Could you drive in the UK?

20 Oct

Technically I can — my US licenses is valid here for a year, and any rental car company would happily hand me the keys to a vehicle that I have no idea how to shift with my left hand, yet alone remember to drive in the left lane. Thankfully I choose not to put myself or the people of this great nation at risk, but Stephen has decided he wants to get his licenses. And, of course, because this is the UK, it is not an easy process. He applied for his permit, where they held onto his passport for so long he was convinced it was lost, and now he must take a written test. I’m not sure of the rest of the process (again, I will never drive here), but I managed to steal his study book and read some of the practice questions. I say I won’t drive here because I’m afraid I’ll veer to the right and kill somebody (highly possible), but it’s also because I don’t think I could pass the test. Could you? Below are a few example questions I typed verbatim from the book (minus option e. … I may have added those for good humour).

1. The road marking warns :

a. Drivers to use the hard shoulder
b. Overtaking drivers there is a bend to the left
c. Overtaking drivers to move back to the left
d. Driver that it is safe to overtake
e. Americans and inhabitants of countries that drive on the right side of the road that they should remain on the left

Answer: c.
To begin overtaking where you see this ‘throw back’ road marking would be unsafe

2. You see a pedestrian with a dog. The dog has a yellow or burgundy coat. This especially warns you that the pedestrian is:

a. Elderly
b. Dog training
c. Colour blind
d. Deaf
e. Spending too much money on clothing for his dog

Answer: d.
This colour combination is designed to alert the driver’s attention to a potential hazard

3. A horse rider is in the left-hand lane approaching a roundabout. You should expect the rider to:

a. Go in any direction
b. Turn right
c. Turn left
d. Go ahead
e. Shout “Look kids, Big Ben! Parliament!”

Answer: a.
Because of their speed and unpredictable nature, it is usually safer for riders to approach in the left-hand lane regardless of their final destination

4.There is a tractor ahead of you. You wish to overtake but you are NOT sure if it is safe to do so. You should:

a. Follow another overtaking vehicle through
b. Sound your horn to the slow vehicle to pull over
c. Speed through but flash your lights to oncoming traffic
d. Not overtake if you are in doubt
e. Call for backup and arm yourself, just in case the owner does not give up his tractor easily

Answer: d.
Use discretion — only overtake if it is necessary, safe and permissible.

5. You are towing a caravan. Which is the safest type of rear-view mirror to use?

a. Interior wide-angle mirror
b. Extended-arm side mirrors
c. Ordinary door mirrors
d. Ordinary interior mirror
e. You don’t need mirrors, the camels in the caravan will alert you

Answer: b.
These will give you a view past the caravan which will most likely be wider than your vehicle

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