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How long did it take for u to learn to drive in the US?

How long did it take for u to learn to drive in the US?

Old Dec 20th 2003, 9:24 pm
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Default How long did it take for u to learn to drive in the US?

Either having drove in the Uk or not (though Im more interested in those that couldnt drive before getting to the US)

Fancy seeing a wabbit behind the wheels of a car?
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Old Dec 20th 2003, 9:55 pm
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In my experience it dosen't matter whether or not you've ever driven a car before, the DMV will treat you as if you haven't, and make you go through the whole process of eye test, written tests (2) and road test to get your first full license in the USA. That's what happened to me in New York state, and it seems to be pretty much the same in most other states. Only Canadians, it seems, can simply swap their license for a US one.

In my case I made my first visit to the DMV to get the ball rolling at the end of May, then called to organise a road test and the earliest I could get was mid July. I then had two fairly relaxed "lessons" driving round the streets of N Manhattan, just to make sure there wasn't anything fundamental about American driving I didn't know, and the 15 minute road test itself was a breeze. At no point in the process was there even a point at which my 13 years of driving in the UK could be brought up, let alone taken into account.

So for me we're talking about 6-7 weeks from the start of the process to getting the full license. I suspect someone who'd never driven before at all would need more than a couple of lessons, and obviously (as with everything else in this country) the process may vary a little from state to state.
One thing that doesn't seem to vary is that a trip to the DMV is a byword for glacier-like queues and frustrating bureaucracy wherever you go.
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Old Dec 20th 2003, 10:28 pm
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Originally posted by elfman
.... the process may vary a little from state to state. ...
And even within a state. I took my test in upstate New York, because I could get a test date for the next week in Hirkamer, but would have had to wait fior three months for a test date where I lived, a few miles north of Manhattan. So if you can't get a test locally in a reasonable time frame, try somewhere further away, away from a big city, out in a rural area, as it seems to be easier to get a test there. Also my test, in December 2001, took less than seven minutes.

And don't forget you can get a "full" licence taking the road test in an automatic - there is no benefit to taking a test in a stick-shift.
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Old Dec 21st 2003, 2:22 am
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Default Re: How long did it take for u to learn to drive in the US?

Originally posted by waxwabbit
Either having drove in the Uk or not (though Im more interested in those that couldnt drive before getting to the US)

Fancy seeing a wabbit behind the wheels of a car?
My husband is still trying to get his. He never drove in the UK.
It took 6 months to get the learner's permit because none of the people around here know anything about immigrants. Hopefully your state will be better!

He is doing good with his practicing, but tried to take the test a few days ago and failed it . He got really nervous on the parallel parking and reversed too far and hit the curb, and then went too far forward and hit a pole hehe. Just stay calm and it will be easy
Good luck!
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Old Dec 21st 2003, 12:05 pm
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Smile driving test!

I'd had driving lessons in the UK back in the 70's,but moved to Germany before I had the chance to take my test,and then hadn't driven again until I came over here.
We had a Chevy Caprice,but I never felt comfortable driving it,because I couldn't see over the bonnet(or hood!),then,after much whining!,we got a Plymouth Voyager mini van,and my hubby had me driving backwards and forwards on Route 66 for a few months,while he yelled and screamed!,then,out of the blue he said we're going to the Driver Test place today,,ARGHH!,still,I went in did the eye test,took the written test,in about 20 minutes(mostly just common sense questions),and the woman took me out for the driving part,made one silly little mistake and pointed it out straight away,she said thats okay and passed me!,the driving part took 10 minutes!,I thought she was joking!!!!!Been driving for about 15 years, NO accidents,bumps or dents!,despite insane Yanks trying to throw their cars at me!,still have to gag my hubby though!!!!LOL Don't know if it's as easy all over the country,but I could have kicked myself for worrying about taking the test for so many years!!!!GOOD LUCK......Sophia
p.s. took my test in Pontiac,Illinois.
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Old Dec 21st 2003, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: How long did it take for u to learn to drive in the US?

Originally posted by waxwabbit
Either having drove in the Uk or not (though Im more interested in those that couldnt drive before getting to the US)

Fancy seeing a wabbit behind the wheels of a car?
The transition didn't take long at all. We used to come over from the Bahamas (left-hand drive US cars, driven on the left side of the road) to Florida to play rugby on a regular basis, so I learned in short spurts in a rented Lincoln Continental. By the time I came to the US more permanently (F1 student visa), passing the driving test in a Ford Escort was no problem.

Funny thing during the driving test (in Massachusetts). The examiner said "turn left", so being a safe driver I continued straight until I was almost perpendicular to the turn, so I could turn at right angles, rather than cut across the oncoming lane of the road I was turning into. The examiner must have repeated "turn left" three times, as if I hadn't heard. I guess he was so used to people cutting corners that he wasn't used to someone turning the "safe" way!
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 10:02 am
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Default Re: How long did it take for u to learn to drive in the US?

Originally posted by waxwabbit
(though Im more interested in those that couldnt drive before getting to the US)
Growing up in the US, learning to drive was just a formality. It was put off until the summer when I'd have more time. I went to the mall and signed up with Sears Driving School (lol). I would walk to the mall to get to the driving class / training for about 2 or 3 weeks. The driving school takes you through the whole process and what you need to do at the government office (DMV) with regards to permits and passing your road and written test.

I only spent about 15 minutes behind the wheel out of the required 30 minute lessons because I wasn't making many mistakes. Among the things I was told:

Come to a full stop IN FRONT of the stop sign (not alongside it). (not really practical and what is done, but OK)

Let's use our indicators where they count. ( don't always use turn signals!?)


