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September 11, 2011

A few weeks ago I wrote a column describing my son Dov’s apprehensions and experiences preparing for his upcoming driving test and promised to let you know how it worked out.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive several e-mails and letters from you wishing Dov good luck and including some helpful pointers on what he should do in order to pass the test.  I shared these tips with him and we both found them very useful.


As you may recall Dov described himself as “just about the greatest driver inNorth America” and was sure that he would ace the test.  It was a much more nervous 16-year-old who got into my car on test day.  Naturally I let him drive to the testing station and we carefully reviewed all of the things that he would need to get right in order to pass the test.


Prospective drivers are tested on at least eight different sections of driving including pre-driving habits like fastening the seatbelt and adjusting mirrors, starting procedures like using a signal before moving and they are checked on their ability to drive in a straight line without weaving, following too closely or speeding.


Their turns are also carefully monitored to make sure that they turn at the proper speed into the appropriate lane after signalling and checking the blind spots.  Stop signs and traffic lights are another area that is verified including making sure that the stop is made at the right place – neither too far before or after the stop sign.


Lane changes and passing are another area looked at in great detail with the most important (as many of you wrote to me) requirement of checking the blind spot before changing carefully monitored by the tester.  Parking and backing up as well as properly controlling the vehicle make up the last requirements for passing the test and getting a driver’s license.


By the time we got to the license bureau we had a pretty apprehensive six-foot one teenager.  Although we had expected a long wait, Dov was taken out to take his driving test about 45 minutes after his scheduled appointment.  Although the 45 minutes seemed to pass fairly quickly for me it was apparently an eternity for Dov.


The test itself lasted about 25 minutes and according to Dov flew by while for me the wait seemed to last forever.  When he finally returned he had a big goofy smile plastered on his face and I knew that he must have passed the test.


Apparently he did all the driving things just fine but when it came to parallel parking he totally messed up on the first try.  His second try was no better and the tester stopped him in the middle and told him that if he continued he would have hit one of the other cars which would have been an immediate failure.  Instead the tester told him that as his driving was really excellent he would pass him if he promised to go home and learn how to park.  So it turns out that “just about the best driver in North America” really is a good driver but he’s just about the worst parallel parker inNorth America.  And I guess we’ll be in the car together practicing his parking until he finally gets it right.





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