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Old 27th February 2024, 09:27   #1
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Share your driving license test experience

Recently, I came across a thread on the Kerala MVD revamping the driving license examination to improve driving quality. Great news, but to be honest, the implementation of the same is another matter. This just got me thinking about the time I had to take my driving test back in 2011. I had been already driving for a couple of years, but primarily on internal roads and an open ground where my dad used to take me and my sister. We used to live on the outskirts of a small town, so there were barely 4 cars in our neighbourhood. The roads were pretty much empty and I got the hang of driving pretty quickly.

Back in the day (already feeling old as I write this), there were no written tests or MCQ online tests. Dad was friends with an agent who took care of the paperwork and informed me when I had to go for the driving test. On that day, it just hit me that I wouldn’t be driving my dad’s car since he had taken it to his office. The agent picked me up and we reached the RTO office where there were some forms that he picked out for me to sign and submit. After that, I had to just wait for my turn to drive the car.

The agent knew what the drill was and told me that the evaluator would ask me to take one round of the ground and then reverse into a spot. He was adamant on one aspect, which is when reversing, you HAVE to turn back and look through the rear windshield and park. If you don't look back, you will fail the test. I didn’t see the logic back then and didn’t pay much attention to it. I was used to using the mirrors and would just glance at the rear so that there was no one crossing from the side and then was comfortable aligning the car and reversing using the ORVMs and the IRVM.
Share your driving license test experience-2022marutialtok1017.jpg

The test car was an abused red Maruti 800 and I will never forget that car because it shook my foundations. The seats were horrible, there was barely any interior to speak of and no seat adjustment because it was jammed in one setting. While being seated in a horrible driving position, I buckled in the seatbelt and started the car. The clutch was heavy, the gear lever was wobbly and I managed to push it into first with a lot of effort. I didn’t want to seem amateurish in front of the evaluator, so I pretended that it was easy. Got off the line without stalling, which was a good start and then started to drive along the circumference of the oval ground. Shifting to second was another task as the gear lever refused to budge even after a couple of tries. I didn’t want to take my eyes off the road and gave it all in the third and finally, it shifted. Chuckled nervously to the evaluator that it needed oiling. He didn't respond, just had a blank expression.

Share your driving license test experience-imag0237.jpg
(Not the actual car, just a reference image. Original thread)

Upshifted to 3rd and then to 4th and I almost felt my bicep and shoulder grow. Finally, the round was over and we reached the spot where I was supposed to park. Slowed down and did as the agent had told. Looked back and reversed. Turned off the car. The evaluator had seen my form and knew I had just turned 18. He asked me how long since I had been driving already. We both laughed and that was it. I had passed.

Next up was the geared motorcycle test. Since a couple of my friends had gotten the motorcycle license, I knew that you had to ride the bike in the shape of an '8' and you were done. I had just barely learned how to ride a motorcycle and wasn't good at it. I'd never even gone above 3rd gear, so I was nervous about this one. Also, for some reason I had assumed that the test would be on an open ground, so I wasn't really worried about riding around in circles. The vehicle for my test was an old Hero Splendor. The surprise came when I got to know that there was no open ground for this. I had to ride in between 2 trees in the shape of ‘8’ for a couple of rounds without putting my feet down! The trees felt too close at that time. Got off the line with excess accelerator input, but managed to do 2 rounds. Didn't lose balance, so I made it through. Got my license delivered to my home address soon after that.

Share your driving license test experience-posfboixnhyhd.jpg
(Just a reference image)

Of course, things have changed drastically since then. As far as I know, there's an online test now that you need to pass to be eligible for the actual driving test. Do share your driving license test experience. Given that we have such a wide variety of members from different age groups, I'm sure there would be some interesting stories.

Found this Top Gear video -

Last edited by Omkar : 27th February 2024 at 12:00.
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Old 27th February 2024, 09:35   #2
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

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Old 27th February 2024, 10:52   #3
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

I got it from Kerala. I had applied for both 2-wheeler and 4-wheeler but learned only 4-wheeler. I never learned to ride a motorized 2-wheeler.

My plan was not to attempt a 2-wheeler since I did not know how to start it.
I updated this to my Driving school instructor, who was there. We were using their vehicle for the test as well.
But he told me I should attend it and fail because I can learn it quickly once the test is over and reappear again faster. However, if I don't appear, I must start with the Learners License process. I agreed but told him I had never ridden a 2-wheeler other than a cycle. I did not even know how to start it. So he quickly taught me how to take an "8", which I learned in about 10 minutes.

My 4-wheeler driving test (On road + H) went uneventfully.

For the 2-wheeler, I did an "8" without any issues, whereas many practicing earlier with full confidence failed it.

