I wanted to make 2015 the year that I finally learn to drive and pass my driving test. I had a driving test booked for a day back in March and I was all psyched up for it but unfortunately it got cancelled for some unknown reason and I then had to wait until June.
Between March and June I think I actually got worse at driving which I didn’t think was even possible so as the new test approached there was no way I was expecting to pass and looked it more as seeing what to expect so I’ll know for the next time. Also, it was a great excuse for a lie in and going to work a little later on a Monday morning.
It was a different driving instructor that took me to the test centre and she assumed I knew the way. Erm, no…even though I drive that way every week on my lessons there’s usually someone telling me which way to go as I’m too busy concentrating on keeping the car between the middle of the road and the kerb.
However, we did get there and got there safely too.
After waiting a few minutes at the test centre for the examiner coming to fetch me the first few words she said to me I had no idea what she had said and I was just like “I’m sorry, what?” It turns out she is originally from some bizarre Scottish island, has a really thick accent and all she had actually said was “good morning”. Hmmm, great start, I thought. So, off we went to the car…
The way the driving tests work in the UK is that as well as having to do a theory test (which I passed a year ago with flying colours – answering written questions I’m actually good at) and the practical driving, the instructor also asks some “show me, tell me” questions during the test so that you know how the mechanics of a car work. I had quickly studied this the night before…
Big mistake. Big! Huge!
Before we even got in the car the instructor asked me to pop the bonnet open. So, I get in the car, scrambled around to find a button and after almost adjusting the steering wheel column I found the correct button and popped it open. Phew, I thought, maybe she never noticed…
I then got back out of the car and went to open the bonnet. It was unlocked but it wouldn’t lift up. Damn it, there must be another button under the bonnet. My God, it’s worse than the games in The Crystal Maze, I thought. I start sliding my fingers along the small opening and can’t find any little button. By now my hands are black and my face red and then the examiner tells me that it’s probably near the middle. Great, this is going really well! I eventually pop it open and think that this can’t get much worse and I haven’t even started to drive yet!
It did get worse almost within a second of popping the bonnet open.
“Show me where and how to check the oil” she said.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, I thought. I forgot or had a mind block or was too worried about having dirty hands to remember the answer or something. What should I do? Be honest? No. Cover all bases I decided. So, wait for it, what did I do?
I pretty much waved my hand over everything under the bonnet and said “just check there”. Think of the waving that a magician and their assistant do when they are trying to prove that there is nothing up their sleeves and no hidden objects and that was me!
“Where?” she asked again, bemused, so I repeated the previous magician’s assistant move and said “oh, just there”. Well, technically I was correct as it was there somewhere, right?
“Hmmmmmm, okay and how would you check?” she then asked.
Shit. A two part question! Something about dipsticks, say something about dipsticks, I thought.
“Dipsticks?” I said as if it wasn’t even a real word.
“Get in the car and I’ll ask you the next question” she said with disgust.
At that point I almost gave up, I just wanted to go and wash my dirty hands and settle with being a passenger for the rest of my life but I got in the car feeling like someone who was being kidnapped…and with dirty hands.
All settled in the car the examiner then started talking in her strange accent again and I recognised one word from her question – “tyres”. Oh, oh, oh, I know this one, I excitedly thought and blurted out “1.6mm” before she had even finished speaking.
She rolled her eyes and told me to drive away…
As it goes, the test didn’t go too badly after that. No, I didn’t pass but I didn’t expect to anyway. The main thing was I didn’t fail by anything as badly as I thought I would have. There was a couple of silly mistakes which I’m quite annoyed about let me down. No one died and now I know what to expect for my next one so I see it as a positive!
My next test is September but I’m hoping for a cancellation to come up so I can get it quicker. I will be studying my “show me, tell me questions” in more detail before the next test…oh, and taking some hand wipes!
What about you? What’s your driving test experiences? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @SteveSays2014