Friday, June 27, 2008
Driving in Ireland
We departed from Dublin on Tuesday morning in a car so generously offered by John and set off for Cork. One of our true lifesavers on this trip has been the GPS system in John's car. We'd have been literally lost without it. Sometime we were lost with it, but that's a longer story.
Despite all the warnings given to us about narrow Irish country roads, the road from Dublin to Cork is a standard divided highway where you can get up to a good speed. The limit is 100 kilometers per hour, which is 62 miles per hour. Of course, there's also the problem if driving on the left, which takes some getting used to, but not so much on a divided highway.
In any event, at one point, while passing another car and admittedly exceeding the speed limit...a bit, I heard a police siren. Oh God! At that same moment, the car behind me started flashing its lights. While it didn't look like a police car, I assumed it was an unmarked car. So, I began to slow down and look for a place to pull over. As I did so, I was rehearsing my speech to the police officer in my head. "I'm just visiting from the states. My first time driving in Ireland. I'm Boston Irish Catholic. I really hate the British. Etc., etc. etc."
My first inclination was to pull over to the right, but there was no shoulder, of course, since that's the passing lane. The shoulder is on the left. All the while I'm going slower and the car in back is flashing its lights more frantically. Once I got my bearings, I moved into the left lane heading for the correct shoulder. The car in back just zoomed past me, honking his horn as he passed and, I imagine, gesturing toward me.
As it turned out, the siren came from the GPS, which helpfully monitors your speed. The car behind me was flashing his lights to get me to either speed up or get out of the way. So, when I, in fact, slowed down, it apparently enraged him.
So, even among the even-tempered Irish, there is road rage.