Driver’s License Update

Hi everyone! After a long and crazy junior year and many months of procrastination, I am back to tell you all about the rest of my (hopefully over) driver licensing experience. In all, I took the road test three times. You can read about the first time in my last post, and here I will tell you about the second and third times.

My second road test was a month after my first. You have to wait at least two weeks, and the schedule is usually backed up farther than that, so a month is pretty much the minimum wait at a busy Motor Vehicle Commission location like mine (you can go to a different location if you want. I just didn’t because it was inconvenient). I learned my lesson about scheduling and signed up for a time slot early in the morning, at 8:30 or 9:00. If you have the opportunity to do this, you absolutely should. The lines for my second and third tests were each about three or four cars deep. The wait was minimal compared to the forty-five minutes to an hour for my first road test, which was at 10:30.

I got the same driving examiner I did when I took my first test. He was mean to my mom: when we got to the front of the line, she got out of the car to go talk to him, and he yelled at her for leaving me alone in the driver’s seat. They are very serious about “driving illegally” over there, even when you’re on a closed course with literally no other cars. It really was a close call, but nobody got a ticket and I was still allowed to take the test. When you go to take the test, I suggest you sit in the passenger seat on the way in so that this doesn’t happen to you.

This time, I drove around the course first and did parallel parking last. The driving went pretty smoothly; it’s not that difficult. Just never go above 15 miles per hour (that’s the speed limit for the whole course), be mindful of the curves, and observe all the road signs. I parallel parked correctly on the second try: I started to hit the curb on my first try, so I pulled out of the space and tried again. I had to do a three-point turn (K turn) out of the parking space, and when I was backing up, I backed into one of the parallel parking cones. That was an automatic fail. I came very, very close to passing, but a split-second decision to back up just a couple of inches more failed me. Of course, I would rather learn my lesson by backing into cones on the test than by backing into a car in real life, so it’s a good thing that I failed. The driving examiner explained that I should’ve backed into the middle of the parking space, not into the cones on the edge.

I also learned from my road test report that I hadn’t been looking in the mirrors enough. You really do need to exaggerate every look you take in any direction, even though the course is flat and empty and you can see pretty much everything with minimal effort.

I did some angry yelling on the way home that day. Before my third road test, I practiced parallel parking and doing a K turn out of the space for hours and hours. I had traffic cones with garden tool handles sticking out of them at my disposal, and I put them only five or six feet from the curb because that’s how it is on the road test. I even postponed my test once because I was really busy with school. The last time I took the test, I had my mom drive up to the start of the course. My examiner was a nice woman who started acting cold and unfriendly as soon as she came into the car and the test started. After a yield sign, she called me out for not looking (even though I could see for a hundred yards on either side of the intersection). I did all the skills on the rest of the test, including backing up in a straight line. At the very last intersection (between the parking area and the road), she accused me of not looking again. This time, I told her I had looked. The test was over and we stopped the car. For awhile she didn’t say anything and was filling out forms. I finally asked her if I had passed. She said, “Yes”, but sighed and had a lot of contempt in her voice. I thanked her profusely, and she told my mother that she needed to “teach me how to yield” and that I hadn’t stopped at the uncontrolled intersection between the parking area and the road. All good tips! A few short lines at the MVC later, I had my license.

The moral of this story, if there is one, is that driving takes practice. Please take the time to learn to do it safely and you (and everybody around you) will be fine! Also, schedule an early road test and exaggerate all your looking and stopping. Happy driving!

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