I passed my driving test today. At my age it was a bit ridiculous that I had never bothered to even sit a driving test until today. I live in Dublin in an area well served by buses and the luas so it is easier for me to take public transport into town than drive and worry about parking. However my current job is at the other side of the city so driving became an issue and I decided to bite the bullet and go for my full license.
I have two observations about the process. First my god but lessons are expensive. They were worth it, but at €55 an hour for the pre-test I felt sorry for anyone who needs to book more that a couple of pre-test lessons. Now the instructor was great and without doubt I would have failed if I had not been through the two pretest sessons, had him bring me through the dummy test scenario and been brought around the routes. The test itself did bring me into some different areas from the lessons but in general I was comfortable enough with most of the estates, roads and junctions.
Secondly the tester is hyper professional. It's his job to mark my driving and tell me where to go and that is it. No small talk, no observations about the day or the monsoon rain that hit during the test, just "left here", "right at the end of the road", "pull in" for 30 minutes. Even after the main test when he had me park (yes, parking was tested though I was told it wouldn't be) he didn't say anything just told me to follow him back to the office. Then he sat behind his desk and started getting out papers. By that stage I was sure I'd failed by nearly killing us somewhere along the route and he was bringing me back to the office to wait for the Gardai to impound my car. It was only when he started filling in the Certificate of Competence that he paused and said "oh yeah, you passed, congratulations". I'm sure he sees dozens of test candidates every day and it's his job to test us all fairly with no bias based on how he likes the person so he did the right thing but it was nerve wracking.
So I finally have a full drivers license. I'm now qualified to drive where I like and on my own. Though somehow the knowledge of how to drive on motorways has not magically popped into my brain after passing, I might stay away from them for a while.