As you may know, roadshow and car fiction are part of an Anglo American conglomeration of vehicle roads and tech coverage from CNET.
As a result, we get a fair number of questions from you about what’s it like to drive on the other side?
Maybe you’re going there on a trip you want to know about the rules of the road.
What’s it like to get a rental car?
Where are the good roads?
We get a lot of those questions too.
We decided it’s time to sit down and sort this all out and give you a really good sort of a audio and visual Handbook of how this all works and I couldn’t think of a better expert from the other side of the Atlantic.
I hate that phrase the pond this fast.
That’s drew Stern, and drew is executive producer at road show.
He’s also the managing editor of car affection.
So he has spent a lot of time out on beautiful roads, not just in the UK, also here in America, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time driving roads, particularly in England, a little bit in Scotland, so we’ve got some cross pollinating knowledge.
So Drew, let’s start off with the question people like to ask it’s kind of fun and it’s quite different.
What’s the difference in speed laws.
Tell me about the speed limits.
In the UK.>> I’m in the UK we generally have 30 miles an hour for urban environments, years.
Central City locations and suburban areas fairly common anywhere with street lighting and sidewalks nearby.
Although there’s very much a push to lower that to 20, and a lot of areas went 20 miles an hour, yeah, especially in your schools and anywhere where there might be children, but normally and central London especially, they’re really pushing hard.
The London mayor is pushing hard to move the speed limit down to 20.
Which To be fair, if you’re getting 20 miles an hour in central London, you’re doing okay.
Is not gonna be that much of a restriction.
Outside of that it’s 50 miles an hour for what we call dual carriageway close to the old kind of belt way, kind of saying two lanes each way, but still close to a built up areas.
That’s mainly a noise thing.
Then we have a 60 mile an hour limit.
That’s our national speed limit for country roads that are single lane and then it goes up to 70 miles an hour for what we call the motorway, so like a freeway or the highway.
And those are Rigid they don’t change anywhere in the country.
Interesting here in the US, if you’re coming over, you’re going to find a much greater fractured variation, as I’m sure you’ve noticed drew of speed limits, they vary.
First of all the top limit, if we wanna take it from there, it’ll vary by United States state.
So in Texas for example, It’s famous for having a few stretches of highway even though they are federal highways.
That are part of the government system, the national system.
They’re able to set their own speed limits by state, and in Texas, they’ve got some, I think that are still up to 80, maybe 85.
If I’m not mistaken, they’re obviously legendary, but they’re wide open spaces in big country, of course.
Typically, we’re known for our 55 mile per hour speed limit at the highest end, although that increasingly has lots and lots of exceptions.
55 came back from the days in the 70s.
And we had the fuel crisis over here due to geopolitics.
And so we thought we got to save fuel.
Let’s get everyone’s speed down.
And it’s been an incredible irritant ever sent to motor enthusiasts.
You know, Sammy Hagar is I can’t drive 55 is just one example of the national outrage.
And when you get down to the smaller roads that are more in town, it’s 15 20, 25 30, 35 40, 45 50.
Every one of those is possible to see because local towns set those as well.
So our takeaway is completely scattered in the US.
You’ve got a whole lot more clarity in the UK.
If you exceed the speed limit.
As I’ve learned the hard way, it’s very likely you’re going to see some flashing lights and that doesn’t mean flashing lights from a police car like here in the US.
You’ve got cameras.
Yeah, almost exclusively.
In all of my years of driving in the UK.
I’ve never been pulled over for speeding.
In fact, I don’t really know many people who have been pulled over for speeding it does happen.
It’s just highly infrequent.
We don’t deploy police to really do that.
They will pull you over for dangerous driving but not so much for speeding.
The speed cameras we have are prolific.
They are very well spread out over the country.
There’s generally two different kinds.
There’s the straightforward, you pass this camera at the speed that exceeds the speed limit.
It will flash and take a picture of you.
And then there’s a second type which is an average speed limit camera over a given distance, you may have pile after pile after pile, maybe separated by a couple of hundred yards.
Each Each have a camera and if you exceed the average, if your average speed between any of those two points exceeds the speed limit, you can get fined.
Those are far more common to get caught by as you could be inclined to speed and slow down when you see a camera, as the position of all of those cameras is.
