Driving School Update-I Passed!!
I was told to be at the DMV at eight a.m. sharp, which we were. (I was there right on time even though I had a raging fever the night before 39C or 102F and was still feeling ill.) Veronica and Demetrio were there for moral support. Shortly after eight, my driving instructor arrived. He paced the room but looked calm and he chatted with other driving instructors and their pupils. When 8:30 came around and the examiners were filing into the building, he made his way over to get a look at the examiners. He saw someone he recognized and came over to tell me that this man in particular always asks to particular questions:
1) With my driver’s license, called Patente B, what type of motor vehicles would I be allowed to drive?
The answer is any motor vehicle weighing less than 3.5 tons and with nine seats or less. This means I’ll be able to drive: snowplows, tractors, bulldozers, small buses, mopeds (less than 125 cc) and many other types of wonderful agricultural vehicles.
2) He is also likely to ask about the towing capacity but I am allowed.
I am supposed to explain that if I wanted to tow something behind my car, this is something must weigh less than 750 kg. The weight of the car and the towed item must not weigh more than 3.5 tons and the towed item must not weigh more than the car.
I am not sure if I got the examiner that my driving instructor thought I would but I was not asked these questions. Instead, I was asked about street signs, road signs and general rules of the road. The man next to me, who was trying very hard, failed the exam because he got two street signs wrong and he did not answer correctly the following question:
What is the minimum safety distance but you need to keep from the car in front of you? In addition, what determines this distance?
The answer is (although there is some sort of formula for this safety distance) the examiners do not want to hear the formula. What they want to hear is that this distance depends on these things: your velocity/speed, the condition of the driver (sleepy/tired/ill), weather, visibility, weight of your vehicle, condition of your brakes and the condition of the road.
I was very nervous throughout the whole exam. I felt very lucky to be able to take the exam orally as I was allowed to gesture and look at diagrams. Overall, I am happy to have passed the first part of the exams and therefore be a little closer to actually receiving my Italian driver’s license. I must say that as a reasonably educated woman I felt very small sitting there being interrogated in Italian about rules of the road but many Italians themselves to not follow. Now cross your fingers for me, as I have the actual driving part of the exam this coming Saturday.
* A few people have asked me why I have bothered to get my Italian drivers license when I plan on moving back to Seattle. Demetrio thinks it would be handy because the Italian driver’s license does not expire for 10 years and I do plan to come back to Italy for vacations. Also in Italian drivers license allows me to drive almost anywhere In Europe, so I guess it is somewhat handy.
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