Author Topic: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)  (Read 4944 times)

shelivesthedream

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I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« on: April 28, 2016, 05:10:39 AM »
Those of you who follow my journal will know that last year I started having driving lessons again after failing four tests from 2008-2010 and no having no confidence in my ability to ever pass the test. Well, I'm proud to announce that I passed today with only three minors! If you'd asked me maybe two years ago I would have said I would never try again. Now I am a fully licensed UK driver!

The first thing most people have said is "Well done!" but the second thing is usually "When are you going to buy a car? What car are you going to buy?" To which the answer is a gleeful "I'm not buying a car at all!" Driving license win and mustache win all in one!

trailperson

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2016, 05:50:55 AM »
Congratulations! I passed my driving test on my third try last year at age 27. I also don't own a car.

JrDoctor

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2016, 06:41:23 AM »
Congratulations and thats a good choice if you can avoid needing a car.
I have two failed attempts, really need to try again because in 7/2017 I have no idea where my jobs will be or the commute will be like.  What do you think made you pass this time?  Any tips for making it more mustachian learning?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 06:43:18 AM by JrDoctor »

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2016, 07:41:52 AM »
Congratulations!!

prognastat

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 07:50:50 AM »
Congratulations, I completely understand the feeling.

I took lessons and my exams in the Netherlands and part of me feels they just fail most people to make money. However the every time I failed the amount of money spent just made my nerves worse every time despite being a proficient driver during lessons. Eventually after being about 4,000 - 5,000 down the hole and was just completely stressed every test I went towards and my theoretical exam was about to expire after 1 year worth of trying to pass my practical exam.

At the time I was working on moving to the US to be with my wife so I ended up putting getting my drivers exam until after moving to the US. It wasn't until about 2-3 years later that I took the exam in the US without any further lessons in that time and passed on the first try. I was so relieved at that time to finally be done with it.

I don't know if the UK is similar to the netherlands in this way, but in the Netherlands having a car is not seen as an essential the way it is in the US and because of that they gladly fail you and make you pay out of the nose even more.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 08:03:18 AM »
Congratulations and thats a good choice if you can avoid needing a car.
I have two failed attempts, really need to try again because in 7/2017 I have no idea where my jobs will be or the commute will be like.  What do you think made you pass this time?  Any tips for making it more mustachian learning?

I've been driving since i was 15.5 (earliest I could get a learner's permit, actual license at 16). Passed my license test on the first try, perfect score (included a parallel parking component).

Tips for passing the test? Practice, practice, and practice. Drive in different areas if you can (highways, rural roads, inner cities) and practice parking in an empty parking lot. Always anticipate what the other idiots around you are going to do next, and assume they're going to do something stupid.

GuitarStv

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 08:52:37 AM »
I have a tip for passing your drivers test . . . don't go to the test in a manual in Ontario.  In Ontario you will instantly fail your test if you do not down shift (and fully release the clutch) every time that you slow the vehicle down.  Even if it makes no sense to do so (like approaching a red light from 60 kph).

^ That's why I had to repeat my driver's test.
Parallel parking - check.
Hill parking - check.
Reversing into a parking spot - check.
Driving in traffic - check.
Using mirrors properly - check.
Signalling properly - check.
Driving on the highway - check.
Oh, you came to a stop and shifted from 3rd to 1st without shifting to 2nd gear for no reason?  - Instant fail.

I retook my test a couple weeks later in an automatic and passed with no problems.  Then continued to drive the manual that I had been driving for the last two years.  :S

shelivesthedream

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2016, 10:14:29 AM »
Congratulations and thats a good choice if you can avoid needing a car.
I have two failed attempts, really need to try again because in 7/2017 I have no idea where my jobs will be or the commute will be like.  What do you think made you pass this time?  Any tips for making it more mustachian learning?

Not gonna lie, it was not mustachian at all. Over the past six months I have had 96 hours of lessons with a professional instructor - approx two two-hour lessons a week. No private practice. If it were up to me, I probably wouldn't have bothered learning again. The amount of money I spent on my first set of lessons and failed tests and the amount of money I spent on those 96 hours makes me die a little inside. But my grandmother is weirdly fixated on her grandchildren passing her driving test, so she basically wrote a blank cheque and said let me know whenever you need more money for lessons. So she paid every penny. I only started again to make an old woman happy and to be honest when I started I couldn't imagine passing.

But what was different this time?

First, my instructor this time was much more professional. I realise that now. My first instructor would arrive late every time (just five to ten minutes, but still...), chat all the time, put the radio on, get me to stop so he could run to the shop, fill up with petrol during my lessons... I was seventeen and didn't have a clue, so I didn't question it, but now I wonder if he was even watching me driving. My new instructor has been fantastic. Totally focused on the lesson, always on time. We only started chatting at all about six weeks ago, when we started just practicing everything rather than learning new stuff, and even then any time something came up (like a roundabout) she'd stop and focus on the job in hand. I also had a female instructor this time. I don't know if it made a difference but it might be worth a try, especially if you're a woman.

