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Old 23rd February 2009, 23:31   #16
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I stay in NJ (Hightstown). The less I say about my driving experience the better. In NJ one is allowed to drive for 2 months from the time entry with a valid Indian license. I passed the written test in the first attempt. I was told that I had to give a road test as my driving license was not on their books . A month back one of my colleagues did not have to give road test after he showed them the driving license similar to mine. Anyway, I failed the first road test - reason was shown that I had took a left turn too slow. Passed in the second attempt. Since then I have accumulated 9 points on my DL . I did not have any problem adapting to the right hand side but am still having problem remaining within speed limits.
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Old 17th March 2009, 00:26   #17
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There are decent driving schools in the us, I learnt my driving in texas with an old man who was very knowledgeable.It takes some time to adapt to LHD,Merging rules and passing.Refine your driving with someone who has US driving experience and do remember to stop at STOP signs.
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Old 17th April 2009, 18:54   #18
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I have something which can add value to this thread. I recently got a US Drivers Licence and wanted to share my experiences with you.

I landed in the US on Jan 26th and by I could finally obtain my SSN on April 11th. A piece of advice here for anyone landing here in the US on a work Permit:

Allow a minimum of 4 weeks, before you approach your nearest SSN office to apply for a fresh SSN. I am not going into the details here as to why one should wait for 4 weeks - the SSN office needs to verify your legal work status with the Immigration department - and the Immigration department would again need to cross-check with your employer, before notifying the SSN folks - If you go too soon, there are chances, that the Immigration team might not have all the details they need - and your application gets put on hold.

One thing is for sure - the DMV office will definitely look at your SSN, your passport and any letter containing your address - there is a rule in the DMV book - at least here, in IL, that a letter from the SSN office stating your SSN number will suffice - but that's not true. MY SSN was getting delayed, so I showed an 'SSN-allotted' letter to the DMV office - but the guy rejected it and I had to wait for my SSN to turn up.

So finally on April 11th, the SSN showed up - It being a Saturday, a couple of folks and I rented out a compact from Enterprise (Toyota Yaris) and started driving on the local roads. It was my first time behind the wheel on an American road - but I didn't feel the difference - true you need to be careful at the STOP signs and right turns at the Signal, but apart from that everything else was fine.

The next day, we invited a friend, who had been driving for quite some time, to help us with a few tips. And his tips were quite helpfull. To really pass in the test, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

At the STOP sign, you really need to STOP. Count 1001, 1002 and by 1003, ease off your foot from the pedal and slowly move the car ahead. If you are merging onto a lane, of course, you need to wait till the oncoming traffic passes by.Of course, in a 4-way STOP or a 3-way STOP, the guy who comes first gets to leave first.

You also need to get perfect in the art of 'pulling-over' . Give your right indicator, and slowly pull off the lane, cutting down your speed and then make sure, your right wheels are slightly on the shoulder. Its difficult to visualize this, but with practice, you will get it.

You also need to get acquainted with Up-hill Parking & Down-hill parking:
Uphill-Parking:
Once you have pulled over - engage the reverse gear and slowly turn the wheels to the left till they gently hit the kerb. Push the lever into Park mode (For automatic vehicles only) and apply the hand brake (not necessary actually)

For down-hill parking, you need to turn your wheels to the right and move the vehicle slowly till the front wheels nudge the kerb.

The instructor will also observe how you reverse - and art that I had to revisit here, in the US - it has to be slow and gradual.

Lastly, the instructor will also observe how you change lanes, how you stick the speed zones, neither exceeding nor going too slow.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On Monday morning by 8 am we lined up at the Secretary of State DMV office and by 08:20 we were allowed inside. At the counter, I showed my passport, SSN and a letter containing my current address. I was issued a token number, and soon enough my token was called out.

I handed my documents to the lady at the counter and she entered some data from my SSN and passport - Was I wearing any eye glasses or contacts? No . Fine - look thru the eye testing equipment and read out the first line to me. '476 973'.
"Fine - Do you see blinking lights to your left?" - "Yes Mam."
"Right?" - "Yes mam".
"Do you want an instruction permit or directly want to write the test?"
'I will write the test mam'.
(OK - If you need to practice you need an instruction permit - total cost of Permit + license is USD 20 - for license alone it is USD 10.)
She handed over a couple of papers me and asked me to go to the written test section.

I then went to the written test section when the guy at the counter took my papers, pulled out an answer sheet, stuck out 20 questions from the 40 listed and gave it to me. The question paper is all about everyday driving situations, some rules, and identification of Signs - You do need to get your Signs correct - they are important.

By 5 minutes, I was done - handed over the paper - and the guy quickly evaluated it - and I passed the test with all correct.

Then I had to wait for some time as the other two guys who had come with me were taking their tests. Once they were done, I collected the car insurance papers, took out my car onto the test track and waited for the officer, who showed up soon.
She saw my papers, listened to the car's horn, checked the indicators and the lights and soon, we were off.

We drove for 10 odd minutes and she observed the way I changed lanes, stopped at the STOP sign, made left or right turns and yes - she did ask me to pull over and do an uphill park - I also had to do a reverse for her.

We completed the test soon, and voila - I passed!
I went back to the office, went to the photo counter, had my photograph taken, and within a few minutes, my license was ready!

Unfortunately - one of my friends who also gave the exam flunked - just because he couldn't get the hand signals right - So make sure you know the hand signals also.

Right hand on the wheel - left hand straight out in a horizontal position = left turn.
Left Hand out, forearm facing up =right tun, and forearm facing down = STOP.