That’s opening information that any Sat Nav user can program into their site over things that ways already come with it pre programmed for us so we know exactly where they are.
They’re not allowed to be hidden.
They have to be painted in bright colors.
And you usually get warning signs that they’re coming so if you get caught by them, you’ve really only got yourself to blame.
What a complete difference here in the US Getting pulled over is just part of the culture.
You see people almost every day you drive in a populous area, you’re gonna see people pulled over the side of the road with a police officer and the lights are going in.
It’s usually a speeding ticket.
This is just a common us thing, a ticket and we always mean speeding ticket by that.
So that’s a huge difference there.
We have some cameras.
They’re typically red light cameras in the US, they catch you blowing through a red light at an intersection.
And that’s kind of a different purpose.
I don’t think we have any speed averaging technology at all that always amazes me.
When I’m driving in the UK, and I see the signage that says, you know, there’s a speed averaging cameras I guess it was a certain icon they use on a sign, That lets you know that’s the kind of cameras you’re driving through.
And I go Wow, that is so that’s like a little bit of AI.
It’s not it’s computational speed limit enforcement.
We’re here we’re still getting poor cops driving around in the rain in the snow pulling you over.
Writing a ticket on a paper book, you still sign it with a pan.
It’s like you’re going back to the 50s here.
[SOUND] There’s a real discipline about passing or I guess you call it overtaking.
And the idea that there’s a very clear regimen of this lane is high speed.
This lane is the lowest and you give way to people.
The high speed lane when they’re coming up behind you.
Do you agree you’ve got a real good discipline there or do you get also frustrated by people that are hogging or clogging the fast lane?
In the UK, I’d only say we have Strong lean discipline compared to the US, I think that’s the only country where I would, because there’s so much for culture and passing on any given side where you just get round traffic however you can.
There is a very fixed system.
The rules are not taught properly in the UK.
So there are those drivers who are very
Passionate about the rules that you should always stick with obviously driving the left so you should always be in the leftmost lane which is the number one lane people call it the slow lane, not called the slow lane so number one lane then there’s the overtaking lane and the second overtaking lane, but people call it slow, medium and fast.
And so everyone thinks I’m driving fast so I should be in the fast lane.
You get a lot of people who do not understand the system.
If everything goes right, it can work but it’s incredibly frustrating.
The Germans are excellent at it.
It’s this perfect discipline.
When you’re on the continent, especially in Germany, Switzerland, you’ll find that there is almost like we’re all talking to each other and coordinating this beautiful speed differential road ballet.
Yeah, I think it’s because it’s it’s taught to a certain degree.
And especially in Germany, if you imagine you’re driving on the Autobahn and you think you’re going pretty quick doing maybe 80 or 90 miles an hour, there could be a Porsche 911 Turbo S coming up behind you doing 160 and that distance is gonna close real fast.
If you don’t need to be in that outside lane.
No one wants to.
Because there will be people driving a lot faster.
So you learn quite quickly to be disciplined.
If you’re coming over here from the UK or from the continent, you’re going to find it’s completely chaotic in terms of lane speed discipline.
There is a fast lane slow lane mentality.
But people plug up the fast lane all the time doing not just the speed limit, but even below it, which is incredibly frustrating.
And you’ll find people that are passing it in our country on the right.
Which is the slow side of a multi lane road and it’s all completely hodgepodge.
So when you come to the US and you’re driving, please do not rely on the fact that there’s going to be a lot of discipline about those lanes because you may end up in a situation where you’re in either in a panic, slow down.
You’ve got someone crawling up behind you and you go I’m in the slow lane.
What do you want?
People will do it’s it’s it’s just poor discipline out here, which I think brings us now to our next subject area which is licensing and registration.
In the United States, even we know that getting a driver’s license here is about as complicated as.
You know tearing a box top off a box of cereal, sending it in with a $2 check as we used to say.
It’s almost for idiots.
Do you feel you’ve got good licensing regimens there?
When I took my license, and this is a while ago, there were three separate tests that you have to take.
There’s a practical test which in itself is not a given that you’ll pass that.
I like to think of myself as a competent driver and I failed mine three times.
I passed on my fourth attempt.
So that’s got to be a pretty significant test.
Because the practical test we have here, you know, you take it when you get your license the first time when you’re, 16 is typical here in the US.
