I am going to try really hard not to turn this post into a Rant *fingers crossed*
A huge difference between Canada and the UK is, of course, that we drive on the ‘wrong side of the road’ over here. Pre-emigration I had never really driven when we travelled in countries where you drive on the right, we had travelled around a lot but it was always better if I navigated while Husband drove (trust me… we tried it once while off-roading in Wales in the middle of a military firing range, it wasn’t pretty… we lost the track, we argued, we never tried that again)
Anyway, going through all the emigration preparation and I was delighted to find that we didn’t need to pass a road test when changing our driving licenses, phew, one less thing to worry about! Your license has to be exchanged within 30 days so we wandered down to our local Service Ontario office to find out what we need to do, they check our eyesight, take a photo, take our UK licenses and VOILA! we walk out of the offices with a full Ontario driving license, just like that. It’s called a reciprocal license agreement; basically if you live in a country where one of these agreements exists you can exchange your license regardless of your driving history. I walked out with a full license having about 4 minutes of Canadian driving experience in a left hand drive car (on a deserted industrial estate in the middle of the night no less) MENTAL! Having been here a while I now know why driving standards in Canada are pitifully low. That probably accounts for extortionate car insurance too. I am ranting aren’t I? Ooops
Here’s my solution and as an immigrant I can say this without being accused of racism. Don’t hand out driving licenses to immigrants willy nilly! Surely that is obvious… Isn’t it???
I would not have minded having to pay for an hour with a driving instructor before they issued my license if it meant the first time I came to an all way stop sign (totally non-existent in the UK) I might know what to do (OK common sense would tell me to stop but when to start again is another matter) I bought a drivers education handbook to read up on road signs etc but I wonder how many new immigrants do this? So if your listening this Mr. McGuinty / Mr. Harper stop whining about road safety and be a bit more careful about who you give licenses to. As the Meerkats say “Simples!”
Don’t even get me started on roundabouts or the appalling amount of pedestrians killed on the roads in a country where you can turn right on a RED light AND pedestrians get a ‘walk’ sign at the same time. Hmmmmm I wonder why that happens????
Ok, rant over!