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The difference between UK and US roads

Amy Thomas profile

Amy Thomas

August 21, 2017

Young driver stories 3 min read

Sometime soon, I would love to go to America for a road trip through as many states as possible – hire a Mustang and just drive! The roads over there just seem to be much better than the roads in the UK; the wide, open road is just too inviting! I would love to drive down Route 66, even ride down on a Harley Davidson, soaking up the sun and living life on the road.

In the UK, the roads are full of roundabouts, speed bumps and potholes! When you’re driving around, you normally can’t get anywhere without going around a roundabout, whether it be a mini one, or one of those that’s one roundabout surrounded by 6 other smaller ones! It’s also very frustrating if you miss one of the 100’s of exits off of the thing, then you have to go round and round trying to work out which one it is! You’ll also find that roundabouts that need traffic lights will never have them and the ones that do have them don’t really need them… Road planning in the UK isn’t the greatest!

Roads in the states however

In the US, you have long open roads with cross sections with traffic lights, instead of pointless roundabouts that people don’t know how to use. If there’s a red light at an interchange, you just stop and wait for the green light – simple! To me, it could also help tyre wear as you are still going in a straight line or just around one corner, saving steering input, saving the tyres having to do more work, meaning more wear. I can’t think of anything more relaxing than being on the long, open roads of America, driving a nice convertible in the gorgeous sunshine! Sounds like bliss, right?

The motorways in the UK are actually tiny compared to the highways in the US! The widest freeway in the US, Katy Freeway, averages 26 lanes; That’s 13 lanes each side! That is completely insane! you’d think there would be no traffic but during rush hour, it’s gridlock! And we complain about the M25!?

Big country means big vehicles

What you have to take into consideration with American roads though is the fact that most of their road-going vehicles are a lot larger than the vehicles in the UK. The cars are huge, the trucks are even bigger and Americans aren’t ones for small city cars like we are. It would be rare to find a Fiat 500 out there! The US is also approximately 40 times bigger than the UK, making the bigger roads more viable.

I really hope I get to travel to America soon and live my dream of an American road trip. I wish I could just take my passport and go but unfortunately, flights to the US are rather pricey for a university student! If I do go soon, I’ll be sure to blog it all! But for now, I’m going to have to deal with the lumpy, bumpy, slow roads of Britain that hopefully turn into US style roads in the near future!

Amy Thomas profile

By Amy Thomas

'I'm currently studying Motorsport Technology at university! My dream is to become an F1 race engineer and as you've probably guessed, I love cars! Motorsport and cars are my passion, not forgetting motorbikes also!'  See more posts by Amy

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