One L-Plate, please

Those of y’all here in the states might not be familiar with the concept of the L-Plate, but I’ve earned one today, and I only had to take one test.

I had referenced this on Monday, just as a “major life change”, however today I can say what that change is – getting my driving license. The first step was to get my Learner’s permit renewed. One of the more interesting regulations about driving here in my state is that you only have to take your skills test if your original permit is expired for more than 8 years. Luckily, mine expired 7 years, 7 months ago.

So, we get to the DMV, I head in on my own, and get to see bureaucracy up close and in person. It’s such a beautiful thing to see, and is actually much improved over the last time I was in there. How you do it now is to stand in line and get asked what you’re there for. Then, you’re given a receipt, with a letter-number combination on it, and told to watch and/or listen for your number to pop up. Luckily, they have scroll boards installed which display news items in all range of items, from sport to world news.

Before I get back to my little adventure, here’s how it used to be there – you go, see a massive line of people just waiting to be served, join the queue and wait, and wait, and wait. Depending on when you came, there might have been separate lines for different types of service – titling and registration here, licensing there, etc. Even so, all the windows served all the people, so you never really knew. Before the first attempt at efficiency, there was the mass line, with the cattle call at the end. I have to say that the state’s done well with this new system.

So, anyway, I sit around for a little while, waiting for my number to be called, and it is, so I go up to the counter. It was at that point when I had to take the only licensing test I was required (until the skills test) – the vision test. All that consisted of was reading a line of letters, then the color-blindness test of saying what color each row’s number was, and then the peripheral vision test involving red lights.

After paying the $25 for the license, I head over for the picture, and they always say that license pictures are the worst ones you ever have taken. Mine’s no different – somehow my gray shirt turned yellow and there’s enough of a shadow from my nose to create the appearance of a mustache…

The next step? Refreshing my driving skills so that I can take the skills test. Legally, I can try for my probationary license as early as next Friday, but I know I won’t be ready by then – and, more than likely, there aren’t any slots open for then.

And, speaking of knowledge tests, I could get a Learner’s Permit from Victoria, based on the results of a practice test I took from down there. I only got 3 of the 32 questions wrong – and the ones I got wrong were about a pedestrian crossing, one about minimum distance between you and a bicycle, and one about what to do if you’re flashed by high-beams. Feel free to take the test yourself, and leave a note of how you went with it πŸ™‚

4 thoughts on “One L-Plate, please

  1. I tried the Victoria test, got 20-some questions along and it crashed Firefox.

    Do you think my correct answers will still count?

    I was doing fine on the common-sense questions, but a couple of the roadsigns – I don’t know about them.

  2. Well, that happens from time to time, eh? I think the answers would count πŸ˜‰

    Of course, you could always try out other sample tests which don’t use Java (supposedly).

    Also, I don’t know if it’s strange or just plain scary that I understand what a “hook-turn” is in Melbourne…

  3. Something I’ve wondered: in cars where the steering wheel is on the right-hand side e.g. UK, Australia etc., are the floor pedals “reversed” as well? In other words is the so-called gas pedal on the left side of the driver’s compartment?

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