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Old 26th October 2011, 01:09   #16
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Default Re: The Swedish Driving License - My Experience

Moose, Forests and Rally Ambitions

The basics of car maneuvering were now down. Lesson three saw me in the forest with J. As usual J drove us from the school (as I wasn’t quite good enough to drive in traffic) and we entered a nearby forest.

Now this forest was complete with tall trees, dense vegetation and the iconic, Swedish ‘warning for moose’ signs (see below). The real deal.

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Now this particular stretch of tarmac curving through the forest wasn’t a ‘Country Road’ it was a simple, no frills forest lane with seemingly no other vehicles on the road. The road was narrow, with just about enough width for two cars two pass side by side, and full of elevation changes and tight corners.

J brings the car to a halt on a straight stretch. We switch seats.

‘Okay, today you’ll be getting a better feel of the vehicle. Driving here will give you a good grasp of driving in higher gears as well as some speed.’

‘Okay’

‘I want you to drive in the center of the road, and move to the side only if you need to make way for oncoming vehicles. There’s no need to hug the bushes along the side of the road.’

I nod.

And we’re off. I ease off in first for barely a few meters and then shift to second. The engine’s gently ticking over and I’m doing something like 30. I slow down (from 30, lol) before each corner and over meticulously check the mirrors. Text-book stuff. In my mind J was praising my every move and appreciating my safe driving style.

Reality however, was different. Very different. J was fidgeting in his seat and was looking more and more tense with every passing minute.

I’m probably going to fast, I think. And slow down to an even slower 20, and almost sprain my neck, craning to check each mirror on this completely empty forest lane.

5 minutes in, J can’t asks me to pull over to the side.

‘Why are you driving so slowly?’

‘Forest road, many hill crests, curves and well, Moose!’

‘The road is completely empty’

‘But... But there are moose here!’ I’m perplexed. Here I was driving slowly to impress him and now he’s asking me why?

J is not amused.

‘The speed limit in cities is 50. At times 70. You have no issues doing that in cities, right?’

‘Of course’

‘Then why are you doing 30 on a COMPLETELY empty forest road?’

I start uttering something about Moose, but decide to drop it. He has a point. So many pedestrians, cars, buses, cyclists in cities and we do 50 with ease. 70 without a second thought.

We start off again. This time J tells me to stop overdoing my mirror-checking jig and do as he says. We touch 65 on the straights and take corners at about 40. It was a revelation. That road was never ending, winding deeper and deeper into the forest, sweeping curves flanked by beautiful trees. Complete isolation.

I get into my element and the petrol head in me kicks in. I’m loving every second of this drive. Soon enough J tells me to slow down. In my mind scenes like this are playing:



About one hour in it’s time to return back to the School. Reluctantly, I get out of the seat. The lesson was extremely rewarding and I could feel my confidence behind the wheel grow by leaps and bounds. J informs me that this is one of the few, easy lessons where I get to explore a bit and where he’s not on my neck for rules/mirrors or Eco-Driving.

‘Today’s lesson was for confidence building’ J says as we depart.

I like your style Mr J, I smile to myself.

I can’t wait for my next lesson.

Last edited by anekho : 23rd January 2013 at 05:00.
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Old 26th October 2011, 11:09   #17
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And we can't wait for this long overdue story to complete . You have to update it asap.
Reading about your experience makes me remember mine.

The written test: There is a board outside the room in which you are supposed to give the test with all the signs that you should see on the road ( ofcourse most of them are not present on our roads). Go inside and you have some questions to solve. IIRC they were quite easy. No one is there to monitor the whole process so 2-3 taxi drivers probably copied my answers happily and I felt proud as a kid that for the first time its me who is being copied from and not the other way around .

Well after that there is a eye exam which got over before it started.
Doc: Can you read.
Me: Yes.
Doc: silent
ME: So?
Doc: Yea you can go.
Me: Thanks!!