Among the mistakes I initially made:

tried to pull into a fast lane with a vehicle coming up fast in the mirror

tried to turn the wrong way at underpass intersections. There are no roundabouts so sometimes to go left you get left, signal left, go through the current intersection to go left at the next one.


On the driving test, I scored 99 out of 100. I got one point off for "approaching a yield sign quickly."
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 12:57 pm
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What I'd like to know is "How do Americans pass the flippin test?"

They all drive like crap! (Ok, most of them do, maybe not all)

I drive as if I'm the only person on the road that knows how to drive and avoid them all! -- It's scary sometimes, last week I was on a really long dark country road and had some plonka right behind me. The tiow wouldn't pass me either.... scared me so much I was tempted to call Todd on my cell phone to tell me what to do (just in case)... But I don't think it is ever necessary to drive and dial a phone!

I had my kids in the car and the whole experience left me shaking!

When we finally got off the road I could see that it was a man in the other car. That made me angry because I refuse to live in fear too.

I wish they would hand out a note at the end of the test giving basic courtesy information

(I) Don't drive too close, you might be scaring the crap out of someone with 3 kids in their car!

Thank you... I've said it and I feel better! ô¿~
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 2:31 pm
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Watch out for the driving probation period here in the states - 6 months in New York. I passed the driving test(s) quickly with no problem but got stopped for speeding after about 5 months - immediate license suspension for 60 days! Ouch.
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 2:46 pm
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Originally posted by BrigieDarling
What I'd like to know is "How do Americans pass the flippin test?"

They all drive like crap! (Ok, most of them do, maybe not all)
I swear that half the licenses, at least, are given away free in cereal boxes!!

It annoys me when I can clearly see that someone's not paying attention to where they're going/what they're doing as they're talking on the phone.

A common failing is when people fail to 'read the road' and their driving sucks because of it but that's universal!!

Don't you feel that old people are the worst to drive behind?
It says here, in the MD Driver's Handbook:
No one should drive at such a slow speed they impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when a reduced speed is necessary...
Yeah? Tell that to the old folks!!
If you have to drive that slow cos of your reaction time, (or you can't see over the steering wheel) then I really don't think you should be driving at all!

And an old fogey in a Volvo = nightmare!!!

OK, enough ranting!!
I feel better now!
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 5:47 pm
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Originally posted by BrigieDarling
What I'd like to know is "How do Americans pass the flippin test?"

They all drive like crap! (Ok, most of them do, maybe not all)

I drive as if I'm the only person on the road that knows how to drive and avoid them all! -- It's scary sometimes, last week I was on a really long dark country road and had some plonka right behind me. The tiow wouldn't pass me either.... scared me so much I was tempted to call Todd on my cell phone to tell me what to do (just in case)... But I don't think it is ever necessary to drive and dial a phone!

I had my kids in the car and the whole experience left me shaking!

When we finally got off the road I could see that it was a man in the other car. That made me angry because I refuse to live in fear too.

I wish they would hand out a note at the end of the test giving basic courtesy information

(I) Don't drive too close, you might be scaring the crap out of someone with 3 kids in their car!

Thank you... I've said it and I feel better! ô¿~
People treat driving like it is a game and stop driving by the book. How quickly we forget that unexpected things happen and lives are at stake even at low speed.

http://www.roadragers.com/
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 5:54 pm
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If you havent got your green card, will they only issue a temporary lisence?. The DMV here in AZ wouldnt even issue me a state ID because my I-94 has expired and my EAD isnt here yet.
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 6:08 pm
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Originally posted by FlyergirlUK
I swear that half the licenses, at least, are given away free in cereal boxes!!

It annoys me when I can clearly see that someone's not paying attention to where they're going/what they're doing as they're talking on the phone.

A common failing is when people fail to 'read the road' and their driving sucks because of it but that's universal!!

Don't you feel that old people are the worst to drive behind?
It says here, in the MD Driver's Handbook:

Yeah? Tell that to the old folks!!
If you have to drive that slow cos of your reaction time, (or you can't see over the steering wheel) then I really don't think you should be driving at all!

And an old fogey in a Volvo = nightmare!!!

OK, enough ranting!!
I feel better now!
You wanna try living in Arizona. We have the 'snowbirds' here from Sept to March. They come in from every state in the US. The driving is atrocious and the accident rates skyrocket. Also the hotel prices go up, the golf course prices go up, and try getting into a restaurant, especially if they have any kind of deals on, they queue up like something is being given away for free. Also the doctor's waiting rooms look like retirement homes. Most of them have mobile homes on sites out at Apache Junction, it is called 'geezer city', don't go there.
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 6:14 pm
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Originally posted by effi
You wanna try living in Arizona. We have the 'snowbirds' here from Sept to March. They come in from every state in the US. The driving is atrocious and the accident rates skyrocket. Also the hotel prices go up, the golf course prices go up, and try getting into a restaurant, especially if they have any kind of deals on, they queue up like something is being given away for free. Also the doctor's waiting rooms look like retirement homes. Most of them have mobile homes on sites out at Apache Junction, it is called 'geezer city', don't go there.

Thats so true. You can almost always guarantee that the guy who's just cut you up has an out of state liscence plate.
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Old Dec 22nd 2003, 6:16 pm
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LOL!! Thanks for the warning Effi!!

And, don't have a clue Pimp. Sorry. I'm just waiting til after Crimble to get started on getting my MD driver's license and I'm valid til about the beginning of March with my visa. I'm hoping I'll have some other form of documentation by then, (fingers crossed)!
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