It’s pretty hard to fail you Everyone knows someone who failed the first time but that’s usually the person who can’t even stir a pot of soup.
So we know that they have you know mechanical sorta discord nation issues, but then you’re not tested again until probably when you’re at they may bring you in for another practical and in the middle.
You’re just taking a test about road loss.
Yeah, we have a theory test that you have to do as well and an additional hazard perception test, where, that’s a fully digital interactive film where you watch, where you have to identify hazards that are Being shown in this kind of POV film of someone driving you have to identify cars pulled over at the side, someone indicating you have to be able to identify each of those hazards.
Those are relatively easy, although I do know people who have failed any of those, but also you have to take your test in a car Either manual or automatic that will define your license.
If you take your test in an automatic car you are not licensed in the UK to drive a manual car and if you have a manual license, you can drive both but only if you You have taken your test in a manual.
Okay to complete differences there.
So we do not have the hazard perception test that’s completely new to me.
We have a vision test but that’s like reading an eye chart and then that whole licensing by transmission type, nothing like that you can march in there, take a test in an automatic turn around and go by a manual car and bucking he that thing off the lot and pray for good luck.
So that’s a huge difference there.
Let’s talk about the license plate and registration world here in the US.
You register your car again with a state authority, kind of like our speed limits are set by each of the 50 states and you go to your Department of Motor Vehicles.
Goals that is part of your state’s apparatus for government.
You guys have something called the mot is that right and
The mot and the DVLA and the DVLA is more responsible for vehicle registration.
That’s that’s more close to our DMV.
And they they they regulate the registration of cars and it’s it’s quite regimented.
The UK registration plates, they’re uniform across the entire country.
They don’t differ by region.
There’s a very tight parameter that those license plates have to fall within in terms of design.
In fact, there’s part of that is European Union legislation where you’re.
To find consistency and shape between every single country in the European Union in terms of the dimensions and the type of font that’s used as consistent across all those countries.
In fact, we also have a instead of a state indicator that you’d have on in the US we have a small nationality indicator on every numberplate.
We’re everywhere in Europe you’re obliged to have number plates.
Four and a half on a car you can just have one or the other.
There is also an mot mot test that is a vehicle dependency test after three years of cars age every year has to be tested.
We call that the mot.
You have to have that done every year costs about 5060 pounds and get tested to get a certificate that only lasts that year.
That’s so when we talk about mot that’s what we’re referring to.
We have that in some American states.
Again, not totally consistent, like I’m here in California, a very populous state of course.
We do not have anything like an mot.
You can drive a car till it’s falling apart and no one’s gonna know.
Other states do have a safety test, Texas For example is a big state in the US that does have a safety test program.
I don’t recall how frequently you have to do it.
What we do have that we started here in California was the regular smog test, which we do every other year, at least here in California.
And every every other year that you re register your car, you’ve got to take it into a certified shop where they verify that it’s still meeting emission standards for the year of manufacture of your car.
That’s a tailpipe test and it’s run on a dyno or rev the engine up some simple tests, and they also do a visual inspection under the hood to make sure you haven’t removed any equipment.
So even if your car is meeting emission standards and it’s clean as it needs to be, if you removed any equipment like a smog pump or anything else Major modifications to an air intake what have you, all of those will flagging you don’t get registered.
And it’s pretty easy if you have an aggressively modified car to wind up in this with what we call a referee.
Hell, you have to go to a referee and say look, I brought this car in from England.
I imported it from Canada.
It doesn’t have US small gear I can’t put it on.
But it’s meeting standards.
I’ve tuned it or can I just get a waiver that lets me have this car but collectors here in California and a few others Are tightly regulated states have had issues where they will buy a car and they cannot register it in California.
They either have to get rid of the thing, or what they do is they register it in a nearby state with looser laws.
[SOUND] You’re telling me you can decode quite a bit when you see a UK license plate.
What do you see on those?
Yes, there’s there’s the easy part.
You can tell from the last two digits on a, or on the earliest digits on the car in what.
Year it was registered.
So for the first half of the year for 2020, for example, they will be registered as 20.
It will say 20 on the number plate, and then in the second half of the year it will say seven 70 So last year that would have been 19 and then in the second half of the year would be 69.