The more troubling part is to submit your application. Now they take only some 100 forms in a day. There is a long queue that forms in front of the counter right from 7 am and by the time the counter opens there are already more then 100 people there. Anyways the fun part is the guy sitting on the counter takes 1 form from the person standing in the queue and then adds 10 from his table. These are from all the people going in through an agent. I took some time to figure it out because I was like the 20th in the queue and by the time 10 people in front of me moved, the counter closed for the day session.

Next day I went again determined not to pay a bribe and this time was 10th in the queue. Again to my utter disdain the count had already reached around 50 when only 4-5 people had moved in the queue. I went ahead to the counter breaking the line and gave the guy sitting at the counter a piece of my mind. He smiled back and said stop making all that noise sir and give me your form. Gave it to him and he returned me the slip/token and said go. So somehow I managed to get out of that rotten warehouse kind of office and got all excited about the real driving test that was next.

I went to the designated place where the driving inspector was supposed to come at 9 and take the test. He finally showed up at 11. I got all geared up to show him my driving skills. But surprise again. This gentleman tells me to start the car and reverse. I reversed back for like 5 meters literally and heard him shout from his chair to stop and that is enough for me to pass. Got the documents signed from him and that was the end of an amusing day for me.

This is the sorry state of affairs in our RTOs. Reading your experience in Sweden makes me wish so much that our transport ministry should learn something from them.

Last edited by drmohitg : 26th October 2011 at 11:11.
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Old 26th October 2011, 11:11   #18
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Default Re: The Swedish Driving License - My Experience

Yesterday was watching Top Gear and the guy was getting driving tips from Mika Hakkenin. He also mentioned about the driving license and how hard it was to get one. I immediately remembered your thread. It was a great episode which explained why so many rally drivers are from this part of the world.
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Old 26th October 2011, 16:11   #19
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And we can't wait for this long overdue story to complete . You have to update it asap.
Thank you
Trying my best to write one part daily to finish ASAP!

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Reading about your experience makes me remember mine.
Your experience is very similar to the one my dad had in Chennai several years ago. The RTO guys were kind enough to let me accompany him through the whole test!

The doctor didn't ask any questions. We had to pay 'consultation' fees and he signed the medical certificate. The theory test had the answers filled in already and the driving test comprised of doing a 'T'. The whole thing was over in about 3 hours.

The real struggle however was getting the license renewed recently. Spent the better part of a day (6 hours) running from pillar to pillar.

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This is the sorry state of affairs in our RTOs. Reading your experience in Sweden makes me wish so much that our transport ministry should learn something from them.
Yep, our RTOs have a long way to go. Change doesn't happen overnight and I wish they'd take smaller steps towards correcting their ways.

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Yesterday was watching Top Gear and the guy was getting driving tips from Mika Hakkenin. He also mentioned about the driving license and how hard it was to get one. I immediately remembered your thread. It was a great episode which explained why so many rally drivers are from this part of the world.
Thank you! Just saw the clip again now! I was dying to try out the Scandinavian Flick in my lesson in the forest but I'm pretty sure J would have kicked me out of the car and left me there!

I did however get to try the Scandinavian Flick a few times, during my 'Risk-education 2' and boy was it fun

Sharing the clip here for others who haven't seen it yet:

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Old 27th October 2011, 02:01   #20
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Sudden Stops

Lessons 4 and 5, flew by me without much action. We started driving on smaller country roads with little to no traffic. J felt that it was crucial to be completely comfortable with car control before venturing into the city, cruising on the highways or even hitting proper 90km/h country roads.

With each passing lesson he’d subtly introduce new concepts, ask me to think about what gear I’m in and why. No escaping from Eco-Driving (which also has a lot of weight in the final test)! Most gear shift were 1-2-4, doing speeds of around 45 in 4th. Soft, smooth acceleration and deceleration with engine braking.

‘Avoid braking, try to plan your driving. Avoid bringing the car to a standstill. Keep the momentum going.’ was all J would say during these lessons.

Lesson 6 however was an interesting one. As we got into the car, J informed me that today would be a little different.

