The Upside of Driving in London

Recently I took London drivers to task for not being as skilled as Toronto drivers.  Well, this week I found something London drivers have that Toronto drivers don’t: manners.

More than a year ago, I blogged about a BMW driving jerk who blasted his horn at a little old lady who hadn’t quite made it across the street by the time the light changed.  This addled a-hole couldn’t find it in his empty soul to wait a few seconds until she safely mounted the curb. Instead, he startled the daylights out of her and nearly ran her down.  That was in downtown Toronto at Bloor and Sherbourne.

This week, at a similarly busy London intersection, two little old ladies got a bit confused.  One was using a walker and the other was holding onto the first one’s arm for balance.  They were frail little women, to be sure.  As the light turned green for four lanes of traffic to go, the grannies set out in front of us at a snail’s pace.  They  had it backwards, of course, because it was our turn to travel.  But something astonishing happened.  No one moved a muscle.  No one honked.  No one gestured or swore or acted all frustrated and put out by having to wait an extra few seconds while they shuffled across the street.  In fact, all lanes of traffic stayed stopped until the women were safely on the other side and then away we all went with no squealing tires and no signs of anything but resigned patience.  It was a beautiful moment! 

Further along, the traffic signals were out.  In Toronto, it’s every driver for him or herself as most simply sail through the intersection and expect others to stop for them.  Everyone knows the law says to treat such an intersection as a four way stop but that protocol is usually ignored, in my experience.  Not here.  Everyone from cab drivers to truckers took their proper turn after coming to a full stop.  It was the way it was supposed to be and I could hardly believe my eyes!

The trade-off is totally worth it.  I’d rather follow a few more brake riders than go back to the land of disrespect. No wonder this place feels like my home.