So the every six month periods that refreshes so the time when the car was first registered, you can tell from that When it was so we can date cars fairly accurately.
In addition to that there’s a more secret hidden code.
There’s a two letter preface on each number plate that actually refers to the region of the UK where it was registered.
There are loads of those.
So each individual office where that can be registered will have its own code.
Therefore, I know there’s one in Kent which is gn so if you’re in One part of Kent you’ll see more car sitters number plate, start with GN that’s a bit harder to decode.
It’s a much longer list of memories, but you can immediately tell from a new car’s licence plate, which six month period it was registered in.
So there’s like a secret story in the first First part, I didn’t know any of that.
I didn’t know the date, I didn’t know the regionality, in the US it’s the default plate again, we have vanities also.
But the default plates again, they’re all issued by states, each of the 50.
And they are essentially an odometer.
So the current sequence in California because we have so many cars is a numeral we’re currently in the numeral eight, and then you’ve got.
Three letters, and then you’ve got three numbers.
And those basically just all keep incrementing across that odometer, one more each time until we use up that range and then we click over the far left digit, it’ll go to nine one day, and then we start doing the odometer again It’s a very simple system.
As a result, it doesn’t tell you much unless you’re a licence plate buff.
You really follow this stuff and you can say, 7SRB.
That’s probably a given month or a year generally, but it doesn’t tell you that it’s suggest that and only if you’re a licence plate buff, which is a whole different subculture, so our licence plates are relatively meaningless, except they tell you what state and of course we have our stickers.
How do you guys update your registration on the plate?
Well until quite recently your that would be done through our road tax and you’d actually get a stamp which everyone would had a plastic holder in their windshield and you’d have to have that updated and it would sit In your windshield it would say when it runs out, it’s very clear it’s color coded so any traffic officer could see if it’s green or purple that might still be in here, but if it’s blue or yellow, it’s definitely expired.
That, Was the system until a couple of years ago.
Now it’s all digital all online.
It’s all in the background registered behind your number plate and there is nothing visually you need to update on your car to maintain it as currently registered.
It’s all in the cloud.
I love you people.
I really do.
That’s so [LAUGH] Much better than what we do.
We still use stickers in the upper right corner of a plate.
I think that’s in any state in the US.
It’s a kind of an agreement between the department’s of motor vehicles.
And on some older cars, I’ve got a 67 mercury out in the garage and I haven’t had it since it was new.
I’ve had it since 96.
It’s almost a point of pride where you keep applying each year sticker on top of the other sticker to see how tall a stack of decals you can get.
[LAUGH] And so someone who’s had a car forever they’ve got like this quarter inch thick stack of stickers on top of each other.
You guys hate Trump plates as much as we do.
We’ve never not had So it’s not something anyone really thinks of.
In fact, our eyes seeing a car without one on the front, it triggers something because if we see that in the UK that cars probably been stolen, or someone’s doing something they shouldn’t, or it’s fallen off.
And cars are just sold with a holder built in.
And it can sometimes upset the design of a car I mean the new BMW four series with that gigantic grille.
It draws even more attention to it when you put a bright yellow licence plate across the front just draws more attention into that area.
But we don’t Think they’re a problem.
You can buy yourself a brand new supercar and you just accept that it has to have a front licence plate.
It’s not something that we worry too much about cuz everyone has to, it’s just a universal rule.
That’s quite different cuz certainly car enthusiasts here really bristle at front plates.
I think part of it is because our plates as you pointed out are narrow and tall.
They look like a loaf of bread for some reason that form factor really just sticks out in a car.
I think the wider lower sleeker ones that you’ve got, you’ve always had that form factor and even more so now under EU harmonization, it just seems to fit with the fact that a cars face is kind of a horizontal place or your place, always yellow Yes they are there is there in the UK that’s a UK specification in a lot of other countries that are white.
But pretty much white or yellow are the only two variants that we have.
Okay, so where do the wise buy a speed yellow Porsche?
And you know you’ve automatically got a pretty good blend.
Let’s talk about the roads.
First thing I noticed when I’m in your country is so many great Small roads and no one is trying to make them wider.
Do you realise how many good little roads you have or you just take it for granted?
We definitely take it for granted.
I think there’s doing this job you definitely appreciate a good stretch of roads.
