Driving Test

Its taken me 11 months to finally get a US driving license, the first in a foreign country. I think driving licenses are valid for 5 years here, but I shall see when I get my actual license. This was my first driving test abroad and in a Toyota Corolla.

The driving test lasted around 15 minutes, just waiting for my turn took ages though. I was picked up promptly around 8am by an instructor from Westwood Driving School, then I proceeded to drive to the DMV in Santa Monica which is only about 2 miles away. Here’s my test route.

I had to park up and enter the DMV to confirm my appointment for my test. I went back out and moved the car to the ‘Drive test’ lane at the back of the building, to which there were already four others waiting. I was fifth in line and as far as I could see, there were only 2 examiners present at that time. I also noticed I was the only one driving an instructor’s car provided by the driving school. Other applicants probably have their parent’s or friend’s vehicles they could use which was perfectly legal as long as you had insurance.

It was a hot day (28 degrees celsuis), and I was baking hot sitting in the car from around 8:15am. Over an hour had gone and the time was 9:40am. It was finally my turn.

An examiner named Danny approached the vehicle and greeted me. He proceeded to ask me to locate certain operating buttons, such as the windscreen wipers, lights, warning lights etc, then asked me to perform arm signals for ‘left’, ‘right’, and ‘stop’. He also asked me to use my indicators and brake lights to check they were working correctly. I passed this bit with flying colours. Onto the driving…

I set off from the DMV, in a figure of 8 route, consisting of left and right turns, lane changes, and controlled and uncontrolled junctions. The hardest maneuver on the test was reversing 3 car lengths along the curb. I was instructed to return to the DMV following his directions.

At this point I expected to go through hill starts, emergency stops, reverse around the corner, and parallel parking, but I was just instructed to go back to the DMV.

I had passed, with 3 minor errors. I had a good feeling all the way through, and it’s definitely shorter than the UK driving test in comparison.

Now I can look forward to getting a car.

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