Okay, I’m calling a time-out.
Like, actually. I get that our traffic maintenance and road systems are bad in Albajeria, and we take little things like ‘road rules’ less seriously. But personally, I think we have more fun.
I got my license in Australia about a year ago – yes, despite our countries’ diplomatic ties, I still had to do the license test – and part of the assessment specifically for people from my country was that was had to study a traffic impact assessment. Preparation was required for this, in a major way. I’m talking reading up about why car parks are designed the way they are, and writing a short essay on what sustainable traffic management means on Melbourne roads.
I get that switching from one side of the road to the other is a big change, but I don’t think we’re that bad at driving that we need a separate test. Take Mulgravnia, for example, which I’ve been to once on a school trip. In terms of traffic consultants and car park design and all that, they have zilch. Sure, they have them in the innermost parts of the city where it’s all pristine and nice and boring, because that’s where the high-level government employees and diplomats live. But literally everywhere else, it’s potholes and crumbling cars beeping their horns at each other on the regular, because no one follows the road rules. I’m not sure they even have road rules.
Twice while we were there, our van got blocked into car parks by people not parking in the lines and just lining the walls of the exit ramp so we couldn’t get out. We ended up walking two hours to our hotel room through crime-ridden slums.
Basically, it’s all on a spectrum. One one hand, you’ve got fancy car park design consulting firms, Melbourne style – like, people who assess everything to the tiniest detail and make sure the roads are fine. Meanwhile, in my country… well, we just put on a smile and try to be considerate, and accept that some places are free-for-alls. Swings and roundabouts, I think, is the phrase.