February 14, 2014

DAILY ROUTINE: VALENTINE'S DATE WITH THE DMV

PASSED MY DRIVING TEST!

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I passed my driving test today! I have to admit I was nervous even though I've had my Belgian license for five years now and the roads are much more crowded and narrow back home... I just didn't want to fail, you know? So I picked an easy time frame (9 AM) to avoid traffic jams or kids going to school and the little suburb where we live is incredibly quiet during the day so that wouldn't be a problem either. I influenced the elements a bit so to speak...

First of all, applying for your driver's license takes a lot longer in California. The lines are unbelievably long at the DMV and I can't recall having to wait in any line in Belgium (but then again we have public transport so that's perhaps the reason why not that many people have to be there everyday). Last week I took the written test and it took me about two hours to complete the whole process of waiting in line, filling out the paperwork, paying the fee and taking the test. Fun fact: the test is kind of old school and still on paper (which gives you as much time as you need to fill it out). But don't change your answers, because I've heard that counts as a mistake. Obviously I passed, otherwise I couldn't have taken my test today but I was surprised by how many people fail (the three people in front of me all had to come back).

Today involved more waiting in line, showing my insurance and registration before I could move my car into one of the designated parking spots. The lady who evaluated me was superfriendly but of course she started off with something I hadn't studied: hand signals. I know, if you put your hand out the window to the left it probably means you want to go left, but right gets trickier and then what's the signal for stopping? Lets just say my test didn't start well and those were probably my first mistakes. But all in all it took about 15 minutes and the only maneuver you have to do on the road is park and back up in a straight line. In the end I passed, although I do have to pay attention to leaving enough space between me and the car in front of me at a stoplight and coming to a full stop at a stop sign (I'm pretty sure I did that!).

There's just a lot more honking involved...

Just as a comparison: my Belgian driver's test took about 45 minutes and you have to show you can do parallel parking, make a three-point turn in a street and drive on the freeway. Not to forget all the pedestrians and bicycles everywhere! So I would say this one was easier, but it helps that I've been driving for much longer too so I'm more at ease on the road now.

Did you get a driver's license in a different country? And was it easier or harder than taking the test at home?

Happy Valentine's day everyone!!

4 comments :

  1. Congrats! :) It was amazingly and scarily easy for me to get my driver's license in Belgium. I just swapped my American license for a Belgian one - no test required whatsoever. I think they've changed this law since I made the swap, though. I think that's probably a good thing because although I have my license, I still don't drive in Belgium. I'm glad I didn't have to do the test, but I'm still not ready without having a bit of practice - have to learn to drive a manual and more about the traffic rules first. :)

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    1. Thanks! Oh, that's great. I was hoping I could do that here too, but they're a bit stricter on that. I guess it depends on the state. It's nice that you didn't have to do the test, but I know what you mean... Driving in Belgium stresses me out and I didn't enjoy it at all. Thank god for public transportation (now that I don't have it anymore I learned to appreciate its flaws). I find driving in California much more relaxing haha and people are generally more forgiving too :)

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