Our thanks to long-time contributor, Wendy Varley for sharing this interesting observation on Island roads. Ed
1. You can never get lost
I learned to drive in London, but was assured when I moved to the Island that “you can never really get lost on the Isle of Wight because you’ll always end up at the sea”.
It’s perfectly true. I’ve seen some lovely accidental coastal views finding my way around.
2. The Tractor Factor
It’s a certainty that if you leave home with just enough time to catch the ferry you’re booked on, within half a mile you’ll be stuck behind a tractor going the same way you are.
By the time you’ve been following it for 20 minutes, you’re convinced it’s actually heading for the terminal. When your paths eventually diverge, at Wootton, or Whippingham, it’s too late. You’ve missed the boat.
You swear that next time you’ll allow for ‘The Tractor Factor’ and set off early. But, inevitably, when next time comes around, you forget.
3. Motorway phobia
If you’ve been confined to driving on the Isle of Wight for longer than a year, you’ll get The Fear of mainland driving.
Even the most sensible, competent drivers I know have developed motorway phobia when they’ve not left the Isle in a while. Doing 50 on the dual carriageway at B&Q is NOT the same as doing 70 on a motorway.
First time back on the M27 you’ll be on the verge of a panic attack.
The driver pootling along at 25mph in front of you on a quiet country lane is freaked out by the fact they’ve spied another car in their rear view mirror.
Even though you’re keeping a polite distance, waiting patiently for a chance to overtake on a straight bit of road, they pull to a dead stop, wait for you to pass, then set off again. Makes you feel guilty for just being out there.
5. There’s a horse around the bend
My mantra when my daughters were learning to drive was, “Slow down. You don’t know what’s around that corner. There might be a horse.”
Usually, there was.
6. Mini-roundabout mania
On the Isle of Wight we seem to understand that on a major roundabout like St Mary’s, you give way to the traffic on your right. We don’t get that the same rule also applies to the mini-roundabout at the top of Carisbrooke High Street. Approach at your peril.
Reminds me of the joke: “If four cars pull up at a mini-roundabout at the same time, which one goes first?” Answer: “The BMW.”
7. The road less travelled
No matter how long you’ve lived on the Isle of Wight, there’s always a road you’ve never driven down.
I’ve never been to Roud. Or Five Houses. They’re on my bucket list.
8. Which way through Newport?
That moment of tension in the car when you realise that you and your beloved hold a different opinion on which way through Newport is best. Can your relationship survive it?
When I approach Newport from the Ryde direction, heading for Carisbrooke, I opt for the “back roads”: turn right onto the dual carriageway, briefly, then off left up past Hursts, right into Lugley Street, and back on to the main road at the lights at that corner by the chemists.
Whereas HE doesn’t care that there MIGHT BE A QUEUE if he carries straight on through the town centre and drives past Morrisons. Makes me flinch.
There is, of course, the other argument about whether you should drive through Newport at all, or go “the country route”. Don’t get me started…
So that’s my 1–8. What are yours? Over to you…