‘At some point in today’s lesson, I’ll scream STOP. I want you to stomp on the brakes as hard as you can, as quickly as possible, at the very instant I scream.’

We began the drive and everything was proceeding normally. The road was a small Country road with a 70km/h limit. J was normal, doing his usual interrogation style of questioning on the various rules and signs along the way.

The conversation drifted and soon me and J were discussing something about roundabouts.

‘So when your entering the roundabout you want to be right in second gear so you can enter quite slowly and then leave the roundabout as quickly as possible.... You never want to create a buildup inside the roundabout or slow down the other vehicles..... STOP!!!!!!!!!’

My first instinct was to throw a glance at the IRVM and I then stomped the clutch down and well, at best, ‘pressed’ down the brake pedal. Anyhow, I had ‘pressed’ it enough for the ABS to kick in and car vibrated and hacked it’s way to standstill. Clearly the Golf was not enjoying this treatment one bit. Must have been a rude awakening after all that Eco-driving

J is not a man of praise, and to be honest, he was disappointed. He was glad that my first instinct was to glance at IRVM before braking, but I’d need to stomp down the pedal a lot harder than that. No two ways with J and he won’t let you move on till he’s fully satisfied. (Sign of a great teacher, no?)

‘Okay we’ll try that again. Up to 70 again, and when I tell you to, brake to standstill. Stomp down the pedal completely. Don't be afraid!’ He adds smugly.

I grunt in agreement, slightly provoked by his smug 'Don't be afraid'

We’re off, and Mr J yells at me to STOP a little while later, again halfway through a discourse on roundabouts (these roundabouts, I tell you ).

This time I’m set. Ready. I glance up at the IRVM and stomp down both the clutch and brake pedal. All the way. The Golf is as displeased as ever and violently shudders as it comes to a standstill.

The stopping distance is visibly shorter. J is impressed.


Next class we’ll be doing hill starts.

Last edited by anekho : 23rd January 2013 at 05:00.
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Old 27th October 2011, 02:17   #21
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I thought I had great driving tuition in UK but this threads makes me want to go back to school again. Fantastic experience, anaekho, and very well described
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Old 27th October 2011, 11:55   #22
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This is something I have noticed about the western countries although I am not sure if I am correct. People there love to do there job whether its that of a driving school instructor or a doctor or professor. Its that passion that drives them and they carry it out with honesty. The eagerness and interest J is showing above in making you learn is such a nice gesture.
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Old 27th October 2011, 14:05   #23
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I thought I had great driving tuition in UK but this threads makes me want to go back to school again. Fantastic experience, anaekho, and very well described
Thank you, Thad! Glad you're enjoying the write-up

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This is something I have noticed about the western countries although I am not sure if I am correct. People there love to do there job whether its that of a driving school instructor or a doctor or professor. Its that passion that drives them and they carry it out with honesty. The eagerness and interest J is showing above in making you learn is such a nice gesture.
Yep, J was exceptional as a teacher. Showed great initiative, and wouldn't move on until he was fully satisfied. Also, unlike some other driving schools he didn't try to 'milk' students into taking more lessons than they need to, but stuck to the original plan he made on the first lesson. He honestly enjoyed being a driving instructor, and it showed in his teaching
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Old 27th October 2011, 16:08   #24
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Default Re: The Swedish Driving License - My Experience

Lovely thread Anekho, thanks for sharing the experience with us. I wish it were similar in India as well, there would be hardly any cars on the road then :P
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Old 27th October 2011, 16:35   #25
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This is something I have noticed about the western countries although I am not sure if I am correct. People there love to do there job whether its that of a driving school instructor or a doctor or professor. Its that passion that drives them and they carry it out with honesty. The eagerness and interest J is showing above in making you learn is such a nice gesture.
I think it varies from country to country, and even from person to person.

I remember that the driving instructor that got me through my British test was very conscientious, but he moaned to me that driving instructors in UK were neither well respected not well paid. He told me that it was different in Germany, but that also resulted in lessons being much more expensive there. The expense was bad enough in UK!
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Old 27th October 2011, 16:43   #26
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I think it varies from country to country, and even from person to person.

