Monday, September 5, 2011

How to pass a driving test in Taiwan

Confession time: For those of you who don't already know, last week I failed my scooter driving test. I passed the written exam (despite all of the bizarrely phrased English) but, since the driving exam is basically one big balance test and I have notoriously bad balance, that one didn't go so well. The test actually has several components but the first part is the only section the judges actually watch (and, incidentally, by far the hardest). 

To pass the first section, you have to drive your scooter down a straight path that's about 45 feet long and 2 or 3 feet wide. Sounds easy, right? Well, have no fear, the DMV really went out of their way when creating the rules and regulations in order to make sure that those are just about the most most difficult 45 feet you'll ever face. First, you have to start from a dead stop, so you don't get any runway to get your balance. The test is also timed, so you have to go really slow. If you are under 7 seconds (meaning you went over 5 mph), you fail. So it's pretty much a slow motion balance crawl. You also automatically fail if you put your foot down at any point or hit the outside edge of the path with your tire. They even have a fail buzzer. Observe (this isn't my video):

In my defense, I wasn't the only one who failed. Half of this year's Fulbrighters failed one part or the other of the test on their first shot. Last year's ETAs did even worse. I had to wait 7 days before I was allowed to retake the practical. So, with the help (and the scooters) of my co-workers at both Dong Sing and Bei Cheng, I spent several evenings last week getting ready for my retake on Friday.
Check it out, I'm a licensed driver in two countries now!

Thankfully, all that extra practice paid off. Despite the rain and my nerves, I passed with flying colors! As I said, the judge doesn't really care what happens on the rest of the course as long as you pass the first section, so he didn't even notice when I got totally off balance and almost fell over in the last section (I was pretty positive that that was supposed to have cost me some points but I sure didn't tell him that).
Second time's the charm, Christine passed too
I'm getting a scooter sometime this week. Streets of Luodong, beware. Here I come! Now here's what I have to look forward to:

1 comment:

  1. Those streets look scary sis, be careful!!!! Congrats on passing, bad balance must run in the family, I'm not sure I'd be able to pass that test either....