I love London. I would never compare it unfavourably to Toronto except in one area: its drivers.
Toronto certainly has its share of lousy drivers but, with the possible exception of tourists, TO car pilots have a skill level that you just don’t see here in great numbers. In Toronto they’ve had to develop a certain defensive attitude and light-speed reaction time to cope with the insanity of traveling in this country’s biggest city. And there’s road rage to avoid. You stay alert to stay alive. Here in the Forest City, not so much.
There is a huge segment of the driving population here that I call IBT – Inexplicable Brake Tappers. They brake for no reason. Instead of gliding along at a reasonable speed they appear to go too fast and then brake over and over again. It’s like crying automotive wolf to those who follow.
My theory about IBTs is that they’re some sort of holdover from when London was a much smaller city. Their driving skills haven’t grown with the city’s population because, well, they haven’t had to. In Toronto becoming an IBT is a very risky way to drive. You could actually get shot.
Yesterday at a Tim Hortons drive-thru, traffic actually snaked out onto the busy road. Regardless, the fool in the little silver car ahead of me was so enamoured with something else that he routinely allowed several car lengths in between his vehicle and the one ahead before inching foward at a speed normally associated with deep reluctance. It was very annoying and needless, especially for the double-double deprived folks left out on the roadway. But I’m trying to assimilate so I didn’t lay on the horn.
I hope to one day find these driving quirks charming but I don’t know if that’s possible. I’ve found it very easy and enjoyable to reduce my life’s speed from frenetic to sensible, to fall in step with my new neighbours. But I do wish they’d pay a little more attention and be a little more courteous to those around them. Where I come from it’s a matter of life and death.