Despite stalling all over Belfast for the past week, I'm really proud of myself for learning how to drive a manual transmission since we've moved here.

It's been super cool to feel that transition from complete lack of control to early mastery. Like, suddenly I have new intuition and muscle memory that didn't exist at all a few months ago! In a real, tangible domain! It's been a long time since I've learned a genuinely new physical skill.

One downside: despite holding an American license for over 15 years, I'm still treated as a "new driver" here, and can't go faster than 45 MPH for a full year.

So that's cool.

Didn't want no motorways anyways.

@callahad That is literally the worst law ever! It means R-Plate drivers get non-stop hassle for going slower than everyone else from aggressive other drivers.

@callahad NI only has like, half of one motorway anyway.

@ak Fitting, given that we only have 6 / 32 of an Ireland, too.

Apparently there was a change to remove the R-plate restrictions that got all the way to Royal Assent, but hasn't come into effect, yet? (

Though given that we're 909 days without a government, I'm not holding my breath.

@callahad It makes sense to get rid, but you're right that nothing will happen until there's a government.

I think it would make more sense to restrict engine size on the cars new drivers can drive.

In GB, there aren't any such restrictions and I don't see any major issues with new drivers on motorways. They have recently put motorways into the driving test, which makes a lot of sense. :)

When I passed my test in England, it was like "you passed your test, congratulations, now you can go on the motorway for the first time 😱

@ak It's funny, when I learned in America, the instruction emphasized how much *safer* Interstate highways were compared to normal roads: controlled entrances / exits, no junctions, etc. I was on I-75 nearly every lesson.

Wild that motorways weren't part of the standard curriculum over here until just recently!

@callahad The motorway near me is closed at least a couple of times a week because of a crash.

The only thing that makes motorways unsafe here is the terrible driving - mobile phones, poorly driven HGVs, people wanting to do 90mph everywhere.

If everyone stuck to the rules, the roads would be a lot safer. (We do have much safer roads than most countries, statistically the safest of any major country in the world, but the improvement has plateaued with recent dips in driving standards and cuts to road policing.)

@callahad Oh, that must be new. There was no max speed for new drivers when I learned in the UK. Though that was nearly 25 years ago now! 😨 So yeh, 'new'.

@greg_harvey It's just a Northern Ireland thing. The rest of the UK is apparently quite reasonable with "new" drivers.

@callahad That's a very interesting sensation, but it's also kind of sad that it's a pretty useless skill. I've driven manual for decades until I got an automatic car, and I hope manual transmissions quickly become obsolete. It's just manual labor!

@callahad I will have you know that a pun this easy is beneath me, sir!

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