However it comes to you and we and we call them our be roads.
We classify our roads like a roads are very small rural roads B roads are slightly more flowing higher speed national speed limit roads.
And then you’ve got your motorways and and B roads are the perfect blend.
We do take it for granted frankly but they are a great opportunity to do Because the curves are countryside, they’re always undulating.
They’re always flowing.
They always go through great scenery.
You’re always close to hedges and maybe Flint walls so you get a better perception of speed.
And you know, the job that we do we’re always trying to look for new locations are always scouting for great little driving roads and.
When we go to the US is a lot more freeway, huge amount of time spent driving anywhere even when you’ve got a road like the PCH, it’s frustrating to take it because if you’re trying to get somewhere on there it takes way longer than actually just taking the freeway in the same direction.
So they are few and far between in the US It seems we do have a lot of them, but I think when you get a spectacular one like you do in the US, they are.
They are worth it for their rarity.
Yeah, we do have some very cinematic roads here.
Certainly in a country this big we have a lot of different areas to find those kinds of roads but I think the thing we lack more I mean, I’m generalising here everyone’s gonna be screaming wait in my area, you should see some of the little roads But it’s so easy in any part of England or Scotland that I’ve been to, in my, let’s say half a dozen driving trips to find little roads that I think are I’m thinking of a roads from your description that are so narrow that if a horse comes the other way We’ve got a problem someone’s going to have to drive over into the weeds and i always think I’m on some old Roman, you know, aren’t a soldier track here.
And then me Roman roads actually that is that’s actually very true that we have a lot of roads that are built on the architecture of old Roman roots.
That’s that’s not an impossibility..
And they are just so great to drive but for the American, if you’re going over and you’re gonna want to drive great little roads, no, they are really little roads, not narrow two lane roads like we think of in the US over here.
That’s a big deal.
And you’re going to have a real limited lack of visibility because you might be driving almost down a slide.
And you’re sighted up, but they’re fantastic and the and you always come across a little village, you’re never more than about 10 miles away from another little village somewhere in this interesting network almost like a neuronal network of all these little towns where America tends to be more linear.
We build things up around our highways and so there isn’t quite as much of a scattering of interesting places to go.
Now on the other side of the road thing, I don’t want to spend too much time on this.
Everyone knows we drive on a different side of the road, which means you’re also on the other side of the car.
Do you have any philosophy about which is right?
I’m well over relatively unique perspective on it in that I’m British and I was born in Britain, but I grew up on the continent.
So when I was growing up, people drove on the right but my mom had an imported VW Polo from the UK.
So she drove a right hand drive car on the right.
And my dad’s drove.
On the right to be in a left hand drive car.
So I’ve seen both, I’ve driven both I’ve driven every combination that you can imagine.
And it gets the point where you get fully ambidextrous about it.
So I feel it’s an even playing field to kind of say, which I think is better.
And although so the argument could go you drive on the right hand side of the road, so your left hand drive so you get to shift gear with your right hand.
If you drive a manual, you’re Your right hand might be stronger.
My argument would be it’s better to keep your stronger hand on the wheel, so that your left hand is free to do with small things the radio the H fac shifting gear which requires coordination, but not necessarily strength.
When you go to England and you rent a car, realize that a lot of things change you’re on the other side of the road.
You’re on the other side of the car.
The gearshift is in your other hand, typically, it’s going to be your non dominant hand.
Most people are right handed.
The clutch pedal is now up against the transmission tunnel.
Whereas usually you’re used to the gas pedal being up against the tunnel.
So in terms of where you have a foot resting, that’s different.
And of cause, you’ve got a door against your right elbow which is going to feel weird as opposed to a console there.
And it’s over here.
Instead, there’s about five or six different sensory inputs.
It’s not just what side of the car I’m on and what side of the road I’m on a whole bunch of little inputs you get about how the car is doing and how my interfacing with it are completely thrown up in the air.
It’s really fatiguing.
I find your first day in country.
And then like you say, drew you you you were raised ambidextrous, but I don’t think it takes more than maybe a day driving in the other countries mode.
Still the next morning when you get up on day two, it’s like okay, I got this it usually feels pretty comfortable then.
you’re right about the sensory thing that it is.
It just feels weird.
It’s like a new pair of shoes.
