We’ve been car owners for over a year, but it still feels like a fairly new thing to me, because I don’t drive very often at all. I have no reason to drive anywhere on weekdays, and not all weekends either. And when the whole family drives somewhere, Eric is in the driver’s seat. Adrian is not always fond of sitting in a car, and I find it really hard to concentrate when he is crying or screaming. I’d rather take the thankless job of trying to keep him entertained, than have to listen to his complaints.

My previous driving experience before buying the car came from our vacations in various parts of Great Britain. Until Ingrid was born, we used to set aside the long Easter weekend for driving and hiking. We went to Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, the Lake district…

With that in my baggage, the roads all feel very wide here. In Britain I got used to driving on narrow winding country lanes, because that’s the kind of routes we’d take during our vacations.

My impressions of current Swedish approach to traffic safety can be summarised by one word: micro-management. I don’t know if this actually differs from the reality in Britain, or if it’s even a country-wide thing here. But it is very conspicous.

The most glaring example that I regularly encounter is on Täbylundsvägen, on our way home from the parent-and-child judo class that Ingrid goes on Sundays. The speed limit there is generally 50 km/h, but at one particular zebra crossing it goes down to 30 km/h. For about 30 metres, the distance from one house to its neighbour.

I suppose that at some point an accident happened, or maybe the crossing is on a school route. Somebody wanted to do the right thing and reduce the risk of accidents.

The result? Instead of making me drive more carefully, it distracts me. Being a law-abiding citizen and driver, I pay attention to the signs. A significant chunk of my attention is directed away from the traffic situation, towards the obviously silly instruction to brake and then speed up again.

Luckily the road is always empty there on Sunday mornings and I have never seen a single pedestrian trying to cross the road there. If one day one turns up, I may well not notice them because I am thinking of that stupid hiccup of a speed limit.

Image from www.hitta.se.