Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The studying is over!

Yesterday was the big day....test day. We had been warned since arriving in Germany that passing the German driving test (written) was not an easy task. Being from the state of North Carolina we were only required to take the theoretical exam and were able to bypass the road test. Other friends of ours were handed a German license as soon as they arrived because they happened to be coming from a "fully reciprocal" state. Believe it or not South Carolina is one of those States. This still amazes both of us since so many of the rules of the road are so different over here than in the U.S. We don't plan on buying a car at this point. Between public transportation and our bikes we are able to get around easily. We need our European license so that we can rent cars for travel.

We began studying about 4 weeks ago and spent a lot of our free time taking practice tests and memorizing road signs. To give you an idea of some of the differences I will share some of the test questions.

1. Who is not allowed to drink alcohol while driving?

a. All drivers under the age of 21

b. All drivers

c. All drivers during their probation period

Answer: A and C. The dirver as well as everyone else in the car is allowed to drink while driving as long as the driver is over the age of 21. The driver must be under the legal limit in Germany at all times. Yikes!

2. What is the maximun speed you can drive a truck with a permissable total mass of 3.0 t on roads with one marked lane for each direction in outside built up areas?

Answer: 100km

There were several questions about driving trucks and the type of dangerous goods that I am allowed to transport on the autobahn in my big rig. I guess we should be prepared for anything and everything.

3. When driving an automatic vehicle in heavy traffic and in a built up area how can you save gas and protect the environment?

a. Drive in the gear "p" if possible

b. drive in the lowest gear possible for as long as possible

c. utilize the "kick down" mechanism, if possible.

This was a particularly hard one for me because I would assume that there was no correct answer. The answer is c although I am still not yet sure what a "kick down" mechanism is.

I wish that I could have found some examples of road signs as well, they can be pretty funny.

We had over 1700 questions to study while the test itself only consistsed of 30 questions. What makes it difficult to pass is that all of the questions are multiple choice and all can have more than one answer. On top of this if you miss more than two question you automatically fail, have to wait two weeks, pay 21 euros and try again. Now we can put all of our attention back on studying the German language as we attempt to talk with the locals.

It is so nice to be done studying road signs. After the test we both rode off on our bikes with big smiles on our faces. It is great to know that we can now drive in the EU for life since you are not required to renew your drivers license at any time.

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