In Czech, you need approximately 40 hours of theory and driving to be able to take your Czech driver’s test. Don’t I have a California driver’s license, you ask? Why yes I do. According to the Czech law, however, after living here for a certain period of time (and I have already lived her for that period of time), you technically are supposed to get a Czech driver’s license. I went with a friend to see if I could just hand in my CA driver’s license and get a Czech one. No go! I had to take the whole class. So, I took the class.
I am actually glad that I took the class because I learned that there are a lot of differences in the laws for EU driving than for U.S. driving. Where an American driver would never yield to cars crossing their road from the right, EU driver’s must yield unless there is a sign specifically stating that they do not have to. You cannot ride a bicycle with any alcohol in your system or else. It is also illegal to ski with alcohol in your system. So many laws and rules. They make sense to people here and I suppose as long as everyone has the same understanding of things, it does make it safer. Some of the laws were written because many of the roads were made for horses and carriages, not cars, so where we do not need as many rules in the States to know what we need to do, in the EU, it is necessary.
On test day, I barely passed the theory test (I swear with all the practice tests I took, I never saw anything like some of the questions that I had). I also barely passed my driving test. I did everything well except for I treated a two-way lane like a one-way lane and got in the lane of opposing traffic to turn left. Not long before I made that turn, my lane was a one-way lane but I did not notice the intersection that I passed (negating the previous sign). In my defense, I took my test in a big city with bus lanes, tram tracks, varying speed limits, one-way and two-way roads, very odd intersections, narrow roads, construction sites, lots of distracting people, and signs. Oh Czech driving. I will learn….maybe.
But I passed!!! After 24 years of driving with a CA driver’s license and 40 hours of instruction, I passed by the skin of my teeth. I prayed a ton on the day for the test. God helped me out….a lot.
On the left is Aleš (my translator for the test) and next to him is Lukaš who was my one-on-one English-speaking instructor for the course in Ostrava, Czech with Autoškola Šimáček. We took this picture right after the driving examiner said I passed. The visor is in the picture because it kept falling down in front of me and eventually fell out of the car ceilng on to my lap during the exam. Lukaš felt so bad about it but it actually calmed me down during the exam because I thought it was funny and it made me laugh.