July 22, 2014

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Passing the Driver's Test Exam

A rite of passage: Earning the Driver's License.

I've probably mentioned this before, but my teen-aged daughter has been taking Drivers Education.

She passed.

But in our state, she must rack up at least 50 hours of driving with the parents before getting a drivers license.

Though it has taken almost 11 months, and the drivers training permit lasts 12 months, we made it.

So the next step was to pass the driver's test ride with the examiner.

She passed, on the first attempt.

But we learned something very interesting.  In SE Ohio, there is about a 12% failure rate for drivers. And, if you  include foreign exchange students, that climbs to something like 15%... and 17% if Chinese drivers are included.

What, you say, that's not fair?  Hardly!  There's a VERY good reason for it.

First, if you roll through a stop sign, not coming to a complete HALT before proceeding, you flunk immediately.  This is the most common error... but not the only one.

Second, it has been observed that the Chinese do not have "Stop Signs" in their culture.  Instead, they have traffic lights, and traffic cops directing traffic.  But no octagon stop signs.

So, when coming to our culture, they must be taught what this means.  When taking a written test, they almost always pass the stop sign recognition.  But, according to testing examiners, once behind the wheel, the Chinese frequently do not react to the sign. They run right through it as if it wasn't there.  Or, a rolling stop... as is permitted in their culture.

Another thing we learned was that most kids will drive just like their parents have done.  This makes sense... the behavior modeled by the parent is picked up by the kids.

If they drive fast, in excess of the speed limit, so will the child.  If they curse other drivers, so will the child.  If they watch out for cops while breaking traffic laws, so will their child.

In fact, our examiner noted that they can predict how the parents drive by watching how the kid approaches the test.  And the kid will be only too helpful to rat on the parent for their transgressions... "Dad always rolls through stop signs.  You know once, we got pulled over.... and..."

But the capper is that the examiner can always tell when the student driver doesn't want to drive.  They find ways to fail, spectacularly. They drive over cones, they run the stop sign, they turn the wrong way.  It's obvious that they have been pushed by the parent into driving... and by failing the test, they can avoid having to drive.  They can remain a child.  And they can be driven around town.

But there's another result of passing the driving test that has finally hit home in our family.

I added my child to our insurance this week.   OUCH!

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