Driving Test In Ireland – 1st Attempt 12

I grew up hearing discussions about carburators, suspensions and so on. When I was 3 years old my two brothers were involved with kart racing and were supported by Bardahl. In spite of being a doctor radiologist, my father loved any type of engine and the garage in our house was transformed in a ‘service garage’. My father and brothers loved to be under the cars and roll in the grease. Our weekends were filled with motor noises, fuel smell and pizza 🙂
After going to college to do mechanical engineering, my eldest brother(1948 – 2005) worked at Perkins, Ford and became a regional SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) president, he also was a quality auditor with huge knowledge of automotive manufacturing quality control. In his opinion, everything related to cars or vehicles had to be perfect. He had impeccable cars, from the painting to the engine, his driving was completely smooth. He was a role model to me and because of his example I graduated as a chemical engineer.
My other brother(58) who didn’t become an engineer is still involved with the engines 🙂 he takes part in 4×4 / Jeep Rallies in the Northeast Region of Brazil.
When I was 9 they decided to teach me how to drive, I remember I had to use 2 cushions on the car seat to be able to have a good visibility. So thanks father and brothers I learned how to drive very young.
I’ve been driving in Brazil, more specifically, Sao Paulo city for 27 years. Sao Paulo city has 6.3 million cars circulating daily. Following my eldest brother’s example, I’ve never been involved in any sort of car crash or had a car dented or scratched, therefore I consider myself an experienced driver.
After 4 years holding a provisional licence in Ireland I decided to apply for a full one. In spite of having learned how to drive on the left, to build self confidence and to get ready for the driving test, I had 6 driving lessons with 3 different instructors. I also bought a book called ‘Get It’, borrowed another one called ‘Rules of the Road’ and subscribed to an Irish website to be able to watch driving tutorials. The preparation total time was 2 months and the total cost between the application and getting ready for the test was €310.
Finally, I had my test yesterday, I was very nervous as I’m too hard on myself sometimes. The driving examiner was an unpleasant guy, kind of person who doesn’t hide he thinks his job is tedious. The test took about 30 minutes and there were occasions when I couldn’t understand what he was saying as he was so bored that he muttered when he asked me to turn left or right.
I was assessed in the following situations: moving off, driving in traffic, turning right and left, stopping, reversing round a corner, a turn about, a hill-start and parking.
In the beginning of the test while I was driving in a dual carriageway, 4 kids, who realized I was undertaking a driving test (the car had L plates and the examiner was wearing a bright safety warning vest) decided to mess. Two crossed the road in front of the car causing me to stop, which was OK, but while I was waiting for them to finish crossing the other two stayed in the middle screaming. Not a good start I have to say.
That surreal situation contributed to increase my anxiety and after the happening I made a serious mistake. On a divided junction I stopped just after the red traffic light. At that point I knew I had just failed the driving test.
When the test was finished the guy with peculiar ‘goodwill’ told me the bad news and gave me the form with the results. He also said that the details about the faults could be found on the back of the form and I need more work to improve my driving (LOL!!!!).
My results:
Even if I hadn’t stopped in the wrong place (just after the traffic light), the guy gave me several marks for bad observation when turning right and left including a red mark meaning potentially dangerous right turning, several marks for bad driving on the straight, on bends and marks for wrong reaction to hazards.
Looking at the back of the form, it isn’t clear why I got so many marks. It just says the amount of marks that fails you. OK I know I got the marks but if I don’t know how, when and why, how can I improve?
As far as I remember I was following all the instructions given by the driver instructors, video tutorials and books, therefore I can’t understand the absurd amount of marks given. 🙁 Perhaps I was so nervous that I hallucinated and did everything incorrectly?
It’s hard for me to swallow this test result except for the mark I got when I stopped after the traffic light. I am a 45 years old mother and I am concious of my driving skills and my responsibility.
I’m going to apply for the driving test again and learn how to act properly in order to play the exorcist girl or owl role, turning my head at least 270 degrees every time I perform a manoeuvre to convince the examiner that I AM OBSERVING.
No wonder why everybody says that it’s nearly impossible to pass the test first time even if you are an experienced driver and that passing the test doesn’t mean you are a good driver. In Ireland when you complete 17 years old you can undertake a theory driving test and obtain a learner permit. It means that you can drive in the Irish roads (except motorways) even if you’ve never touched a car but you MUST be accompanied by a full driving license holder. Please tell me, how an experienced driver sitting on the passenger seat can avoid a car accident caused by a learner driver? Does the passenger have control over the person who is driving? This is a sad example of how this system does not work.
I find it difficult to understand how a 30 minutes acting to satisfy an individual who barely knows you can give you or take from you the right to drive everywhere.
Anyway, I had to produce this long post to lick my wounds, now I’m moving on and applying for the next test, no hurry, my only issue is, each time I apply it costs me €75, I don’t have a clue about how many times I will have to undertake this test until an examiner is satisfied with my ‘acting’ so I can’t guesstimate how much money I’m going to spend. I hope It doesn’t become too expensive for me as in this recessionary times it’s a good thing only for the test crowd. I will pass the Irish driving test some day. 🙂
I’d appreciate if you’d participate in my poll on the Irish Driving Test. Thanks ! 😀
Update: You may be interested in reading about my other attempts:
Driving Test In Ireland – 2nd Attempt
Driving Test In Ireland – 3rd Attempt
Driving Test In Ireland – 4th Attempt

When did you pass your Driving Test in Ireland?

