our house! These are just your average lights you use at night, low-beam, I guess is what we'd call it. "Dipped" from "main beam" (high-beam).
Side lights - Again, asked about this, we think we've understood they are parking lights, the lowest setting of lights.
Central reservation - the median, or middle portion of the road between the opposite lanes of traffic.
Lay-by on road - still don't know what this is! Maybe a side road?
Clearway/Urban clearway - Also trying to understand exactly what the definitions of these are and how they differ from all the other type of roads.
Amber - yellow, as in Red, AMBER, Green. :)
Box junction - Cris cross yellow lines on the road in an area where you aren't supposed to stop when traffic is backed-up (so that pedestrians can cross if the light changes colors)
Single (or dual) carriageway - 2 lane road (or 4 lane road)
Ring road - bypass or loop around the city

Number of crossings they have: 4 -- Zebra, pelican, puffin and toucan. Not sure what's up with the animal names. Wish they would just have one name and one type. Still don't have these all the way memorized yet. VERY confusing to us!

Our favorite word used to describe being blinded by on-coming lights when driving at night is "dazzle." ("You must not use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users") Dazzle is fairly descriptive, isn't it?

Believe it or not, the two signs shown here do NOT mean the same thing, as one would think. The round one on the left means "ahead only" and the rectangular one on the right (sorry, couldn't find a better photograph!) means "one way." Slight difference...enough to warrant two similar looking signs. The "no waiting" and "no stopping" signs resemble each other too, but I'm pretty sure both mean "no parking."

If any doubt lingers in your mind that the driving standards here are a bit more rigorous or the tests more thorough, I give you this story, a 62 year old woman who took 27 YEARS to pass her exam! Do you see now why we need your prayers?!

1 comment:

Ronnica said...

Wow, that IS confusing! You would think that such things would be a little more universal, especially since we speak the same language!