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Not THIS shit again…


Hey, guess who gets to take her driving test again? And guess who isn’t likely to pass it on the first go?

Yeah. Apparently, no matter how experienced you may be — and I commuted fifty-ump miles a day down the I-95 corridor for a quarter of a century — the British driving test is no gimme. They recommend you take lessons. From an instructor.

It’s not about learning to drive, it’s about learning to pass the driving test.

Like histrionically checking all the mirrors before pulling out. And putting on the handbrake at stop signs. According to the handy self-study DVD Uncle B bought me for Christmas, the average successful applicant has spent 20 hours studying the manual and 45 hours driving.

Driving on the wrong side of the road. Roundabouts. Driving Uncle Badger’s car.

I am so screwed.

I took my first driving test in Smithville, Tennessee. I had to drive once around the public square. Took about ten minutes. Along the way, my examiner asked me to do several things that were highly illegal, like park blocking a driveway. I wondered if he was testing me, but it turned out he just didn’t want to get his shoes wet in the puddle by the legal spot.

Oh, I am so screwed.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 11, 2009, 8:33 pm

The Weasel is worried about driving my car?

Imagine how I feel at the thought of a deranged stoat at the wheel of a Ferarri Testarossa on the wrong side of the road!?!

OK… I lied about the car.

Comment from Gnus
Time: March 11, 2009, 9:00 pm

Putting on the hand brake at stop signs? That’s a little bit obsessive, isn’t it?

Still, driving on the wrong side of the road would get me, I’m thinking. (Sorry, Uncle B. Wrong side for me.)

Comment from porknbean
Time: March 11, 2009, 9:40 pm

Hand brake? What the heck is Uncle B’s car, a motorized tricycle?

Comment from Dawn
Time: March 11, 2009, 9:57 pm

Driving on the wrong side of the road. Roundabouts. Driving Uncle Badger’s car.

And you’re female, too! 😉

Comment from Allen
Time: March 11, 2009, 10:15 pm

I love roundybouts, in fact if Douglas Adams ever had made a movie on his own hook… It would be about someone trapped in a perpetual roundabout, going round and round.

Look at it this way; it’s a business opportunity. Like the US life-alert version: “help me I’m trapped in a roundabout, and can’t get out!”

Well, I don’t want to entice McGoo but two summers ago, near a pub I enjoy in Londinium, there were scantily clad women washing cars by a nearby roundabout. Strange that, many of the cars seemed to look familiar. Then again there was gin involved.

Comment from Dawn
Time: March 11, 2009, 10:20 pm

Scantily clad women washing cars near a roundabout sounds likes a Benny Hill episode to me.

Comment from Weasely
Time: March 11, 2009, 10:51 pm

I would kinda love to drive in Britain – I understand theres actually.. you know.. lane discipline and courtesy and stuff. So I’ve heard it told.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: March 11, 2009, 11:55 pm

Um, If they inquire about driving classes you have taken in the past, it would PROBABLY be best not to mention the week you spent at NASCAR camp………

Comment from JuliaM
Time: March 12, 2009, 1:58 am

“Hand brake? What the heck is Uncle B’s car, a motorized tricycle?”

I’m guessing it’s called something else across the water. ‘Parking brake’, perhaps…?

There’s another thing – the terminology. Things like ‘bonnet’ and ‘boot’ to memorise, along with our peculiar road layout and signage.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: March 12, 2009, 2:31 am

I love Benny Hill! Check this out:
http ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXOb_CYu8rA

Good luck, Mrs. Badger!

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: March 12, 2009, 2:48 am

http ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FssxBMfghHU

“It has to be a bull!”

http ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xut7noWf0zQ

Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: March 12, 2009, 7:46 am

Good luck on the test. They should probably throw in a law degree and successful bar exam to anyone passing on the first go. Then you could wear one of those great wigs and flowing robes!

Comment from TheBigBlueBug
Time: March 12, 2009, 11:31 am

When I moved to Florida, they had a like a special test for people with Rhode Island licenses; like somebody in their DMV visited RI and experienced the retard rodeo what is our daily commute. If I was you I would claim a test exemption; when it comes to driving, you’ve seen it all, done it all, and faced death by idiot on a regular basis.

And when I moved back to RI, the nice folks at the registry tortured me over getting my RI license back. I hatesis them.

Just sayin’ is all. And good luck.

Comment from Nicholas the Slide
Time: March 12, 2009, 1:45 pm

Good Luck! That’s about all I can offer, I don’t even have my American license yet. 😛

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 12, 2009, 2:09 pm

From what I know of British drivers, you’re probably in the top 1% of the nation just by being average in the US.

Comment from Jill
Time: March 12, 2009, 2:51 pm

The list says there’s something called Mock Driving Test.
You should score 110% there.

“You call THIS a driving test?”


Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: March 13, 2009, 1:23 pm

It’s not about learning to drive, it’s about learning to pass the driving test.

That’s basically it. I passed it on the first try. And since then I’ve never driven the same as I did during the lessons and the test. These days, I check the wing mirrors depending on my mood. And I only use the handbreak when I’m parked. On 45 degree incline.

Do they still have two separate tests for manual and automatic gearboxes? And is the automatic one still unofficially considered a driving test lite, similar to one increment up from a provisional driving license? If so, which one will you be taking?

Good luck though. Just get yourself into a petty, bureaucratic, anal-retentive frame of mind, and you should walk it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 13, 2009, 2:33 pm

Yeah, I think if you take the test with an automatic, that’s all you’re authorized to drive. I only ever drive a straight shift, though, so that’s okay.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: March 14, 2009, 7:08 am

“Yeah, I think if you take the test with an automatic, that’s all you’re authorized to drive. “

Indded, that’s so. Better to take the manual test, then immediately buy an automatic car. It’s what I did… 😉

Comment from oneuniverse
Time: March 21, 2009, 8:57 pm

W, wonderful to have you in Britain.

Driving test: Be ultra-concerned about safety & procedure.
Also, when passing a side-street, do a v.quick glance up the side street to make sure no-one is driving towards you.
Check the mirrors diligently. You’ll be ok.

Also, you should know – apparently, the driving tests have a quota – not everyone can pass in the same day, even if everyone is capable.

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