Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I have two driver's licenses now!

Our American driver's licenses were only valid for a year when we moved to Sweden. Even with a valid license, driving in this country is difficult to do if you don't understand the road signs or have awareness of the right hand rule (yield to cars approaching from your right if you are not on a "main" road as designated by a road sign).  And let's face it, none of us worked very hard to earn that first driver's license in the US. I was very proud when I got my driver's license in high school but it's been a long time of building bad habits since then.

We applied to have our licenses extended and with just a moderate fee, my license was extended until February 28, 2015. As any good procrastinator knows, a little bit of pressure is good for getting things done.

As I mentioned in my previous post Glögg-er: Getting a Swedish Driver's License, getting a Swedish driver's license is a four part process and is quite expensive (~$1500). There was extra incentive for me to pass on the first round as Jonathan had passed with flying colors and I've always held the belief that I am a superior driver.  Bragging rights aside, we both worked very hard to pass on our first attempts. We have seen and heard about many people, Swedes even, who do not pass on the first try.

The theory test was by far the most difficult. As I waited in the holding cell/waiting room with the other potential drivers, people exited classrooms after taking the exam. I wasn't worried until I saw a woman weeping on her way out. She was wiping the tears off of her face and looked completely disheartened. Oh no. I took out my book and did some last minute cramming as we waited in line for our exam.

The test is taken on the computer and they provide a calculator for those physics questions (I'm not joking) and everyone has a different mix of questions so there is no advantage to looking at the person next to you. At the beginning of the exam, the introduction says that "there are many correct answers listed as options, you must select the best correct answer." Thanks a lot! After reviewing each question twice, double guessing myself, I gathered up the courage to click SUBMIT and saw the green text, "Passed!" through squinted eyes. I was the first person out of the classroom and basically skipped out of the building. So long suckers! Hit me with your next shot!

The driving exam wasn't difficult for me because my driving instructor had prepared me for most of the driving scenarios I would encounter during our 5 private lessons. They were worth every penny because without them, I would've had no idea what they were looking for. Essentially, all emphasis is on safety and continuing the flow of traffic. Prior to the test, the evaluator (?), driving tester(?) told me that her boss would be riding in the car with us as he was evaluating HER performance. My reply, "great, then we'll all be a little nervous." After about 4 minutes of driving, I shook off the nerves and felt confident that my driving was sufficient to pass. I didn't have to parallel park or do any of the really tricky traffic situations that I had prepared for, so I felt as if I had a moderately easy exam. Or perhaps I am just that good of a driver(?) Either way, the worst is over and now I have "free" time as my nights are no longer spent studying traffic rules, regulations and signs. Woo hoo! It's like I'm 16 again! So legal to drive wherever I want!


  1. I heard your news from your Mom right after you passed! Sorry I've been slow with Congratulations! We saw that Drivers' Manual when Jon was studying it! Yikes! Almost enough to reconsider our ongoing urge to leave the US and move somewhere not so politically dysfunctional,,, as if there is any place like that! (Don't worry, we aren't coming to move in with you. At least not this week. LOL)
    I can't imagine a test in which your driving instructor, the examiner and the examiner's boss were all riding along! Just surviving should have been sufficient for them. $1500! Do many Swedes then just skip having licenses -- until they move to the US, anyway? Imagine if we had that kind of charge... we'd have even MORE people driving with out licenses..
    Good for you! I'm sure you ARE that good of a driver, plus you learned the local laws and customs, are bright enough to appreciate their emphases, and they are glad to have you on their roads. Yeah!

    In fact, Yeah to both of you.
    much love, Grandma

    1. I am very appreciative of the Swedish driving license process and fully believe it made us better and safer drivers. Not enough emphasis is placed on the severity of operating a 2 ton machine and too many drive more aggressively than their skill allows.

      You are always welcome to stay near us in Sweden! There are tons of affordable houses for vacation rentals and non-visa folks can stay in the country for 3 months!


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