You have to look out for things for like traffic approaching from a different directions.
You have to consider your blind spot might be more exposed on the right then is on the left, or left and right depending on which way you’re going.
And moving from left to right in which country, those little things you’ll get caught out once or twice.
Nothing catastrophic Lee and then you just get used to it.
You feel pretty Pretty proud of yourself after you after a week of driving a manual in another country and one of the other countries and by the end of it you’re really fluent then it’s like okay, pretty good I I can drive a manual and I can drive a manual.
I got it down both ways.
I do want to finish up our road section here.
With right turn on red.
You guys don’t do that.
No, it’s something that we’re quite in awe of at a large intersection.
The idea for us the equivalent would be turning left on a red light
Everywhere in the world.
I’ve never known a country outside of the US to do this.
They’re never optional.
They’re always you stop.
There is no way that you are breaking the law.
If you go through a red light, the idea of being able to.
You’ll make a judgment and not actually it’s safe to turn right here.
When you think about it on a very large junction, that right turn for you guys is very short, it’s very short distance and the car coming from the left would have to travel a long distance and a big open intersection.
It makes sense the intersections, we have here.
So, the distance a car would have to travel in our case from the right, as you’re turning left is much smaller and if they’re approaching at speed, that distance would just be, too small to be able to make an accurate judgment.
So, Although we are very jealous of that fact, I can understand why we don’t have and that’s just a sense of scale and the roads or roads are too compact for that to be a safe thing to do.
And there’s no ticket coming.
Yeah, it’s interesting, and here in the US if you want to get into an advanced class of right on red, wait till you get to an intersection where you have to right turn only lanes.
And then you get into this whole idea can I turn right on red from both because the one that’s on the left among the two right lanes really feels weird because now you’re turning left, right out into the middle of the intersection as opposed to hugging.
The right hand corner and that’s a whole nother thing but I agree with you the scale of the roads i think is dictated a completely different behaviour in how the regulators have set up our country.
So now let’s turn to the cars.
First off I there’s a million things we can talk about the cars what’s available different models.
You get the great Ford’s we get the lessor forwards, on and on and on.
I don’t wanna go into that because we’ll be here for days.
I wanna talk about just a few interesting quirks, one of which is window tint.
In the US, we have Window Tint laws, but I’ll tell you, nobody cares.
They go for almost jet black.
It’s the look these days in most parts of America, and they don’t care that that’s illegally dark.
How much is that enforced in your area?
We have a rule about it.
Number one, it’s not as popular as it is in the US, but it’s also less enforced.
So you can have it from the factory specs in your car to have quite tinted windows on the passenger side on the driver side and as long as they adhere to the to that Spec it doesn’t go for the windscreen, the windscreen, they’re far more strict on the side windows even for the passenger, front and back you can have them pretty dark and it’s a very rare thing for anyone to get pulled up on.
There is a machine that sits in traffic police Carry in case they see someone where it looks dangerous, but it’s an incredibly rare occurrence for anyone to get pulled over on it.
It’s just not as not a bigger deal in the UK where people don’t feel like they need to have that Windows tinted equally.
Law enforcement doesn’t see it so much as a threat to have a car with tinted windows.>> When you buy a car, a new car In the UK, are you typically buying it off the lot?
It’s already sitting there are you typically ordering and waiting for it?
There are occasions where people go and they’re able to get to deal with a car off the lot, but you have to remember again, countries are on a smaller scale.
Car lots are smaller.
They don’t have that kind of half a mile wide store frontage, by the side of the freeway where you have thousands of cars sitting in stock,
you must be pretty surprised when you certainly when you first got started coming here and saw US car dealerships, they’re they’re amazingly huge.
They’re like villages.
It’s it’s vast, I mean My first experience of that was in Texas.
I used to spend a lot of time in Texas and it was the size of flags that they would hang outside.
And they were so big, your sense of scale was skewed because everything was just so much bigger.
You thought you were closer than you were to it.
I was still very far away.
We don’t have anything like that.
So you’ll have the largest dealerships will be a fraction of the size or more frequently people will.
Want to spec their car exactly how they want it and now especially because a lot more people are buying new cars on payment plans and on credit which was less, less popular.
For a while and is now becoming more popular, those people want exactly the car that they want.
