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:

Breathtaking actors

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…)

 Vital advices

  • « 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?

10 Responses

  1. OMG, j’ai lu ton article la voix de Trump en tête. J’ai vu le tweet Potus : « Avoir une voiture sans assurance peut briser des amitiés ».

    17 ans après m’avoir régalée de vomi et pleurs en bagnole ( oui, je me souviens encore de la traversée du Canada avec mon ange baveur ), mon grand s’entraîne à frôler trottoirs, griller priorités et caler en faisant bondir la voiture. Aaaah, les joies de la conduite accompagnée, qui font que même quand je conduis, je me fais klaxonner grâce au joli petit autocollant sur la vitre arrière.

    Du coup, j’ai révisé le code avec lui et peux te confirmer; à mon avis, la majorité des conducteurs français conduisent sans se souvenir de la moitié des règles 😉 On veut l’examen Amy ( j’essaierais de me retenir de visualiser un roux à petites mains assis à côté de toi ).

    1. Le grand avantage des voitures américaines, la boîte automatique (enfin…. Je dis ça mais je peste a chaque fois, il me manque qqch, mon pied gauche s’ennuie !) Tu montreras l’article sur les panneaux à Phileas, il saura apprécier ! 🙂

      Quant à la patience des gens au volant, à croire qu’ils on oublié qu’un jour ils etaient eux mêmes décorés du petit L (mais vu la vitesse avec laquelle ces mêmes conducteurs oublient l’existence du clignotant, je ne suis que peu surprise !)

      Bonne chance Phileas et bon Weekend à vous! Bises ❤️

  2. Je lui ai fait tester la boîte automatique sur de petites routes désertes de Thaïlande – oui, ça change la vie. Ici aussi, les conducteurs prennent garde à ne pas user les ampoules des clignotants, c’est la bête noire de Philéas en abordant un rond-point ( moi je me contente d’hyperventiler en pensant à ce qui reste de mon embrayage ).

    1. Je suis pour l”instauration de prunes pour les abrutis qui ont pris le clignotant en option. Non mais franchement, en plus il est juste à côté du volant, c”est pas qu-il est si difficile à trouver! Bises Daphné!

    1. Apparemment il doit y avoir des moyens de filer quelques billets sous la table pour éviter les 5 heures, mais tant qu”à faire le truc, on l”a fait jusqu”au bout 🙂

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