"What's going on here?"
I remember the first time I encountered a four-way stop. My question was aimed at my husband as I slammed on the brakes. Several other cars have pulled up at the other three stop signs at the crossroads. We all seem to be looking at each other.
"Go, go, "screams my husband." It's your turn."
"How do you know?"
"You were first."
Now I like to think I pay attention on the road but asking me in what order four cars arrive at a junction is pushing it a bit. If you're not first, you have to scan the other three roads to see in what order the other cars are arriving. And memorise it. Clearly bonkers.
Canadians have no idea what I am talking about. They think it is the most natural thing in the world to come to a halt, commit to memory the order of four separate cars and then move off when it is their turn. It's beyond me. I yearn for the whitewater world of the roundabout in Britain. My favourite in Newcastle was the Blue House roundabout, especially in rush hour when I used to pride myself on my ability to get over it without ever having to stop.
My Canadian father-in-law once drove us up to Lindisfarne, approaching every roundabout by carefully checking to see if the road was clear before driving on. Only trouble was he was looking left and not in the direction of the approaching traffic.
Stop signs are scattered like confetti all over Montreal. Sorry, arret signs. Driving from my duplex (flat) to the local high street I hit a stop sign about every two seconds. At each one you must pull up to a complete halt- and here's the best bit - even if no other vehicle is on the road for miles. You won't be surprised that Canadians have no trouble being so obedient. Brits aren't quite so good. What is the point of stopping? Can anyone tell me? I feel like people are laughing at me every time I pull up.