Sunday, May 24, 2015

Brake on - Brake off

A few years ago, we spent a week with friends who live in London in a small village in Yorkshire.  We rented a row house, and Bert rented a car for the week. Driving on the other side of the road is a challenge (I drove in London - once many years ago,) it was nice to have natives doing the driving,  Bert and DB live in London and don't own a car, they rent a car several times a year.  For this trip they rented a French made mid-sized four door, sort of a tiny mini-van type thing.  It was comfortable for four real sized adults.

It had an unusual feature, and electric parking brake.  Now with a manual transmission you use the parking brake, usually a lever on the floor that you pull up and snap down.  I know my car has a parking brake, but with an automatic transmission I don't think I have ever used it. British driver training apparently creates an obsession with parking brakes and the electric parking brake threw Bert for a curve.  At one point, we were parked at the curb, getting ready to go and Bert decided he needed to figure out how the parking brake worked, he was clicking it on and clicking it off, saying "brake on" " brake off'  "brake on"  "brake off".    The last day I was there, he forgot to click the brake off, and discovered that it automatically released, when you let up on the clutch (a feature that Cadillac pioneered before WWII.)

Two other observations of British driving,  a tendency to say "Sorry" with a quick wave at the other driver, and calling out TRACTOR or RABBIT if one was spotted coming the other way or crossing the road.

I wonder what looks odd about our driving to the Brits?

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