  • 2nd - 4th time (57%, 21 Votes)
  • Still trying to pass (32%, 12 Votes)
  • 1st time (16%, 6 Votes)
  • Gave up trying to pass (8%, 3 Votes)
  • 5th - 10th time (3%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 43

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12 thoughts on “Driving Test In Ireland – 1st Attempt

  • Monica Post author

    @Robin Piggott thank you for your comment. Yes I’d appreciate a post from a specialist within the industry as it might clear up many doubts which people have. Please, send your article to brazirishblog[at]gmail.com.

  • Robin Piggott

    A very interesting discussion Monica and many points that are regularly raised by Driving Test Candidates.There are some points that I agree with from your first contributer and some that I don’t!
    While all Driving Examiners are equal some are more equal than others to paraphrase George Orwell.I would be pleased to write a detailed guest post for you if you are in agreement,to dispel the many myths and inconsistencies that crop up frequently.And yes it is quite correct that Passing the Test first time does not equate with being a good or safe Driver in very case.
    Good luck with your Driving I am sure you are far better than most Adults driving in Ireland today.The 30,000 freebie license holders from 1981 are still out there so beware!
    Astraal Driving School.Ireland

  • Monica Post author

    @abby Thanks for your comment, I still haven’t got my full licence, I’m about to apply for my 3rd driving test. I am convinced that passing or failing doesn’t depend on my driving skills, it’s a bit like playing the lotto, if I am lucky enough I win 🙂 Best of luck with your test next week !

  • Monica Post author

    @Ali I’m just back from Sao Paolo and I have to say, I think I’m not used to its wild traffic any more. I turned into a very educated driver here in Ireland.
    Thanks for visiting the blog and for the comment. My second driving test is booked and I ‘m living in hope 🙂

  • ali

    I have been to Sao Paulo, I was in a friend’s car from the airport (GRU) to the centre and then back the next day. I have never been so scared as a passenger in my whole life. I had to close my eyes, as the motorways are 6 lanes wide, and everyone thinks they’re a racing driver diving in and out of the lanes. I saw two crashes within 10mins. Saying that, if you have driven there accident free for 27 years, you should automatically get a licence here ! well done. the irish test is about money and nothing else. my sister got her test 1st time, and still 15 years on she is a terrible driver !

  • ali

    I have been to Sao Paulo, I was in a friends car from the airport (GRU) to the centre and then back the next day. I have never been so shared as a passenger in my whole life. I had to close my eyes, as the motorways are 6 lanes wide, and everyone things there are a racing driver diving in and out of the lanes. I saw two crashes within 10mins. Saying that, I you have driven there accident free for 27 years, you should automatically get a licence here ! well done. the irish test is about money and nothing else. my sister got her test 1st time, and still 15 years on she is a terrible driver !

    good luck with your next test 🙂

  • Silvia

    Na proxima vez voce passa, ansiedade atrapalha mesmo… ainda mais se o sistema ja’ comeca logo de cara indo contra voce! bjos, bom fim de semana / domingo 🙂

  • Monica Post author

    @ Mark I think the examiner muttered because he was tired of repeating the same script all over again like a robot. I was the 3rd or 4th person he was assessing that day. He sounded like a kid muttering ‘Our Father’ in his first communion.

  • Mark Lenahan

    Driving testers in Ireland fail people on their first test. It isn’t about the quality of your driving. They have a vested interest (albeit collective) – if they passed more people there would be less work for driving testers.

    The very fact that you are doing a second test will work in your favor.

    It is important to _appear_ calm. Given the test is so subjective appearances matter.

    Since the driving instructor can’t really see where you are looking it is worth developing the habit of moving your head slightly when looking right or left or checking mirrors (don’t just swivel your eyes).

    I wouldn’t discount an element of racism either. Recognizing you as a foreigner he may have made even less effort to speak clearly than he would normally, because it is supposedly _your_ fault you can’t understand his weird local accent and dialect. Since I doubt most testers are like this you might get a lot luckier the next time.

    Don’t take the testing system here too seriously. You know when the backlogs got too long one time in the 80s they just issued full licenses to everyone on the waiting list. They never enforce the rule about learner drivers. Safe driving is rarely enforced in any way. The Gardai are primarily focused on catching people speeding or drinking. Admittedly those are probably the biggest killers, but it is also a lot easier to secure conviction on an objective, measurable quantity (blood alcohol, speed sensor) than it is to give out to people for not understanding filter lights or lane discipline.

    You can drive, you know you can drive, this is just PITA bureaucracy.