So: it might have taken me over 22 years, but I’m about to (finally!) take my driving test.
My parents made me wait until I was 18 to start learning how to drive, since that’s when my older brother got to learn- only, I was really busy with high school and high school theatre when I turned 18, then went to college out of state where the people who could teach me had car troubles any time the snow melted enough for lessons, and I didn’t have time to learn when I was home for a whole bunch of stupid reasons. So I just started learning last year (after graduating and returning home to stay) right before my absolutely fantastic boyfriend and I started dating. I went to driver’s ed on my parents’ dime, and my dad has taught me a bit (Mom has no license and hasn’t driven in years), but my boyfriend did most of the teaching, which is one of many the reasons he’s absolutely fantastic.
Of course I’m kinda nervous about the driving test now.
The main reason I’m nervous, besides just general nervousness that I bet anyone would have, is that I’ve done most of my driving in my boyfriend’s car, often with music playing, and with him to calm me down if I get worried. But I’m taking the test in my father’s car, no music, with some driving tester I’ve never met before. (To be perfectly accurate, I might have met them at the DOL before (I got ID there when I was 16, an enhanced ID when I was 20, and my permit last year at 21) but that doesn’t count.)
The other reason I’m nervous is that I am worried that I’ll get in trouble for not having my responsible driver there since he needs to go somewhere on the bus after I get to the DOL. I’m going to call up the office tomorrow morning before my test to make sure that’s okay. (This is the most frustrating part, since I asked my responsible driver if there were any days I shouldn’t schedule my drive test on, he said any day was fine, and now it turns out I’m making him late to something he’s not supposed to be late too. Grr.)
Wish me luck, everybody, and tell me wonderful stories about getting your license later than normal or making mistakes on your drive test and passing anyway.
Once the test is over, the car is staying parked anyway: I have to wait until my father adds me to the family car insurance before I’m able to drive it solo. Luckily the DOL is close to a couple of my favorite places to eat lunch, AND the library. So I’ll park the car and walk while I wait for him.
No worries, Leiko. You can try again in another week (you’re in WA state, right?). It’s actually common to fail the first time.
My daughter failed her first driving test too; part of that was she felt the tester was kind of mean. Like you, she waited for her driver’s license. She got it last September/October a few months before she turned 20. She passed the second time around.
At any rate, hang in there. If you opt to test in your Dad’s car again, is there a chance he’ll take you out in it a few times so you can get used to the “feel” of handling it?
I have to take the test in my dad’s car, so I’m just going to have to practice more in it. One of the big problems is that he has a bad hip and back, and insists driving makes him feel better, so he demanded to drive this morning when I obviously needed the practice.
And you’re right, I definitely need to practice more in the area they do the test. I didn’t realize that most of it was done in office park area around the DOL, which is a tricky place for me to drive because there are no painted lane markings, and so many people drive down the middle with no regard to safety that I trend a bit further right than the tester is okay with. I’m not even sure what the speed limit is there, which really messed me up.
Yeah, you really need to practice in the car you’re going to test in. Another thing I was going to recommend is to wear the same shoes! Different shoes have different amounts of “feel” underfoot and the accelerator can feel really different in thin sandals vs. running sneakers, for example.
Speed limits within a city/town are pretty standard - IME it’s always about 50km/hr or 30mph unless in a school zone or otherwise indicated.
I hope this doesn’t seem mean of me, but if you didn’t know that then you aren’t ready to drive, regardless of whether you had passed your test today. It sounds like you aren’t really comfortable with the process yet, and that can be dangerous once you’re out on your own. You mentioned not practising in the snow too - you need to learn how to drive safely in snow and on icy roads, how to prevent/correct fishtailing/spinning out, etc.
If you can pay for a couple of hours of lessons from a driving school, please do that. They’ll teach you all the fiddly details of the law in your area, as well as tricks and techniques so that roads without painted markings, a lack of signs or bad weather doesn’t cause you to feel “messed up”. This is experience that people rarely get from friends and family who help them learn to drive and IMHO a large reason why I think lessons should be mandatory.
Don’t feel like you sound mean: I honestly didn’t think I was ready for this test- last week I went in to the DOL to renew my permit and schedule a test a few weeks out, but the lady at the counter told me to just take the test instead, and I’d been waiting for over an hour so I said okay. Than everyone piled on with the “you’ll do fine” and I sort of believed them. Obviously, they were wrong.
I’m really comfortable with some driving. Highway driving? Hell yeah! Parallel parking between two cars? Yes! But parallel parking between cones? I lose my visual references. Driving in a area that has inadequate signage and no lane markers? Gross.
Since I’m scheduled for jury duty next week, I’m not scheduling my next attempt until about two weeks from now. Hopefully it’ll be better than.
I’m not sure I’d be able to park between cones either, and I parallel park every day (I’ve gotten rather good at squeezing into the teeniest spots!). Cones are usually shorter than a car, so it’s not like you can see them! That’s like trying to park between toddlers…it will never work!
Areas without signage are a problem, but that’s when experience (and the rule book for your state/province) tells you what should happen, so that you don’t really need signs. Speed limits within city limits are usually the same (except for school zones, maybe a few other exceptions that will be indicated with signs), right of way is always the same (car going straight has priority over cars that are turning, car on the right has priority at an intersection, etc). Practice driving in unfamiliar areas, and pay close attention to what other cars are doing when you’re a passenger.
Unmarked lanes can be annoying and ambiguous, but two way roads are generally assumed to be split down the middle unless otherwise indicated, so stick to the right and let oncoming vehicles move to their right if they are too far in the middle, and you should be fine. Drivers will generally correct their path by going where they should be.Take a look at the road next time you’re out: most cars are about the same width and most lanes are just a bit wider than that. You’ll learn to judge how many lanes wide an unmarked road is and drive accordingly.
There is an area downtown Montreal on René-Lévesque where the lines are oddly painted - the middle lane is rather wide. Montrealers have figured out that the lane is actually wide enough to fit two cars abreast in it; in traffic, that’s how it fills up! you get a feel for it after a while.
One trick that the testers often do is to have you take a left turn onto a 4-lane road (into the closest left lane), but then you have to on your own initiative signal right and move into the right lane, because that’s considered the driving lane. If you don’t move into the right lane without them telling you to, they’ll mark you down.
And now the happy ending: I got my license today! My tester sounded just like a GPS, which was fun.
Though I’d managed it about 15 minutes before in practice, I failed at parallel parking. I only got half points on backing around a corner (not quite close enough to the curve), and I missed a few points for not checking my blind spot once. Still, 90/100.
The real drama came after, when it turned out that there’s a big computer glitch caused by the programmers not preparing for the potential situation of someone getting an enhanced ID, then getting an instruction permit, and then trying to get an enhanced license. Normally all the enhancement data should switch right over, but instead, the lady at the counter had to completely re-enter it all by hand. It took quite awhile, but it was so worth it.
Congratulations! I had to be pushed into it too, where I lived you had to be 18 to get a license, and driving made me nervous so I wasn’t that interested. I got my license at 19. My brother was chomping at the bit and got behind the wheel of the car the very day he turned 18.