Thursday, 15 April 2010

Testing Times...

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.

"Yes. Lanes."

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...

6 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

There are few moments of youth that exceed the pleasure you get when you get your DL! It's one of those days everyone remembers.

I can STILL remember the first place I drove "solo." Mom had me take her stuff to the dry cleaners. I was out of the house like a shot slightly before 7 on a Saturday morning. I was her virtual willing slave for a good 6 months.

GOR said...

Ah yes, driving tests!

When I came to England in the late 60s I had to take a test, though I had been driving for a number of years (no EU as yet, so licenses from other countries were not recognized). At one point in the test the examiner had me pull over to the right-hand curb just past an intersection. He then told me to back around the corner, which I did. But realizing that I was on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, I then continued to back across the road to the left-hand curb and park there! The examiner looked a little dumbstruck at this (making me suddenly realize that I might have misunderstood what he had meant…). I explained why I had done so and - recovering from his shock - he said “All right” and passed me!

Rusticus said...

Interesting, Mac - I too passed first time, but exactly like you I reckoned (after what I thought had been a dodgy incident at a roundabout) that I had failed anyway and went through the rest of the test with, as you say, "a rather gung-ho attitude".

The key to success, perhaps?

Dominic Mary said...

What worries me is your young friend's examiner . . . leaving a Learner alone in charge of a car is, of course, quite illegal !

Mac McLernon said...

No, Dominic Mary - she made him park and told him he had to contact the driver who'd accompanied him to the centre...

JoannaB said...

I had a similar experience. I passed first time but after muddling the reverse round a corner because it was a tight space I was blessed with another opportunity to do the manoeuver just before we returned to the centre as something was coming up the road we needed to go down. I still had to ask him to repeat it when he said I had passed! :)

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