So it’s far more useful using configurators on sites and ordering it.
When you buy said car, you take it home and now you have to insure it.
Here in the US our insurance will be kind of three parts what part of it insures me for doing anything dumb.
That’s what we call liability.
Part of it will insure the car in a crash against damage we call that collision, and then part of it will insure the car for everything else damage like theft or vandalism or something falls on it.
We call that comprehensive.
And then you also have a portion of your policy that covers other people’s medical bills if you injure them.
So we kind of have four components into a typical policy that I get.
It’s my policy, what is your insurance look like?
So you can drive a car that’s the lowest entry level just third party that only insurance other people’s property.
And we don’t necessarily worry as much about the health care costs because we have nationalised health care.
That’s not as big an issue.
But you could still be sued for for damages that’s covered by third party.
You drive into someone’s house that’s covered by third party.
Your car isn’t Their houses, then you get third party fire and theft.
That’s one step up from that, where if your car catches fire or it’s stolen name kind of says it all, and then you get comprehensive.
Comprehensive just means I’m insured.
The car is insured everything in it.
Everyone’s insured and that’s 111 policy.
But that only ensures that one person to drive one car, you can have another person added on just for that car.
You can’t lend your car to someone else.
They wouldn’t be insured even though they’re insured on their car.
If you swapped cars, you wouldn’t have They’ll no longer be insured on either car.
It’s very much locked in to who you are, what your car is, and the premises that you’ve given your insurer about how you use that car.>> That’s completely different than here where as you probably know, I can drive and Any car I can borrow my neighbor’s car.
I easily can go rent a car, they don’t question my insurance.
I can go just about do anything in any car and that liability protection that other person’s medical injuries protection that I have that follows with me.
So that’s a radical difference people should be aware of that you have a combination of your insured with this car.
Whereas in the US they’re more decoupled.
I’m insured with cars generally over here.
Speaking of renting cars where insurance often comes up, I got to say and renting a car in the US is incredibly easy.
If you’re coming over here, you’ll find that we’re all about speed of experience.
In many cases, you literally just get off the little bicycle rental lot.
You see your name on a board, you walk over to that slot, the keys are already in it and you drive away just waving your license at a guard.
Every time I’ve rented a car in England or Scotland.
It’s been painful.
This is long looking at all these documents maybe it’s because I’m from another country.
But you know it’s the US and then we go walk around the car.
We examine it for all this damage.
This never happens in the US.
Do you find car rental to be PDFs on one side or the other.
There’s a combination of reasons for that.
One is the insurance reason that you are taking out the temporary insurance policy when you rent a car, because you won’t be covered by anything that you already have.
So there’s there’s a reason there to be insured and because you’re now liable On that insurance policy for damage to the car, you want to make sure that you’ve inspected it.
But there’s also the fact that it’s much rarer to rent cars.
We don’t have the huge industry of car rentals that is available in the US.
I don’t know whether that comes from air travel domestically being such a big deal in the US you’re frequently finding yourself in a city.
And you might need transportation or whether it’s also to do with the fact that the public transportation needs in each city might very heavily or might not exist at all and the distances you need to travel are longer, and that public transportation just doesn’t fill those needs and therefore a car rental Is far more needed and therefore the process had to be sped up.
We’re getting quicker at the drop off part, though, not used to be the same but in reverse.
like you’d walk around it, you’d go through all the forms and check everything off.
Now it’s getting closer to that us system where you just drive in, Chuck the keys at someone and run and hope you pulled all your bags out.
Let’s finish with the thing everyone loves to gripe about.
The price of gas slash petrol slash fuel.
You have your tax system and we have ours.
How does the cost of a gallon of petrol get?
Dude, whatever the cost is how’s that added up?
The vast majority of it is tax or what we will call duty on the on the patch or the vast majority of it.
And in fact, that duty varies just so that the oil price variance moderates the price of petrol, but it does fluctuate and it does go up at the moment we’re paying about one pound 24 That’s per liter.
So that’s I mean the difference between dollars and pounds fluctuates just as much and the tax rate so it’s not quite apples for apples for apples.
Plus Also, our frozen converted to gallons or gallons are different from your gallons that’s
That we have different gallons and then the liter two gallon is about four to one, I think
And then you’ve got a different gallon.
