Monday, May 4, 2015

Driving Me Potty - The Test

So I finally took my Pennsylvania driving test last week.  I'd booked it online about 6 weeks ago, and then promptly tried to forget all about it until a few days beforehand.

Hubby tried to calm my nerves by telling me it was really easy (he did his before Christmas) and all I needed to worry about was the parallel parking (which was allegedly in a huge space big enough for pick-ups anyway) and stopping properly at all the stop signs...

So the night before the test, I spent half an hour with varying degrees of success trying to parallel park round his car in the driveway.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've actually parallel-parked a car since taking my driving test over 20 years ago.  (I prefer to drive around until I can find a space I can park in easily.)  My posh rear-view parking camera confused things, so I stopped looking at it.  Eventually I gave up trying to over-think things, and hoped that things would just go alright "on the night".

So at my allotted time I drove down to PennDot's local Driving Licence Center / Centre. I registered nervously at the front desk with all my paperwork, and was given instructions to drive myself round the back of the building and to wait in the parking bay marked for driving tests.  I'd got there early (as advised to), so I had a good 15 minutes to really wind up the nerves, particularly whilst looking at a coned off area in front of me that appeared to be set up for parallel parking...

Eventually a lady exited the building and sauntered on over to the car with her computer tablet.  She checked my paperwork again, and then asked me to demonstrate my lights, hazards, indicators, windscreen wipers and brakes...  That done, she got in the car and pointed at the coned area ahead, explaining that the parallel park would be first, and then we'd go for a little drive afterwards.  Under the terms of the test, I would have 3 attempts at the parallel park.  Close-up, the coned area looked teeny tiny, and not at all as large or as long as hubby had made out...  Nerves nearly got the better of me, but on the third attempt I parked successfully, and with a sigh of relief (me), and some jottings on the tablet (her), she asked me to drive ahead to the junction.  (Me remembering to stop properly at the stop sign).

Then to turn left. 

Then to turn right. 

Then to turn right again. 

And again.

Then left. 

Wait.  What?  We're back where we started?!  That was barely 4 minutes driving!  I think I passed one other car, and no traffic lights - just side roads in an estate of offices.

She advised me that I had passed the test (one slight caution for not using my indicators whilst parallel parking) and would I please now return to the desk for my photo licence.  And out she got and sauntered away again.

So that was my driving test in Pennsylvania.  Quite scary when you think about it - not exactly thorough, is it, especially compared to a UK driving test?  But I've passed.  Which means Hubby can stop nagging me about the insurance discounts we're missing out on, and I can stop worrying about having to take my driving test again!

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