Author Topic: How tough is the American driving test?  (Read 21769 times)

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Offline Andrewa

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How tough is the American driving test?
« on: May 09, 2013, 01:32:10 PM »
Hi, I read in many threads that most Americans choose to drive 'stick shift' (Automatic gear box). I also note that I see in films, the gear shifter in the USA is often not between the two front seats - but on the steering column.
(I've never seen this on cars in Europe).

In my country if you take the driving test with an automatic gear box, you cannot drive a manual gear shift car with the same license, as manual is obviously harder. Is this the same as in the USA?

The driving test in England is quite tough, although I have no idea if it's tougher than the American one. It's probably near identical.

* Multiple-choice theory test (50 questions over 40 mins) 86% correct needed to pass.

* Hazard perception test (Video test to test reaction times over 20 mins or so).

* Vehicle maintenance safety checks on car & Practical test (driving test - up to 45 mins with: reverse parallel park, parallel park and emergecy stop etc).

I think this may be why people want to go for a full manual license over here, and get it over with - rather than being crippled by an automatic license as people can not be bothered to re-take the test and risk failing. ($123 down the drain).

I was just guessing other than the fact the USA is a huge country and therefore your foot must get really fatigued on the clutch pedal over long journeys, why the USA seems to sell (mostly) Automatic cars?

Is this maybe linked to either big miles needed, or perhaps your automatic gear box test, is easier than your manual test? Our is identical, just you cannot legally drive a manual on an automatic license.

Traffic is so bad here in England (UK) in the inner city, that many people now drive automatic gear box, although passing on a manual driving license.

The main failure in the test over here is you don't get to go on 5 lane-wide Interstate (Motorways), or get tested at night time. (I believe that is changing soon though).

How hard do you think the Driving test Alberta is?

Thanks for the education.

P.S Is it true you can still use a cell-phone whilst driving? That is illegal here. Smoking and eating at the wheel is a potential problem also as it constitutes not having two hands on the wheel/paying attention.

Offline ChillyWilly

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 01:39:46 AM »
The American driving test is pretty easy... you pick up the booklet of laws at the DMV and study it for a couple hours and you'll have no problem with the written test. You provide your own vehicle for the behind-the-wheel test, so it's your own car, so it should be something you have no trouble with. The US makes no difference in license between manual or automatic transmission, and 99%+ cars are automatic. Most American cars have the shifter between the seats in the front unless the vehicle has a bench seat for more than two people in the front, then the shifter is on the steering column. 99%+ cars will have the shifter between the front seats.

There is a vision test, but it's mainly to be sure you don't need glasses, or your glasses are fine. Whether you can do anything else while driving varies from state to state, but you should NEVER do ANYTHING else while taking the test, legal or not. Texting your "buds" while doing the driving test is a great way to fail, even if it's legal. You'll never be asked about anything other than driving the car in the behind-the-wheel test... no checking the oil or brake fluid or anything like that. It's left to the driver and/or owner of the vehicle to be sure it's safe to drive, with penalties assessed after the car fails rather than checking before hand. Note that some states or cities have a yearly vehicle safety inspection your car must pass.

The US is indeed HUUUUUUUUUGE - it's almost 20 miles round trip to the post office from my house. So not only is automatic transmission ubiquitous, but most also have cruise control. Cruise control is great for long trips on the freeways. It's almost unheard of for the behind-the-wheel test to get out of a small neighborhood, much less onto a freeway.

The usual procedure is you go into the DMV, take the written test, and assuming you pass it you then do the behind-the-wheel test. Note that the behind-the-wheel test may require you to come back another day depending on how busy they are. In the behind-the-wheel test, you generally attempt to parallel park in a space at the DMV, then pull out onto the road for a quick drive around the block. This part rarely lasts more than five to ten minutes and almost never puts you on a major thoroughfare. When you get back to the DMV, assuming you passed, you then take the vision test (note that this order is funny... you'd think they would check your eyes BEFORE the road test, but most don't). Assuming you pass the vision test, you then pay all your fees and finish the paperwork and get a temporary license that is good until the proper license arrives in the mail.

For experienced drivers from other countries, the tests are easy enough. Just be sure to read that booklet on state laws from the DMV - look for things that are illegal in that state compared to where you're from... or vice versa. For example, nearly every state in the US allows for turning right at a red light after you stop completely and yield to all through traffic. Some testers will fail you if you DON'T make a right on red, but just sit there until the light changes. The reason is a) you're holding up traffic, and b) clearly didn't learn the driving laws from the booklet.

Offline noypi

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2013, 05:14:56 AM »
'stick shift' is standard or manual transmission.
automatic is automatic transmission.

Offline TheRealGamer2020

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2013, 09:24:52 PM »
The tests are fairly easy but do vary from state to state. In some states the test is so easy that the license is only valid in that state.

Offline Conle

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2013, 09:45:48 PM »
The tests are fairly easy but do vary from state to state. In some states the test is so easy that the license is only valid in that state.

JFYI this is just pure spam....

Offline ChillyWilly

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 04:01:36 AM »
JFYI this is just pure spam....

I was just going to remark on that. By federal law, all states MUST accept a drivers' license from any other state. Period. Now they can still write you a ticket for not obeying different laws that you didn't know about, but the license is not an issue.

Offline TheRealGamer2020

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 03:58:34 PM »
Seriously? You call that spam when I'm just repeating what I was told by a driving instructor who is one of the best in Maine? I meant valid in the sense that some states won't accept the license if you try to transfer it. An example would be Rhode Island because the test is stupid easy to pass.

Offline Conle

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 04:17:04 PM »
Seriously? You call that spam when I'm just repeating what I was told by a driving instructor who is one of the best in Maine? I meant valid in the sense that some states won't accept the license if you try to transfer it. An example would be Rhode Island because the test is stupid easy to pass.

You got it wrong : The OP is just pure spam/ad.But its  the kind of spam thread that gets filled with useful information(For some of you) and that's why it has not being deleted....

Offline ChillyWilly

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Re: How tough is the American driving test?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2013, 05:49:36 AM »
Seriously? You call that spam when I'm just repeating what I was told by a driving instructor who is one of the best in Maine? I meant valid in the sense that some states won't accept the license if you try to transfer it. An example would be Rhode Island because the test is stupid easy to pass.

While I've never heard of a state that required someone to take their driving test when getting a license while holding a valid license for another state, I suppose it's possible. Usually they only require you to retake the driving portion if your old license was expired past a certain time constraint, say six months or a year or something similar. Even if a state is known for having poor testing, that doesn't mean ALL stations in the state are poor, or vice versa. Texas generally gave fairly hard tests, but until the early 90's, you could retake the test every day until you passed, so some people who couldn't drive simply showed up every single day until the station got tired of them and passed them, even though they still couldn't drive. Texas finally fixed that by making a state law that says if you flunk the test three times in a row, you can't retest for six months.

Offline KezlyHOM

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