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1 more advice - When two persons are hiring a vehicle especially for driving test purposes - their names have to be mentioned on the insurance slip - one guy as the primary guy - and the other as an add-on. The Officer insists on seeing your name on the insurance paper.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That was my overall experience in getting a US Drivers License

Last edited by PVS : 17th April 2009 at 18:57.
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Old 17th April 2009, 19:05   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post

- People merging onto the highway always have right of way (In heavy traffic situations, it goes alternately/interleaved - except in cases where they have signals on the onramps!(california).)
I thought people on the interstate had right of way and ppl merging had to yield.
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Old 18th April 2009, 13:43   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVS View Post
....Unfortunately - one of my friends who also gave the exam flunked - just because he couldn't get the hand signals right - So make sure you know the hand signals also.....
Interesting. I dont think this is a requirement in RI or CA - but i guess IL might be more oldschool and less air-conditioned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
I thought people on the interstate had right of way and ppl merging had to yield.
Jomz,

I will agree that it is the driver joining the highway's responsibility to get up to speed with the flow of traffic - that is for sure.

Regarding the right of way, this is what i was told in CA. I'm not sure if this law changes from state to state (?) but when it comes to NJ you are correct!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Driving Manual
Keep the following points in mind when entering a highway, parkway or turnpike:
• Obey posted advisory speed limits (if any) at the entrance ramp.
• Speed up to the flow of traffic when leaving the acceleration lane.
• Avoid coming to a complete stop in the acceleration lane.
• Yield to traffic and enter the right-hand lane when safe.
Source : http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/Licen.../Chapter_4.pdf


Now i wonder, is the rule different in CA? Given that they have traffic signals on highway entrances (for during rush hour etc) it is possible. I did a quick check through the CA driving manual but did not find a specific mention of who has the right of way in a highway merge.


Personally i think the merging traffic having right of way (assuming they are going at the speed of the flow - and two cars are neck to neck) makes more sense from the safety point of view - but lets not go too OT here with that discussion.

cya
R

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th April 2009 at 13:44.
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Old 13th May 2009, 04:14   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
I thought people on the interstate had right of way and ppl merging had to yield.
In the states i have driven in i.e TX and VA,In TX the guy merging has the right-of-way but in VA the guy who merges is responsible for safely merging.
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Old 5th June 2009, 19:38   #22
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HI All

Just a quick question here. I would be travelling to US in a few weeks on Visit. I plan to be in NY and MI. I would want to check out if my Indian driving license is valid in both states. I plan to be there only for 3 weeks before i return back...Do i still need an IDP ?
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Old 5th June 2009, 20:22   #23
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In MI your Indian driving license is valid for 3-6 months ( I dunno the exact period but it was valid). And keep in mind that mine was an old book type license issued by Muvattupuzha RTO, but they accepted it. In MI IDP is useless. They don't even look at it.
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Old 5th June 2009, 20:27   #24
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As far as I know, its always a good idea to have an IDP in hand. Atleast thats a legal document issued by the Indian Govt that permits you to drive in most countries.Something's better than nothing, coz a lot of cops don't even look at the Indian license,as much of it doesn't make sense to them.
If I were you, I'd definitely get an IDP before I get to the US.
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Old 5th June 2009, 20:36   #25
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In MI- they accept the license as a document from indian government, beacuse it states Drivers' license, govt of india, Kerala state. And MI has some kind of treaty with 66 countries (including India- not China) allowing people who hold license from those countries to drive in MI , and MI license holders to drive in those countries.

But other states might be different.

Don't drive without insurance :-)

Last edited by Jomz : 5th June 2009 at 20:39.
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Old 5th June 2009, 21:03   #26
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Some table about IDL requirements which i found online- dates from 2001
Attached Thumbnails
An Indian in New Jersey! - Questions about driving in the USA-license-part-1.jpg  

An Indian in New Jersey! - Questions about driving in the USA-license-part-2.jpg  

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Old 5th June 2009, 21:15   #27
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I have had drivers liscense from Sydney, India, Texas, Ok, NJ. Dont mean to scare you but NJ is the toughest one out of all. Dont mean to scare you! Besides what has already been told on thread; there are cheat questions available out on the net which really deem useful. Use them it really works and they do appear. Driving in NJ is crazy since drivers tend to not follow rules. They are rude and not atall polite.

Try avoiding turnpike for now and drive more on internal roads unless you have to take the express way. Be sure to stay within the limits even if your car is 250bhp or more.

Get a COBRA radar detector, dont look at the price tag if possible but buy the best one from circuit city or best buy. Really helps.
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Old 5th June 2009, 21:48   #28
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The list provided by Jomz shows that many states allow you to drive with the license from the home country, for upto a year. After that, you'll have to apply for a state license.
( There are 3 guys who work with me, 2 Italians & one French guy. None of them have a State license, and they've been here for more than 3 years now).
I don't know how they got away with this.Sooner or later, if they get caught they'd end up in some serious trouble.
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Old 5th June 2009, 22:00   #29
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Nitin my wife drove about 2 years without DL in a few states. It goes by the famous saying " you are a thief if you get caught"

Last edited by D-Man : 5th June 2009 at 22:00. Reason: typo
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Old 5th June 2009, 23:04   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Man View Post
Nitin my wife drove about 2 years without DL in a few states. It goes by the famous saying " you are a thief if you get caught"
Would totally highly disregard this statement. If you get caught you can even get deported back to India and not be able to ever go back. Considering the risk, this is pretty much the most stupid thing to do (I am sure D-Man is not recommending this approach).
IN most states driving without a valid license amounts to felony which most likely carries a mandatory jail sentence.

Last edited by ash_blore : 5th June 2009 at 23:11.
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