American driver’s license, Part II

You all remember Chris’ funny post about the American Driving License? Well, today Chris shares the second part of her adventure… The ‘Behind the wheels’ test! Enjoy your ride.

Now that you know what’s the written test procedure in the U.S. I would like to let you know about the ‘behind the wheel test’.

Surprisingly for a European, you must bring your own car for the driving test. And if you don’t have a car (weird isnt’it?), you can ask your friends, acquaintances or there are also a couple of driving schools available where you also can ask for a car. The procedure of ‘Behind the Wheel Test’ runs at the beginning similar to the theoretical exam. You wait for 15 min in the line and then commit your appointment and forward your piece of paper from the last time together with your car insurance to the ‘nice’ lady at the counter. The ‘extremely polite’ woman at the counter speaks unfortunately not in all sets to you but she uses single words such as ‘right thumb’. Now you have to guess yourself that you have to put your right thumb on the apparatus on your left. If you don’t execute her command immediately then the pitch rises up to a few decibels more and then she shouts “Your right thumb!” After she has entered your data into the computer she hands over the documents to you and says only ‘next one’. And don’t dare to ask her where the test will take place! Then you move the car around the building and wait there in the line of cars until an examiner approaches you and off you go. I personally had an exam with a man who was very nice but during the whole journey he didn’t make any sound.

Before you start your engine you are asked for the manual traffic signs such as left, right and stop. They also examine your turn signals, brake lights, headlights and horn. Once the examiner is sitting in the car you have to show him where you can regulate defrost, rear defrost, wipers, emergency brake… If everything is working right, you’ll be asked to start.

During the ride they try to drive through as many speed zones as possible (always consider the speed limit) and stop signs, too. I also had to stop at the roadside and go backward parallel to the curb. Of course they also examine your ability to change the lanes to the left and to the right. The nastiest moment was when I had to turn at a red traffic light and I squeezed my way past the other cars already on the right. In the last moment I saw that there a very inconspicuous sign with “No turn on red’ was attached. So always keep your eyes open. By the way it’s always good to watch and control the traffic in the mirrors as much as possible during completing your test.

After about 20 minutes drive the exam is finished and you are told what you did wrong during the ride. At the end the comment by my examiner was “good job” so that I could breathe again. I received my driven license by mail about two weeks after the test. Now you are allowed to judge for yourself how you like the picture! But it’s not just the photo on the driver’s license I can’t befriend with but the fact that your weight is also noted and it is about hundred (Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh)!

Californian Driving License

Californian Driving License

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