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A license, finally

Well, well, well, look who is now a fully licensed British driver. Natasha has passed her road test!

She swears that taking three lessons with an instructor has helped her, so I guess I’ll do likewise. As I said before, the point was to practice the right tricks that ensure passing the test, and the lessons were useful, especially in the part where you need to open the bonnet – that’s local for popping the hood, for all of you Americans, – and explain where the washer fluid and the engine oil go (yes, you have to demonstrate that knowledge on the test here!).

Anyway, the test lasted about 45 minutes. It started with the vision check which consisted of reading a license plate at a certain distance. Following that, Natasha had to explain how to check the level of oil in the car, and afterwards, it was largely just careful driving around streets. Only a couple of maneuvers were required, such as reversing around a corner and making a U-turn (known as the three-point turn in these parts). There were numerous stops and starts along the way, and a half a dozen roundabouts, but the emphasis was not on specific skill but rather on overall carefulness and attentiveness to road conditions. Screwing your head around to check all of your – and your passenger’s – blind spots prior to executing any maneuver was a must.

The examiner marked Natasha down for 4 minor mistakes – and what examiner wouldn’t find at least something to mark down? – but the allowance is 15, so there was plenty of buffer room to mess up. Her instructor then jovially posited that the test passing rate in our area was at 42% (and in North London it’s something like 23%), but I am sure that very few of those examined can hold a candle to Natasha in terms of the actual driving experience.

As Natasha remarked, this is now her third full license (after Russia and the States), but she now does not have to get another one for 30 years 🙂

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If you’d like to see my other posts on the topic of English driving license, please click Automotive Trivia in the Expat Topics section on the left.

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