Now came the time for the road test. We were supposed to take a round in the ground perimeter where the test was being held. To my horror, the guy who took the ride before me handed the M80 to me after switching off the engine. I sat on it and didn't know what to do. The Inspectors were not looking at that time and were arguing with someone.
The next guy in line instructed me how to start it, and then, without changing any gear, I took a round. Thankfully, the inspectors never checked anyone for the 2-wheeler road test. But they were particular about 4-wheelers and the "8" test for 2-wheelers.

Anyway, I got the license for both.

To date, I do not own or have not driven a geared 2-wheeler post that. Gearless scooter, maybe 5 minutes of drive time in total.

Last edited by navin : 27th February 2024 at 11:27. Reason: several typos and grammatical errors
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Old 27th February 2024, 11:01   #4
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Thanks for igniting this subject - While now we recognize the importance of a driving license test, back in those days (2010 end), I just wanted a license so that I could drive on the roads.

While we are still a far way off to really granting the best skilled drivers a license, its a pity that even driving schools don't want to focus on teaching the driving basics. No matter, we have so many on the road with no driving etiquettes and blatantly breaking laws while being unaware of it.

For my car license, I remember, standing under the hot sun with no shade and absolutely no arrangements of any kind for the ordinary citizens. An army of different driving school instructors stood with their protégé.

Share your driving license test experience-rto.jpg

As seen in the picture this dry dirt track is all you need to showcase your skills to be able to drive in the country. As I learnt driving through a driving school, I had to use the driving school car (yes the same car) while being seated next to the car instructor himself. That's the irony. It was a joke. One round and that's all.

For the 2 wheeler, go around without getting your leg on the ground, you are granted the two wheeler license. I saw one girl fall as the road slope at the turn was all gravel and they failed her.

But that's all it took. I have learnt more driving from my friend than my paid driving instructor.
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Old 27th February 2024, 11:36   #5
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

I got mine in 1999. Took my own Maruti Omni with me along with a friend who held a valid DL. The instructor sat in the car.

Q- Do you know how to drive?
A - Yes

Q- Who taught you?
A - Driving school (this was a lie, but I told him what he wanted to hear).

This was it. I was told to collect the DL later that evening or next day (can't remember which).

No questions or inquiries about my two-wheeler riding ability at all.

Got the license!

But things have changed now in Delhi. A cousin was denied a license as she hit a cone while parking during the driving test. My aunt is still struggling to get one. She's failed twice. Once she could not climb a ramp with multiple stops in between and once because she could not reverse properly.

Last edited by Eddy : 27th February 2024 at 11:39.
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Old 27th February 2024, 11:51   #6
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Got my 2W non-geared DL way back in 2003! Back then, RTO was all about red-tape, bureaucracy, and was shadow-run by agents. Nothing was straight forward, and the process was designed to ensure you got your work done through agents.

I still attempted to get this done by myself, and it actually worked fine. While I didn't need agents to get my work done, I did still supply a healthy business to the print and copy shops in the RTO premises (mostly unnecessary, but everyone has a house to run!)

When I went in for my test, the written exam was done with in the first try and I was issued a Learner's License. The practical test a month later was without drama, but I did go through an agent this time since I didn't own a scooter on my name. (Complex rules in case you didn't get your own vehicle). The inspector wasn't even paying attention when I did the figure-of-8 and approved me for the DL.

Things were a little more eventful when it was time for the 4W and 2W with gear DL. Computer tests had just been introduced, and there were a lot of teething issues: server being down, applicants not knowing how to select the right option etc.

Again, I chose to go through an agent (rather, a driving school) just so everything is easy. Test cleared, and the driving test was a breeze as well since the inspectors - agents have their own agreement. I drove the agent's rickety old Maruti 800, and then a Splendor. All I was asked to do was, a) drive and stop when told, b) don't stall or put your foot down (on the bike).

There was a whole lot of drama later though, as RTO did not endorse MCWG (Motorcyle with Gear) on the RTO, and despite several visits, I was being asked to check with counters around RTO like a headless chicken. One visit by the mothership to the RTO, and a short word with the RTO head magically resolved all problems.

This is from the early 2000s.

OT: While the thread isn't about this, here's an anecdote to highlight the transformation RTO has had over the years. I went to RTO on two separate occasions recently: once to get hypothecation cancelled, and another time to get my DL renewed. Anyone who's born pre-2010 will have a hard time believing it's the same organization!

Guess it's with good reason people often say, "hamare zamaane mein......" (in our times......)

Last edited by libranof1987 : 27th February 2024 at 12:52.
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Old 27th February 2024, 12:18   #7
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Well Well. I got mine when I wasn't even eligible to Drive, don’t want to open the can of worms, as mostly everyone would have an interesting story to share. Caveat - I wasn't allowed to drive even though I had the DL, car keys were always under "Lock and Key" with my Mom.

