You know how much I LOVE driving. I bought myself that road trip, Route 66, in a red convertible as a 50th birthday present.
State law requires people to secure a local driving licence within 60 days of arriving. I booked myself a local driving exam, how long is the wait-time? First ‘behind-the-wheel’ test on February 9th. Online knowledge test, walk right in anytime. I passed the online test in December without any studying.
The results of the ‘behind-the-wheel’ test. Were a little more surprising.
“How do you think you did?” asked the examiner when we pulled up at the end of the test.
“I could have stopped nearer to the curb, only just got within the 12″ and I had to make a significant adjustment when reversing around the 90° corner, other than that, I’m not aware of what I did badly”
“Placement in the road, moving between lanes, you’ve failed, you need to practice moving between lanes and choosing the right lane to be in. Minimum of 1 week of practice before your next test”
FAILED?! “but am I allowed to keep driving here without a local license, there’s a 2 month wait list for another test?”
“It’s up to the discretion of the police officer”
I weighed up the risks. I’ve never been in a car accident and I’ve driven in the USA for over 8 years in total. The reason that police officer will be talking to me is because of some other idiot, so I’ll probably get their discretion. Especially given the advantage of my English accent and a little humility and respect thrown into the mix. These people carry guns, that lures my humility and respect front to the fore.
A perfect reverse parallel park, a perfect reverse into a tight 90° turn (pseudo parking space) showed my ‘handling skills’ were good. I realised that the mock road system I’d been driving on was supposed to all be dual carriageway. The lanes weren’t marked. I’d driven as-if it was an ordinary single lane in each direction. That meant I was never in the right lane and never indicating to move between lanes. Doh! No wonder I failed.
I didn’t argue with the instructor about the fidelity of the road markings, or ask to do the test again – there and then- because I hadn’t heard the examiner tell me this feature of the road set up at the start. Examiners probably have to deal with lots of weird people being obnoxious when they’re failed. Plus:
- I don’t like being uppity
- Retest should be a doddle.
- I don’t get charged extra for a retest – flat fee of $25 – Bargain
Though, the embarrassment of telling everyone I’d failed my test was pretty high. Because I knew the driving course and why I’d failed, and I can drive, the result of the 2nd test, March 23rd, wasn’t a surprise
‘massive improvement. Passed’
My main shortcoming was not looking over my shoulder enough before changing lanes. But I was the only car o the circuit! It’s so easy to forget that you are pretending to be on a real road with real traffic when the is no traffic, NONE at all. I know there’s nothing behind me. Looking in the mirror is habit, looking over my should is to check for traffic, I do it a lot when changing lanes on real roads. I didn’t’ say anything. I was happy to have passed.
Now, when I go on my holiday to France this September I can choose to take either my British or American driving license… choices…I’ve never driven a stick-shift on that side of the road…