Second, I took LOADS of lessons. Practice does make perfect. I'll be honest, having basically a blank cheque helped a lot because it took the financial pressure off. If I had been paying for and budgeting for my own lessons I would have been tempted to skimp.

Third, I was much more confident when it came to asking questions and making sure I understood everything. It came to be that I'd say "So... what if..." and my instructor would say "Is this another difficult question? OK, go ahead." But I asked all the stupid questions, all the complicated questions, all the hypothetical questions. And I wasn't afraid to say I didn't understand.

Fourth, I kept my lessons a total secret from everyone except my grandmother, my husband and my instructor. I didn't even tell my parents. (Note to self: ring mother ASAP and tell her you passed your driving test...) No pressure to hurry up and take the test and no pressure to pass the test. Keeping the secret was a bit stressful sometimes, and I did wonder if it was a bit stupid, but it helped me feel better about my test.

Fifth, I really did not book the test until I felt ready to be driving independently on all sorts of roads. Whatever your instructor says, if you don't feel ready then you're not ready.

Sixth, I kinda got lucky on my test. Yes, I probably could have passed if I'd had a different route (and I did have to parallel park!) but I didn't have to join a dual carriageway on a slip road or change to the right lane on a dual carriageway, both of which I find stressful. I can do them, but the nerves might have made me do something stupid or just stress me out generally for the test. I also had a female examiner which I think helped because it felt more like my instructor than a male examiner would have done, and she was really smiley and friendly-sounding! I don't think the route or examiner were game-changing, but they made me feel better which made me drive better.

Seventh, I made driving a priority for the month before the test. I'm freelance so I can shuffle things around but if something clashed with a driving lesson then I changed the thing so I could still have the lesson, and I spent a lot of time going over the show-me-tell-me questions and some of the theory stuff again until I felt confident.

Eighth, I realised that I was prepared and that I could drive. What I needed to work on was my nerves. So I had three mock tests with my instructor. The first one I was shaking and cried afterwards. But I still "passed"! The second and third were better, even though I "failed" them (few minors but one serious on each, due to random stupidity). And when we did the mock tests, we did EVERYTHING. Starting from a road next to the test centre, reading the numberplate, the questions, explaining the test, writing down the faults... So it really felt like the test. I also worked on breathing exercises by myself and imagined the test, imagined myself driving calmly and happily, imagined myself not getting stressed out by minor problems, imagined myself greeting the examiner with a smile and being happy to have the opportunity to show them how well I can drive... I also ingrained in my mind through repetition that I should just do exactly what I normally do, exactly as I would do anything during a lesson.

Ninth, denial. I denied in my head that it was the real driving test. My instructor and I called it the "driving check" because it sounds less intimidating. As I sat in the waiting room I said in my head loudly and firmly, "How nice of my instructor to arrange this mock check with one of her colleagues before I book my real driving test in the future." I pretended during the test that the examiner was one of my instructor's friends who wanted to check on her instructing, not my driving. I totally faked ease and confidence with the examiner, greeting her with a big smile and a handshake. (Except when I couldn't start the car because the steering lock was on and I freaked out, but the examiner was super duper nice about it and reminded me...) I chatted with the examiner about how many people spell our respective names wrong and how nice the weather was, just as if we were taking a nice motoring excursion. (But I frequently broke off in mid sentence to do something like turn right and then started up again when I'd finished it.)

Tenth, information. I read EVERYTHING I could find about what the test would be like and what the examiners would be looking for. The best thing was that I found a guidance leaflet for training examiners on the DVLA website, which explained every aspect of the test from the examiner's point of view. It really humanised them and gave me a bit of perspective that stopped me catastrophising everything. It also encouraged me to drive normally instead of being on special behaviour.

So that might be slightly more intense than you were expecting, but I started and just couldn't stop! Three main lessons:
1. Work on your driving until you and your instructor both feel confident about your driving ability. Book your test because YOU feel ready.
2. Work on your nerves and doom-thinking. 
3. Remember that the driving test is a check that you're competent enough to be on the roads alone, not a measure of your worth as a person.

Metric Mouse

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2016, 12:39:20 PM »
Congrats! Getting through a stressful problem like that  is always reason to celebrate.

In America I don't imagine we feel the same way about the driver's test. It must be much more intensive in Europe. Having gone through the NREMT National Registry practical tests, I can identify with the nerves/performance anxiety/massive, indescribable joy of having mastered such a difficult series of actions. 

prefixcactus

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2016, 06:49:08 AM »
Gratz! What did you do it for?