We on top of that,
Yeah we have a thing called an imperial gallon and you have different got I forget what it is.
So it can fluctuate from being as much as twice as much that we pay.
Yeah, for our fuel quite easily.
it fluctuates just depending on
Exchange rates but it is a lot more and that’s relatively consistent across all of Europe we use less we travel less distance in our cars.
We have traditionally always earned on the sides smaller, more efficient cars.
So though our fuel costs more, we tend to use less of it.
So we have two taxes on each gallon of gas.
As you mentioned, we pay last we have a large volume market.
And there’s I’m not going to get into the whole world of how it’s subsidized and how the industry works.
That’s someone else’s expertise.
But you’ll see the price on the pump.
It’s per US gallon so you just understand that and of course we are in the miles per gallon mentality here.
Where you rate cars efficiency on litres per 100 kilometres?
Well on the continent yes so they how many litres used per hundred kilometres travelled and that is useful that is very easy to calculate and that is a precise number.
In the UK it’s a mess.
We sell fuel by the litre We measure our distances in miles, and we measure our fuel efficiency by miles per gallon.
Now we might buy it by the liter but measure it in miles per gallon.>> That’s awesome.
I didn’t realize that what an absolute complete copy of figures.
The UK is officially a metric country.
So officially in schools, they teach kids metric.
But then you go out on the road, all the dollar signs are in feet and yards and miles or yards and miles, which is very confusing that never got changed.
And our fuel is measured in miles per gallon, even though we buy it by the liter.
No one has ever given me a satisfactory answer for why we didn’t change.
When we stopped selling by an imperial unit.
Yeah, here in the US we buy in gallons.
We travel in miles and our cars are rated by miles per gallon.
So we have a big advantage there at least in terms of some degree of cohesion.
There is the argument though there’s a little bit of a difference when you measure Miles per gallon, quantity sorry, distance for quantity versus the other system.
It’s used on the continent, which is quantity per distance.
And I think mathematically that’s a little more accurate and it reflects efficiency differently when you look at it after all these decades and all these generations do people in England and the UK feel fuel is expensive.
Yes, I mean, we there was a kind of a fuel crisis about 10 years ago, and that’s when we first kind of jumped past that one pound barrier.
And that was a psychological barrier that when we pass that it felt you now paying one pound per liter of fuel and that felt like a big, big leap.
And then you know, now it’s crept up, it’s 20%, higher 25% higher than it was then.
People do feel it’s high.
But we’re also, we have and this is especially true in London we have an exceptionally competent infrastructure of public transport your buses and what we call the tube for the underground the subway, overground trains.
That network is fairly comprehensive and so that if you live in an urban area and most.
Suburban areas you can absolutely get by without a car.
People complain about it.
People are more likely to complain about the cost of beer frankly than the cost of fuel.
In terms of people who complain about fuel or is the industry is transportation, complain about that.
They see that as a tax on their industry and those are the people who are most vocal about fuel costs.
tradesmen people who for their living have to drive a lot.
Not so much.
Yeah, not so much in the cars.
Because everyone else has, like you mentioned, everyone else has great transit options.
So if fuel gets too expensive, I’ve easily got away to get there some other manner and unless you’re in New York.
In the United States in New York City, we just really don’t know that kind of transit and in terms of you guys blowing through the the one pound mental sort of line, you know, we’ve gone through many of those when I was starting driving gasoline was 35 cents a gallon.
Which people were complaining about then of course because you know my dad used to pay 10 and 15 cents.
We’ve gone through $1 a gallon two, three, we’ve gone as high as $5 or close to it during certain economic times we swing a whole lot and you can shop for gas in the US and find a wide range.
Have pricing because most of our gas stations here can make their money on the mini Mart that sells cigarettes and soda and chips.
And the gasoline is almost just a way to get you in.
So it’s almost a different industry here.
Although you have lots of those.
As well as the difference between driving on one side of the Atlantic and the other, all kinds of cultural, technical, regulatory things.
It’s a fascinating difference.
A lot of people go back and forth across the two if you haven’t done it before.
Hopefully this will give you some great insights into the many differences that await you many of which are pleasurable, some of which are downright desperately.
I’ve been talking to drew Stern, my colleague at roadshow, he’s executive producer there and he’s also managing editor of perfection.