On Passing my Driving Test

HALLELUJAH! This Trini driver has passed her UK driver's test. Which is no small feat, letmetellyou. I have been driving for more than half my life, of course, but here in the UK you can only drive on a foreign (or even international) license for one year. So I called the AA and a nice man came to teach me how to pass the fiendish test.

The Theory and Hazard Perception parts of the test were no problem. But here, hardly anyone seems to pass their practical test the first time. Over the weekend, I googled "How to Pass your Driving Test" and it was all doom and gloom, people who had failed seven times, moaning about how hard it was. I dreaded the whole thing. I really like my instructor, and learning to drop 20 years of bad habits has been good. Also, there are great tips you can pick up. But driving around with someone telling you what to do and commenting on every little thing is NERVEWRACKING. I had had enough.

The night before my test, I dreamed that I sped off with my driving examiner, and he said, "You are SUPPOSED to use the steering wheel."

I looked around as we careened down the street. "Oh my GOD! Where IS the steering wheel?!?!"

"Look, just pull over here," he snapped. I did, and he got out to make a phone call. And then he just wasn't there! So I got out to look for him, and when I turned back, the car was GONE. I had left the engine running and someone must have stolen it! And then I realised that I had no idea where I was, and had left my handbag in a locker back at the DSA. (For the Theory test, you have to put your bag in a locker.) I woke up completely traumatized and didn't sleep much for the rest of the night.

My test was at 8.10 a.m, the time of crowds of schoolkids, Mums crawling along looking for somewhere to park, harried businessmen, buses, dog walkers, bicycles. I didn't have to leave my handbag in a locker, which was a relief. And the steering wheel was definitely there. The very first thing my examiner asked me to do was pull over on the left, which I did. Then he asked me to turn the car round. Ha. We were in the skinniest street, with cars parked on both sides and a lamp post on my left. I did a million-point turn, forgetting that you should always pull up the handbrake when you are changing from reverse to forward and vice versa (did you know that one? It's sensible. Gives you a chance to look round and not accidentally mash the accelerator instead of brake. I like this rule) and so I got a little flustered. Yes, I got totally confused turning a car around. Once I was facing the other way, I took a deep breath, and figured I was well on the way to failing and would chalk it up to experience. We drove around a bit, avoiding cyclists and kids and buses and such, and then we went back to the DSA, and he told me I had passed.

Well blow me down!


Unknown said…
Well done, you. I'm sure Sean must be proud of you, as you most certainly are, and deservedly so. Now all you need do is persuade him to buy you a 1948 Bentley Saloon, black and polished, so that you might drive around in the regal style to which you are most certainly entitled.
Anonymous said…
Congrats to Nan! YAY!
I cannot imagine driving on the opposite side of the road.
Nan Sheppard said…
Haha, Lou, that sounds like a plan! I need more minions though, for the daily polishing, and obviously a chauffeur too.

Green Girl, in Trinidad we drive on the same side as the UK, it's YOU who drive on the wrong side :)
Congrats, Nan! We passed ours too. In Italy! Driving on the right! With a written test designed to trick you! With more road signs than Carter's has little liver pills! While real life drivers are ignoring every rule the book says is important and trying to intimidate you at the same time!
I guess it's not easy in any country. Well done!
Anonymous said…
YAAY! Congrats! Although you spoiled the suspense a bit, giving it away at the beginning ;)
I'm not at all surprised.
You can do anything you want to.......

Anonymous said…
My driving test in Trini during the awesome 80s went like this...
Get in car with examiner, drive to coolest bar in woodbrook, squeeze into small space between 2 cars so that examiner could go into bar to get a drink, drive back to license department.

Nan Sheppard said…
Oh yes! Mine was just the same, Vicki!
Prue said…
I'm a new reader to your blog and I love it! I have a 'funny' regarding driving : my son is learning. He is still at the basic theory stage and not allowed in a car. So far so good, you say! Not so. Now he is noticing how many violations I invoke, as I chauffeur him around. So I have turned it into a positive learning lesson : "Basically, whatever the question, imagine me driving and the answer is the opposite of what I do!"
Happy driving everyone :)
Kath McGurl said…
Wahey, well done Nan!