In my case the reasons for getting a license at 20 were:
1) because it's better to be able to drive than not,
2) to help my parents occasionally, and
3) to exploit the fact that local insurance companies and other car-related bureaucrats judge you mainly by how recently you got your license (so accumulating the years means cheaper insurance, rentals and whatnot if/when I'll need a car).

Also, we have a commercial car-sharing program coming up, although it seems a bit expensive and uses stupid automatic-transmission sedans.

cerat0n1a

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2016, 07:22:57 AM »
In America I don't imagine we feel the same way about the driver's test. It must be much more intensive in Europe.

Day to day driving in America is easier than in the UK - and it's not really to do with the manual v automatic thing. Even driving in Manhattan, Boston, SF feels relatively comfortable in comparison. The driving test is correspondingly more difficult. Almost everyone gets taught by a professional driving instructor, most people don't drive regularly in their teens. I know many people who have failed the test several times and not passed until their mid-late twenties.
 
Well done, shelivesthedream! I would say that, even if you never buy a car, you should drive on your own at least once or twice after passing if you can. It could be a bit of an ordeal if you wait a long time to do it.

prefixcactus

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2016, 04:04:56 PM »
Day to day driving in America is easier than in the UK - and it's not really to do with the manual v automatic thing. Even driving in Manhattan, Boston, SF feels relatively comfortable in comparison. The driving test is correspondingly more difficult. Almost everyone gets taught by a professional driving instructor, most people don't drive regularly in their teens. I know many people who have failed the test several times and not passed until their mid-late twenties.

Your description strongly reminds me of the situation here in Russia, and it just made me think of that "Good Old-fashioned Trust" point. Maybe that is the reason? Around here, one of the reasons driving is so difficult is that you absolutely can not trust anyone else on the road to drive sensibly. Passing the test requires about as much skill in following the rules as anticipating the moves of and avoiding those who don't.

cerat0n1a

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2016, 11:10:19 PM »
Your description strongly reminds me of the situation here in Russia, and it just made me think of that "Good Old-fashioned Trust" point. Maybe that is the reason? Around here, one of the reasons driving is so difficult is that you absolutely can not trust anyone else on the road to drive sensibly. Passing the test requires about as much skill in following the rules as anticipating the moves of and avoiding those who don't.

Ha, no, driving in Russia is crazy bad. At least in other places where there appear to be few rules, people are mostly sober and looking out for each other. Being in a car in say, India, is an experience - you go on the pavement, on the wrong side of the road, there are cows and all kinds of things sharing the same space, but everyone is actively trying to avoid hitting things. Moscow is more like being in a car chase scene in a movie.

Britain is nothing like that. The accident rate here is one of the lowest in the world and people mostly obey the rules and are courteous, other than seemingly everyone driving at 10% over the speed limit. It's just that the population density is high and the layout of towns and cities mostly predates cars. You're having to make decisions frequently. It's not like much of the US where you might reasonably expect to be able to use cruise control and to stay at the same speed and in the same lane for a while.

prefixcactus

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2016, 12:50:29 AM »
Ha, no, driving in Russia is crazy bad. At least in other places where there appear to be few rules, people are mostly sober and looking out for each other. Being in a car in say, India, is an experience - you go on the pavement, on the wrong side of the road, there are cows and all kinds of things sharing the same space, but everyone is actively trying to avoid hitting things. Moscow is more like being in a car chase scene in a movie.

Britain is nothing like that. The accident rate here is one of the lowest in the world and people mostly obey the rules and are courteous, other than seemingly everyone driving at 10% over the speed limit. It's just that the population density is high and the layout of towns and cities mostly predates cars. You're having to make decisions frequently. It's not like much of the US where you might reasonably expect to be able to use cruise control and to stay at the same speed and in the same lane for a while.

I don't think the situation here isn't as bad as you seem to think it is. Most people do genuinely want to not get into an accident (even though the fraction of those who don't care is significantly higher), but they also seem to want to have things their way, which apparently includes getting where they want as rapidly as possible.

Still, your explanation applies here as well: most city layouts are still soviet-style, and back then you had to wait up to 20 years in a queue to get a car. The traffic density was several orders of magnitude lower, with matching city layouts.
And in addition to that, driving culture was also pretty much confined to that small class of people lucky enough to have an automobile and passed on verbally to the next generation (along with the car). Then the Great Politics Mess-up hit, people who had no connection to this car-driving world suddenly acquired copious amounts of foreign cars... Combined with all the other crazy stuff that went on in the '90s, this set the trend for years to come. The whole situation does seem to have improved significantly as of now, I personally have not experienced anything resembling the level of mayhem I've been told to expect.

cerat0n1a

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2016, 02:15:30 AM »

I don't think the situation here isn't as bad as you seem to think it is. Most people do genuinely want to not get into an accident (even though the fraction of those who don't care is significantly higher), but they also seem to want to have things their way, which apparently includes getting where they want as rapidly as possible.

