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Driving tests, UK vs. US

Steve & I recently had to get new driver's licenses, since we moved from one state to another. Washington's new licenses are rather pretty, and I even like my photo fairly well. But the really cool thing was, due to the fact that we had Washington licenses 3 years ago, they said we didn't have to take the written test again. (Nor the driving test, but we wouldn't have had to take that anyway.) I imagine I could have passed, having been a licensed driver for over ten years now; and anyway, I visited Washington State's Dept. of Licensing webpage and tried their practice test and did all right.

But this made me wonder: are there practice tests online for, say, UK driver licensing? And could I pass those? (I know I couldn't pass the driving test, what with being on the left side of the road and the right side of the car - or at least, I wouldn't dare try.) Turns out there are such tests online, and there are just enough differences in lane markings, road signs, and terminology, that I'm not sure I would pass the UK drivers' "theory test"; not without studying the manual first, anyway.

So, those who are not from the UK, you might want to try this test and see how you do. (I missed 5 of 14.)

Those who are not from the US, you might want to take this test (Washington state's) and see how you do.

Apparently the dashed vs. solid lines on the roadways don't mean the same thing in both countries...and I seem to remember that the color of the lines (yellow vs. white) had different meanings too.

In quiz news:

Take the Hey Hey, Which Monkee Are You? Quiz.

Who's surprised? Not me...



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 17th, 2003 02:58 pm (UTC)
Here in America...
...dashed lines you can cross, solid lines you can't. Yellow lines separate traffic lanes moving in opposite directions, white lines separate lanes moving in the same direction. I have no idea how it works in the UK.
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure either, but it sounds like it's significantly different, judging from bluesound's comments below. Scary!
Jul. 18th, 2003 02:12 pm (UTC)
I think driving in the UK would be very confusing!

Jul. 17th, 2003 03:39 pm (UTC)
I got four wrong too, but they were all ones about how much fines are, not the common sense ones (I think!)

So you have to do a written test every time you get a new licence? Is it the same if you have to renew your licence?
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:25 pm (UTC)
I don't think they should include the ones about how much the fines are. Does it matter if I know that it's a $250 fine to park in a handicapped spot? How about if I just don't park there? Knowing these things are illegal is all that should be required.

I think if you're just renewing your license, they don't make you take the knowledge test. They usually just check your eyesight briefly and take your photo, and you pay the fee and get the new one. When you move to another state you usually do have to take their knowledge test. There could be minor differences in state law that they want to make sure you know, I guess.
Jul. 17th, 2003 03:55 pm (UTC)
Britain keeps making it harder and harder to pass tests - we have theory, driving, and apparently now practical (changing tires etc). But we are quite safe drivers...
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:26 pm (UTC)
I don't think they test us on the practical stuff, though maybe they should! I didn't pass the knowledge test the first time, when I was 16, actually. Had to come back and re-take it. A lot of people end up doing that...maybe the tests are fairly hard here, then, too.
Jul. 17th, 2003 05:00 pm (UTC)
Hmm...I had a hard enough time passing my US driver's test...I don't even want to imagine how I would do in the UK! Unfamiliar situations freak me out drive-wise. Oh, and as a side note...I guess I'm like Peter Tork. Is that good? : )
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:27 pm (UTC)
Well, it's good to be like any Monkee, as far as I'm concerned. :)
Jul. 17th, 2003 11:02 pm (UTC)
It's sad that I didn't even understand half of those questions, isn't it? -_- Reversing onto side-streets? That's legal? ...why? *confused*
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:28 pm (UTC)
Hee hee. I like that icon too. You have a knack for these! (Not surprising, given your artistic talents.)

Reversing onto side-streets...I guess if you were parking there? In that event, it's probably legal in the States too. But they have a lot of awfully narrow streets in the UK, due to said streets being built in the Middle Ages, so maybe it's more of an issue, as they'd have no turn-around space.
Jul. 18th, 2003 12:26 am (UTC)
UK Driving Tests
There is in the UK a theory test of 35 questions (touch screen computer thing) and you have to get 30 out of 35 correct before being allowed to sit your driving test. The theory test relatively easy there is a book of all the questions and a CD Rom of the test available too. I don't know if it's on-line though, I think they like making money from the books and CD.The only reason people have for getting the questions wrong are misreading the question or being a bit confused by a trick question. Most of it is just common sense (how many people lack that?). (I got 32 out of 35).

The driving test itself is pesky, you must do 3 of the following 4 things.

1. Emergency Stop
2. Parallel Parking
3. Reversing round a corner
4. 3 point turn.

To this day I've never seen anyone who has passed their driving test reverse round a corner at about 2 mph and being concerned if they are more than 1 ft away from the kerb.

I've had my license of about 1 year and 10 months. And when I passed they changed the rules about having a driving license (this is one not a lot of people in the UK know) - if you get caught and done for any driving offence Going through red lights, speeding, etc, within 2 years of passing your test, your license will be revoked and you will have to sit your test all over again. I'm not sure if that includes the theory test too.

As for the difference between yellow and white lines, I'm not sure... I just make sure I don't eat the yellow snow. :)
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:31 pm (UTC)
We use the computer touch-screens too. I should have called it a "knowledge test," to be accurate, not a "written test."

Yeah, we've been wondering, in other comments up there, why anyone would need to reverse into a side street except in very rare parking situations. :)

The revocation of license thing sounds like the "provisional licenses" here in Washington, which are assigned if you're under 18. You're subject to stricter rules, such as not driving with three or more other minors unless they're in your immediate family. And of course certain traffic violations can get your license revoked. Varies from state to state.
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:00 am (UTC)
I got 16 out of 20 on the Washington driving test.

Oh and in the white lines would appear to be the same. The yellow lines are at the side of a street, and single ones allow limited time for parking, and double yellow lines, mean don't park here (or you'll get a parking ticket if you get caught).

In Edinburgh you allow get red lines, meaning something similar to yellow ones, but not sure since Edinburgh is the only place that seems to have them, and parking in the city centre is evil, because most places you need to have a parking permit for the zone you live in, and there are 10000 cars and something like 7500 parking spaces. Also traffic flows in bizarre ways so if you want to go somewhere, you can guarentee you'll end up swearing at a no left or no right turn sign and end up taking about 3 days to find an alternative route to where you wanted to go.

The is a city for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, not car owners.

Outside Edinburgh driving and parking are what could be described as fairly normal.
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:35 pm (UTC)
Doesn't look like the white and yellow lines are the same, actually...
As pipu explained above, in the U.S., "dashed lines you can cross, solid lines you can't. Yellow lines separate traffic lanes moving in opposite directions, white lines separate lanes moving in the same direction."

Also, you would find a white line on the outside edge of the lane (i.e., the side of the street), not yellow. Yellow cross-hatches on the pavement can mean "don't park here," as do yellow curbs. Don't think I've ever seen red lines. Just red curbs, sometimes, at loading zones (such as you might find at airports).
Jul. 18th, 2003 03:40 am (UTC)
I got 14/20, but, being English, most of the ones I got wrong were quite specific to US driving - like where pedestrians are allowed to cross.

With a little practice I'd pass, no problem.

The first time I took the British theory test I got 34/35, and the second time - I didn't take my practical, and the theory pass lapses after 3years, so I had to retake it before my driving test - I got 33/35. Our theory test is fairy easy, really.
Jul. 18th, 2003 01:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, the street signs could be learned pretty quickly, I imagine. It's the opposite-side-of-the-road thing that would be hard to get used to!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )