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Thoughts Like Music
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Sheriff Leroy Earl Sonny Bubba Elrod says, 'Where you from, anyway?' 
23rd-Jun-2006 05:12 pm
driving
percible graciously came out and met me for an excursion to ASDA.
The trip was mostly to get KitKats for mhaithaca, but I also needed the G-man to certify that I am who I say I am to the DVLA (aka the UK version of the DMV).

The DVLA is no faster, understandable, or user friendly than the DMV. Plus, I had to send them my passport. *hyperventilates*

Hopefully, in two weeks time, I will have a provisional license. I'm highly amused that I'm back to the equivalent of a learner's permit after 11 years of driving.

ybunny read me most of the Driving Code while we drove from Aberdeen and back via Huntly, Banff, and Peterhead. So, as soon as the provisional license comes back, I'm taking the theory test.

To be followed quickly by the practical test, sounds like most people take it at least twice so I'm happy to be starting sooner rather than later.
comments 
23rd-Jun-2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
They say the worst drivers pass first time ;)
23rd-Jun-2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Riiiiight.
23rd-Jun-2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
I miss driving in the UK... but I don't miss having to learn to feed the wheel as I turned instead of hand-over-hand turning. ^_^

I miss roundabouts. And I liked right-hand drive.

My mum (who is little miss perfect, never had a wreck, never even got a ticket, safest driver I know...) had to take the test three times. :) And she'd been driving for 30 years when we moved there. *grin*

(My dad, who is safe but does speed quite a bit... passed the test on his first go.)

I had my L-plate before we moved, but I never got to take the final test (and I'm a bit thankful for it, really!).
23rd-Jun-2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
But does anyone actually feed the wheel after they've passed the test? :)
23rd-Jun-2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I know my parents didn't!!

Sometimes I feed the wheel when I turn, just to see if I can still do it. Of course, I immediately remember why I don't do it. *grin*

When we got back to the States, though, my folks liked the idea of the L-tag so much that they went and had magnetic ones made up to put on the mini-van before I got my licence. -_- They said: "Caution! Student driver at the wheel!"

Which I actually DID appreciate... except when I had to pull up at school with the magnets attached to the car...
23rd-Jun-2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
I usually do. Can't claim to always do it, tho ;)
23rd-Jun-2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'll need to borrow Tom's dad's car to try that one out. I'm not sure I even completely know what you mean by that. (So much so, that I might be doing it and have no idea...)

I'm thankful that I can skip the L/P plates as long as I do this before Sept. 24. Hurrah!
23rd-Jun-2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
I would suggest you get a few driving lessons as passing your driving test in the UK has a few little bits in it that normal drivers don't do. By getting a few lessons you'll be able to pick up the things they'll be looking for in the test.
23rd-Jun-2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely be doing that.

I was surprised at the many little things there were in the Driving Code that I'd never even noticed. (Not important things, just 'oh, sure enough' type things.)

There's a place on Union Street that I'm considering. I'll probably get prices from them once this prov. license is in hand.

:)
23rd-Jun-2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
My best friend, after having an American drivers license for a good twenty years, took a six month driving course in Scotland before even attempting to take the test. She was a nervouse wreck becaues it's so very difficult to pass. (Comparitively I think the US test are way too easy). But she did manage to pass it. She knows she would have failed if she hadn't had the lessons.

Almost every natural born Brit I've known has failed the driving test at least once.
23rd-Jun-2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
I failed four times and gave up in despair.
23rd-Jun-2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Heh. I didn't even make it to 4 before I gave up ;)

Mind you, I was less despairing than increasingly realistic about how I was flinging more money at it than it was likely to be worth for the foreseeable future (and 13 years on I've still not found myself in a situation where being able to drive would've made a significant enough difference to have spent that money that I didn't have).
23rd-Jun-2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
I'm only getting one so that I can continue to hire cars after my year on my US license is up.

Since I've gotten here I've hired a car four times...all to transport myself or others to/from airports. This last time, when we kept the car longer, we realized that it would be nice to have that ability since so many Scottish landmarks are far from any rails/bus routes.

If it does get to the 4 test mark, I probably will give up. :-/
23rd-Jun-2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I showed up for my week's visit with a simple International Driving License. (Not that anyone ever asked to see it; the hire agency only wanted to see my U.S. license.)
23rd-Jun-2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
I'd likely continue with that...except you're meant to obtain a UK license after one year's residency in the UK.

I could probably get away with it, but my luck is sometimes fleeting with regards to the DMV...and now the DVLA.
23rd-Jun-2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
except you're meant to obtain a UK license after one year's residency in the UK.

I thought it reset everytime you re-entered the country? I could be totally misunderstanding, though ;)
23rd-Jun-2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
None of the online documents gave me a straight answer. I finally called the UK/US embassy phone line and they didn't know either.

Scary. So, I'm opting for the more literal view and working on it now. (Also, my above comment is backwards, you're meant to get the license before the first year elapses.)
23rd-Jun-2006 10:55 pm (UTC)

From what I remember (dealing with all sorts of immigration offices and papers), your residency is counted from the date that your status became "permanent resident" (you should be able to find this date stated somewhere on some legal document). Any prior visits would've only counted as "visitor" status.

But hey, better to be a bit early than late! :)

23rd-Jun-2006 06:50 pm (UTC)
It does sound a lot more difficult, but I think some of it is the hype and the nervousness it causes.

I know that the DMV test officers in Asheville, NC are considered some of the toughest in the area (that's where I tested). However, since you can go anywhere in the state to do the test, most people opted for heading down to Hendersonville where the examiners are pretty lax.

I'm expecting to fail, but it would be a nice surprise to pass. :D
23rd-Jun-2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
if you don't mind paying 4 quid the post office will do a check for you for the licence, and so you don't have to send off your passport. I was kind of wary in sending mine away, knowing what government organisations are like and all ;)

you will, of course, have no difficulty in passing. Hell, i passed, first time too
23rd-Jun-2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I saw the option to do the check.

They won't do it with a foreign passport, however. :(
So, I had to send the actual document. I suppose the worst that could happen would be being stuck here. :D
23rd-Jun-2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
I found the UK test far more difficult to take than the US version.
The Highway Code is actually the easy bit.
When I took the test over twenty years ago, you were expected to: make an emergency (panic) stop, execute a three point turn without hitting the curb and using mirrors correctly, make a hill start using clutch control and worst of all, reverse round a corner. I passed on my sixth go, Virginia's took me fifteen minutes, four right turns and a traffic circle.
That said, I had a friend at college in St Andrews who had failed four times down in our hometown who passed first time up there. Hardest part was weaving around all the sheep!! *grin*
23rd-Jun-2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
While I'm not surprised that it is the average response, I don't think that the UK test is across the board more difficult than the US one.

The problem is, there is no standardization of the US test, even intra-county. Examiners less than 20 miles apart will require different actions/skills.

I suppose if the state is a quiet one...say W. Virginia or Montana, it probably doesn't matter. One could pick up the local driving eccentricities quickly.

But, then there's places like NYC or Miami...where there are informal rules of driving and woe be the driver who goes against them.

I think the best idea would be to assume that even if you take your test in Podunk, MI, you may not live there your entire life...so drive as though downtown Chicago is just as likely as Rural Route 6121.

I'll give you my opinion after I take the test...since right now, I'm only theorizing about what it's like here (I actually have experience will all listed above :) ).
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