After spending quite some time (trying to) understand the weird yet 100% real USA traffic signs, (I mean, that pink one tho!), I finally took the written driving test.
At the DMV, I was “greeted” by a charming office clerk who allocate me a computer and nicely announced she was done with my case with a thundering “NEEEEXT”. Well, thank you, I guess?
Anyway, I find my computer, I sit (between a weird dude and an extremely focused girl) and… I start waiting. On the computer to turn on, on the pigs to start flying, I am not sure actually, but I wait. And a few minutes later, as I see the Cher-et-Tendre casually touching the computer’s screen, I suddenly realize the thing must be touch sensitive… #smallsmallbrain
The thing starts asking me about my middle name and DOB, which is pretty simple but I start freaking out when, pressing the “taking a pre-test button”, I see a horse on my screen. Apparently, taking the “pre-test” wasn’t about driving, but more like a drilling phase to make sure I was able to use the touchscreen (fair enough, considering the previous events!…)
Half way there, after she spent 15 minutes sighing, I take a look at the screen of the girl seating next to me, as I want to figure out what is so difficult in her test. Believe me or not, she was stuck on the Stop sign, thinking (and obviously over thinking) about the signification of this weird sign. As for the guy on my other side, he apparently failed… for the 4th time!…
And me? 19/20! (The only bump in the road was about a math thing!) (I’d like to clarify, for the non-americans reading me, that to pass, you need a score of 14/20… which is pretty easy.) Next stop, pre-licensing class…
A few weeks after, on a cold and snowy Saturday, tired AF (it’s like 9 am), in my yoga pants (and by “yoga” we all know I mean pajamas), my Latte and myself enter a windowless room, for 5 fabulous hours about road risks and good practices behind the wheel. The guy who “greets” us is a bear with a sore head and plays the first dvd (first from a loooong serie) with at least as much motivation as we all show at that moment.
Rolling with the punches (and mostly because my battery’s phone would never have survived 5 hours of Instagramming), I decided to sacrifice myself, listen to the whole thing and take some notes. And trust me, this was fun:
The first scene opens on a lot of (way too) smiley and (too) young people, with crazy white teeth and driving insanely big cars. And when the company I used to work for was freaking out about drug-related questions, DMV seems to be obsessed with alcohol and texting while driving. (But nothing about the fact they are giving licensed to unexperienced people tho…)
- « What is the best way not to have problem with yliour cellphone when you drive?” “Don’t use it when you drive”) (<- They literally said that!)
- «People don’t see at night, this is why cars have lights”
- « If the windshield is dirty, you should clean it.» (Should I, really?)
- «This is how to use a parking brake.»
- « This is how to buckle up.»
A lot of fun facts
- That moment when the guy on the video says that the “honk is only rarely used”. Well, I guess you’re not from New York, aren’t you?
- The guy who sees a plastic bottle under is front tire, go there, pick it up, then walk to the next trash can and slowly come back to his car. (A. no one EVER picks up anything from the floor around here – not sure if it’s a bad thing tho. B. Especially to pick up garbage. C. And even less if the trashcan is more than a foot away.)
- “Who is most likely going to fall asleep while driving?” Me, if I decide to drive right after this class. (I know, my joke sucks!)
Fun cultural differences
- The way you put your hands on the wheel (USA – 3 – 9. Europe 10- 2)
- Driving too fast is bad. However, if everyone else does it, you shouldn’t slow everyone else down, so you can keep going too fast ( !)
- You cannot drive yourself to your driving test, even with your driving instructor (and please remember this one for the next post…)
- Police is checking the blood alcohol level (who is anyway way to young too drink) by having him hop on one foot.
- The driver seat should be set in a way that your arms outstretch to touch the wheel. This way short people like me would never be able to touch the gas pedal.
- Could anyone explain to me why this country gives points for every infraction?
WTF philosophical quotes
- « Not having a car insurance can break friendships»
- « No one likes to be involved in an accident, especially if you are not responsible for it»
- « Driving is a serious business »
And I close this chapter with a statistic, which is the perfect example of how illogic things can be sometimes:
« A 16 y.o driver has 10x more chance to cause an accident than an adult.»
Of course, no one seems to have ever thought about not giving the license to 16 y.o (or, maybe, after a real driving test….)
And precisely, this is the topic of the next post: the driving test (or should I say the biggest joke. Ever.)
How does the driving license process work in your country?