I remember that the driving instructor that got me through my British test was very conscientious, but he moaned to me that driving instructors in UK were neither well respected not well paid. He told me that it was different in Germany, but that also resulted in lessons being much more expensive there. The expense was bad enough in UK!
Yea it does for sure. What I feel bad about is that why doesn't democracy work like it should in our country? everywhere you go you gotta bribe to get your work done. I know there are many honest officers and many people too who would not give a bribe. I got my own license after a 2 day ordeal and had promised myself I would not give a bribe or go through an agent.
But I do wish sometimes that if I am stopped for jumping a signal or not wearing a seat belt, the cop must for a change insist on a challan and nothing else. You get the feeling I am trying to express right?
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Old 27th October 2011, 17:52   #27
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For the record, I know the right hand rule now. Thoroughly!
All along, I was under the impression that RHS traffic gets the first right of way in a rotary-junction only in right hand drive countries like India, Australia and UK. For left hand drive cars in the US, France, Swedan, etc., LHS traffic get the first right of way. Isn't Swedan left hand drive country? Please enlighten me.
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Old 27th October 2011, 22:04   #28
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Lovely thread Anekho, thanks for sharing the experience with us. I wish it were similar in India as well, there would be hardly any cars on the road then :P
Thank you, Sammyboy!

PS: Hope you're clocking more kilometers on the Ninja than you were on the Apache

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All along, I was under the impression that RHS traffic gets the first right of way in a rotary-junction only in right hand drive countries like India, Australia and UK. For left hand drive cars in the US, France, Swedan, etc., LHS traffic get the first right of way. Isn't Swedan left hand drive country? Please enlighten me.
Thanks for asking, J.Ravi! Sweden is Left Hand drive.

As I mentioned in my post, the Right Hand rule means that when traveling on a road that is not a ‘Main Road’, you need to give way to vehicles that approach from the right.

Rotary Junctions (roundabouts) function differently, and as you have mentioned, in LHD countries, you give way to vehicles coming from the left.

I made two diagrams to exemplify this (excuse my lack of drawing skills ).


The Right-Hand Rule:
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Vehicle A in red, is traveling straight on a road. This road is not a 'Main Road' (A 'Main Road' is identified by the Yellow sign I posted previously). Vehicle B in green, is joining the road from the right. In this situation, the Right Hand rule applies and A has to give way to B.

Now if the road A is traveling on was a 'Main Road' then A would proceed and B would wait.


Roundabouts:
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In roundabouts all traffic in the roundabout has preference. Vehicle B, again in green is already in the roundabout. Vehicle A, in red, wants to join the roundabout, but has to wait until it's free, i.e until B has passed A.

Essentially, in roundabouts (in LHD countries) you give way to traffic approaching from your left.


Hope this helps.
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Old 27th October 2011, 23:50   #29
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Roundabouts:
Attachment 833433
In roundabouts all traffic in the roundabout has preference. Vehicle B, again in green is already in the roundabout. Vehicle A, in red, wants to join the roundabout, but has to wait until it's free, i.e until B has passed A.

Essentially, in roundabouts (in LHD countries) you give way to traffic approaching from your left.


Hope this helps.
Why have you drawn the vehicle B moving anti-clockwise?

--Ragul
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Old 28th October 2011, 02:49   #30
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Why have you drawn the vehicle B moving anti-clockwise?

--Ragul
Ragul, in LHD countries the vehicles move in an anti-clockwise way around the roundabout.

Since cars drive on the right side of the road in LHD countries, only an anti-clockwise vehicular flow would allow two vehicles to enter and exit the roundabout at the same time (on the same road). Check out a modified version of my roundabout drawing:

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Only if the traffic in the roundabout is moving anti-clockwise (in LHD countries) will this work.

In addition you can check out this GIF from wikipedia:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...out_8_Cars.gif

Last edited by anekho : 28th October 2011 at 03:05.
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