UK driving license? Piece o’cake! After a lengthy process, which took much longer in terms of waiting than in terms of preparing or doing, and which left my wallet about £200 lighter, I am now a properly-licensed British driver as well.
Well, ok, I did take a couple of hours of additional instruction this morning, immediately preceding the test. It was not a waste of time by any means, as the instructor did manage to make me constantly aware of where I kept my hands, how thoroughly I was checking all blind spots, and how closely I was approaching the speed limit (see this post for a discourse on why those things are important). He also drilled me on the four “special” maneuvers that may figure in a given test, of which I ended up being tested on three.
But in the end, it was more or less along the lines of exuding enough experience. While I felt a bit nervous (ok, very nervous – I even started sweating!), the examiner soon realized that I was not a novice. She visibly relaxed, kept her requests to a minimum, and even chatted me up once we were driving back to the center. The three “special” things that she did ask me to do were an emergency stop in the middle of the road (push the brakes hard enough to come to an immediate stop but not violent enough to give yourself and the passenger whiplash), a reverse around the corner (which is not as easy as it sounds when one is seeking by-the-rules perfection) and the good old-fashioned parallel parking (which I predictably nailed).
The examiner wrote me up for one instance of “use of speed” and one instance of less than ideal observing of the conditions around me during the reverse. I guess she needed to find something objectionable to make the test official. Given that there are 15 minor faults that are allowed, being written up for just two was certainly acceptable.
And that’s the end of this epic. If you’d like to read about previous stages of the process, feel free to peruse the auto trivia collection of posts.