On my last trip to Moscow, I saw a collision actually happen on each day I was there. More "accidents" in a week than in the rest of my life elsewhere. Plus everyone seems to have a camera in their car, which I haven't seen elsewhere. Possibly my view is coloured by a taxi ride back to the airport, where our driver appear to be a drunk version of James Bond. Faced with two trucks in adjacent lanes travelling at 60 mph or so, he carefully lined up the car in the narrow gap between them and then accelerated up to about 100mph before going through, just in case either of them moved sideways by an inch or two and closed the space. He also took the racing line through some roadworks,  carefully avoiding cones and holes in the ground.

former player

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2016, 07:31:06 AM »
Congratulations, OP.  Sounds like a textbook approach to taking the exam.

It's possible that your grandmother equates a driving licence with independence, adulthood and the ability to safely get oneself out of a troublesome situation, all of which are good things for a grandchild to acquire.

prefixcactus

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2016, 08:39:46 AM »
On my last trip to Moscow, I saw a collision actually happen on each day I was there. More "accidents" in a week than in the rest of my life elsewhere. Plus everyone seems to have a camera in their car, which I haven't seen elsewhere. Possibly my view is coloured by a taxi ride back to the airport, where our driver appear to be a drunk version of James Bond. Faced with two trucks in adjacent lanes travelling at 60 mph or so, he carefully lined up the car in the narrow gap between them and then accelerated up to about 100mph before going through, just in case either of them moved sideways by an inch or two and closed the space. He also took the racing line through some roadworks,  carefully avoiding cones and holes in the ground.
You must've been very "lucky" to get anything that bad. In all my years in Moscow I've never seen a single collision in person, actually, and drivers such as yours are a well-known but almost never seen phenomenon.
Ah, and by the way the cameras are usually used for the purpose of defending yourself from false allegations by police (less common now, but rampant just a bit earlier).
When was your visit?

shelivesthedream

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2016, 09:07:56 AM »
Congratulations, OP.  Sounds like a textbook approach to taking the exam.

It's possible that your grandmother equates a driving licence with independence, adulthood and the ability to safely get oneself out of a troublesome situation, all of which are good things for a grandchild to acquire.

I suspect that is secretly what she thinks, but I have hardly shown myself to be a feckless layabout thus far so I'm not sure what added extra a driving licence gives! Still, I am glad I did it because I have it for life now and obviously one wants to have it before one urgently needs it.

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2016, 10:03:16 AM »
Congratulations!

It has to be different outside the US.  I've never met anyone that failed the US driving test.  If I did, I would not get in the car with them even after they passed.  We should probably make it a bit more difficult here, we may actually end up with far fewer incompetent drivers.  It may even save a few hundred thousand lives. :)

Metric Mouse

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2016, 11:51:55 AM »
Congratulations!

It has to be different outside the US.  I've never met anyone that failed the US driving test.  If I did, I would not get in the car with them even after they passed.  We should probably make it a bit more difficult here, we may actually end up with far fewer incompetent drivers.  It may even save a few hundred thousand lives. :)

At current death rates, that would mean a reduction of traffic deaths to zero for a decade. Do you think that a more stringent test would accomplish that?

cerat0n1a

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2016, 12:27:36 PM »
When was your visit?

Most recently, 4 years ago. The various EU sanctions against Russia put a stop to the business activity I was doing there - not because our export activity was actually banned, just that our company management decided (correctly IMO) that it wasn't worth the hassle. Most of my time was in an outer suburb towards Zelenograd, which may have been a factor in the driving I saw.

The dashcams were explained to me as being mainly about preventing insurance scams where people (pedestrians and other drivers) would stage accidents.

shelivesthedream

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2016, 05:18:44 AM »
Congratulations!

It has to be different outside the US.  I've never met anyone that failed the US driving test.  If I did, I would not get in the car with them even after they passed.  We should probably make it a bit more difficult here, we may actually end up with far fewer incompetent drivers.  It may even save a few hundred thousand lives. :)

I did look up pass rate statistics in the UK a while ago, and it's basically that whatever attempt number this is, slightly under 50% of people pass. So 50% of people pass first time, of people who have a second attempt 50% of those pass second time (so 25% of people total pass second time), then of those who have a third attempt 50% of those pass third time... So by the time you get to fourth or fifth time most people will have passed but there are still some people trying. There's a lot of talk about some test centres being easier than others but it's rarely a huge difference, particularly between two local test centres - they all range from about 40% to 60%.

FIreDrill

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Re: I passed my driving test! (And I'm not buying a car!)
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2016, 06:09:54 AM »
Haha love the fact that your not buying a car.  Must be amusing to see the reactions of people who ask you that.   Well done!

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