Malta Sliema seaside
Countries,  Malta

A little bit about left-hand traffic: how to drive on Malta

As promised I will tell a little bit about how it is to drive when the usual coordinate system is turned on its head. In general it appears that 34% of all the Earth inhabitants drive with the left-hand traffic rules. I thought that was just the lucky ones Great Britain, Japan and Australia but it turned out to be the whole of India, the entire lower piece of Africa, most of the islands of Southeast Asia and Oceania and even a couple of countries in the South Americas. Well and Malta.

In general if to think more close it looks like these guys are in serious troubles: they are locked on almost bare island so even when they got their chase to leave it all right-hand traffic of Europe is against them. And that way to England is a couple of thousands of kilometers.

But as it’s said — ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, so having muted a timid inside voice and it almost humble attempt to dissuade from this adventure the car was rented. The total sum was about 215 euro for 5 days and was including the whole insurance pack against all possible damage and theft and evacuations. To tell it shorter if smth happens it’s none of my business, I know nothing.

Probably the first half hour I was just driving circles around the parking to get used to the new ergonomics. The main problem appeared to be not even in the fact that the transmission is on the left but in the clutch — the car could barely move from it’s place with wild howls of motor. Internal alarmist was howling with it in unison 'softly' offering to send it all to hell and go to the nearest bus. So finally having set the navigator we all together drove to the parking way out.

Well I certainly managed to scare a couple drivers by unexpected movements of the car when the transmission was mixed up sometimes but in general everything went smoothly.

In Malta there are a lot of crossroads with a circular motion even better to say the majority of them.

And there is a strong necessity to put a monument to the man who invented them. In fact it facilitates the traffic greatly — there you certainly won’t mistake in what direction to go. The main thing is not to miss the right turn. But there is always a navigator to help but it’s important to clearly understand what is meant under this or that command. Because sometimes it says to go straight and the road splits into two and surprisingly both of them are straight. The better way of course is to have a live co-driver but it is also better to discuss all the details. And there were almost no traffic jams I think again because of the circular crossroads. In addition there are highways are between the cities where it is not necessary at all to think on which side you should drive.

In the cities it is a little bit more complicated. Firstly there is a wild number of one-way streets which are not always marked with signs as well as many small crossroads. And here it is necessary to think whom to give the way and which way to turn.

Secondly the streets are often very narrow and even for two smallest cars it can be difficult to disperse. Perhaps that is why all cars are a bit shabby and no one worries about scratches and dents.

Thirdly it is parking and most time its absence. But there are some special parking areas. One of them is near the entrance to Valletta. There you can leave even for a whole day for just 5 euro. In Slima there such parking at The Point Shopping Mall though a bit expensive. The only four-unregulated crossroad I met going it’s direction. Realizing that I just do not know where to look and whom to give the way I wasn’t thickening long and pushed the gas to the floor flying through it on all cylinders. It seems no one beeped but the best of course is not to repeat such things).

In general the movement is not sufficiently urgent and there are no racers. If someone is going slowly no beeps, not angry and no attempts to drive over. Everything is quite steadily and slow, like on all islands. So there is nothing to fear. It is possible to get used to the traffic and driving after a couple of days and then it becomes not so scary and complicated at all.

Have a good day, MarrySav!)

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