Driving in Lisburn vs driving in Belfast

I’ve found that drives in Belfast are extraordinarly courteous. If you indicate and act decisively, folk will let you in. Folk will anticipate that you’re probably going to want to move into their lane and fall back to let you in.

In other cultures, other countries, this sixth sense that somebody is going to move into your lane is used to quite opposite effect: to block them. Driving is less an experience you share with your co-drivers than a competition for valuable space.

If you drive in, say, south Dublin, you probably know what I mean. Drivers there hate other drivers. I mean, they really hate them. If you have a “foreign” registration number (e.g. from up north), they might be a little nice to you, but by and large driving down there, especially in rush hour, is an experience.

(Cycling in Dublin, on the other hand, is wonderful fun. Exhilarating!)

Anyway, Lisburn: drivers in Lisburn are, if anything, more laid back than drivers in Belfast, but folk just don’t let you out in Lisburn. My theory is that Belfast has just the right amount of city stress to driving that folk feel your pain, but not so much that they regard you as a competitor.

Lisburn is busy enough that driving can be stressful (try turning right coming out of the hospital, or from any of the side roads along there) … but I reckon people think that “Hey, it’s Lisburn. It’s just a wee town. I don’t need to let you out because it’s so small here that there’s basically no traffic, and there’ll be a gap along any second now. Sheesh.”

S’funny. The net effect is that driving in Lisburn is kinda unpleasant.


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