Thursday, 15 April 2010
Driving tests are very much a rite of passage these days: nearly every 17 year-old I know is having lessons, tests, more lessons...
I passed my test first time, to my complete and utter amazement. A few minutes into my test, a large refuse truck had trundled down the street, and had failed to pull over into a space, which resulted in my having to reverse back down the street and then try and pull into a small parking space... the truck kept coming, and I fluffed the manoeuvre. The truck eventually got past, but the men inside were laughing like hyenas. I turned to the examiner, apologised, and said that I was obviously more nervous than I'd thought. I was so convinced that I'd failed that I just went through the rest of the test with a rather gung-ho attitude.
I pulled out at a few roundabouts where I didn't have right of way, but I could see safe gaps and, not wanting to be a drippy blonde, I just went for it. Technically, I shouldn't have moved out. I didn't care - I'd failed anyway.
My best moment had to be the question session. "What," asked the examiner, "do the amber cats' eyes on a motorway signify?"
This was a tricky one. I couldn't recall having seen any. I decided to guess. "Lanes."
The examiner looked at me. I looked back.
"Errrm... yes, lanes...?" he said, as if waiting for more information.
I realised that I'd gotten the answer partly right. If I said anything else, I would risk getting it very wrong. I decided to play safe.
He looked at me. I looked back, and waited.
"Ummm... yes...?" he tried again.
"Yes!" I declared, with a note of finality in my voice. And then I sat there. After about three minutes' silence, he bowed to the inevitable. "Ok," he sighed. "Next question..."
One young friend of mine recounted a very different experience. After two (or maybe three) near-collisions within the first ten minutes of the test, the examiner asked him to pull over to the side. She then informed him that he had failed, got out of the car, and walked back to the test centre, unwilling to risk life and limb any further...
I might ask him to text me whenever he plans to be on the road...