Early 90's, My father got transferred to Ladakh and RTO department was under him, then what, everyone in the family got the DL. I atleast knew a bit of driving, My sister and Mom during those days have never sat in the Driving seat and even they got their driving licenses.

Such was the state of affairs during those days. It was a laminated full page A4 folded into quarter size. Used that license for few years in Mumbai when I was eligible for driving and at times the cops didn't accept that as legal Driving License, always looked at the page document suspiciously, flipping it front and back few times

The second one/current one (Indian), I got when I was working in Gujarat, again there was no practical test, one guy Just asked few theoretical questions from the Chart and Voila next day, I got the Card license with a 2-wheeler automatically added to it and valid till I turn the age of 50.

Dubai/Saudi DL - Got them in the first instance, with a Theoretical and Practical test of around 1Km drive across the block. While getting the Saudi DL, the instructor was on the phone all the time when I was giving the practical test/drive with him and at one instance he didn't wanted me to Stop at the STOP sign, as I was the last one for the day and he seems to be in a hurry. Still I stopped and that really triggered him.
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Old 27th February 2024, 15:29   #8
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

I took my LMV & MCWG driving test at the Chennai Chepauk RTO in 1991. I had already been riding geared bikes & driving our M800 since 1985 (no strict policing or AI cameras back then) & so was sure that I will pass both with flying colours. Imagine my surprise & the massive hit to my ego when I failed both tests at the first attempt.

1) Bike test : The road test then was to ride solo on the lane behind the RTO for some distance, turn around & return to where the MVI was standing.

I start the bike, slot in gear, ride on till the point asked to, do a right hand turn signal, turn around & ride back to where the MVI was standing & after showing the hand signals for slowing down & then the hand signal for stopping, I park the bike on the left side. The MVI beckons me towards him & I ride the bike near him & park.
Verdict : Fail

2) The car driving test was also the same day & the same drill, with the only difference being that the MVI sat in the front passenger seat. I start car, move on in 1st gear, then up to 2nd & 3rd gears, indicate by hand & take a U-turn, drive back to the place where we started. Just few metres before reaching there, MVI asks me to stop & park the car at a particular point. I again show the slowing & stopping hand signals & park the car at the spot on the left side that he asked me to & switch off the car.
Verdict : Fail

Any guesses on why he failed me in both tests ?

1) Failed the bike test because I rode over to the other side & parked there opposite to direction of traffic (even though I did it because he beckoned me over). I should have gone over to his side & parked in the direction of traffic.
Lesson learnt : Since then I always park only on the left side of the road, with front pointing in the direction of traffic.

2) Failed the driving test because I parked in front of the gate of a home. Even though he asked me to park there, I should have parked away from the gate.
Lesson learnt : Never park obstructing the path of a home/business.

PS : This was a time when Madras roads had minimal traffic, not as much corruption & rto-broker nexus as today & folks diligently followed road rules & stopping at a signal past the StopLine marking was a ₹50 fine, which was a big amount (1 litre petrol cost less than ₹15 IIRC).

Last edited by Aditya : 28th February 2024 at 19:39. Reason: As requested
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Old 27th February 2024, 16:19   #9
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Mine was funny; it happened on Chennai Marine Beach around 2014. The test was scheduled for 8 AM, but I arrived at 6:30-6:45 AM. While wandering around and observing a few people doing a test run, boredom set in as I was alone and my friend's house was just 10 minutes away. By 7:20, with 40 minutes left, I called my friend, informed him that I would pick him up and return here for some time pass. I left the place, and when my return, the bike testing was already over, leaving me in a state of panic, fearing my dad's reaction.

I went to test with the help of my driving class, and the people there didn't call me; they simply shouted my name and, assuming I was missing, left. Apparently, there was a strict RTO lady officer involved.

Fortunately, I was also in the queue for the next car testing. My driving class trainer advised me to inform her during the car drive that I missed the bike test and wanted to do it as well. I handed my bike to my friend, asked him to stand close in front of the car. After completing the car test, I informed the lady officer that I missed the bike test. She inquired about the bike's location, and as it was visible from inside the car, she allowed me to do it. I performed a U-turn and brought the bike to her near car, and that's it; she helped me pass my driving class now.
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Old 27th February 2024, 17:54   #10
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

I got my Indian driving license in 1999 together for both LMV and MCWG at Marthandam RTO in Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu. While I had taken driving lessons for 4 wheeler (in a HM Trekker) at a driving school, but learnt 2 wheeler using friends bikes at college (with few slips and falls).
  • During the written exam for the learner's license, went to the RTO along with the driving school instructor, collected the question paper and answered the questions within few mins (mostly done by the instructor himself) and got the learners license the same day.
  • For the 2 wheeler driving test, took my friend's Hero Honda Splendor (as my friends felt that it would be much more forgiving in avoiding engine stall due to the smoother clutch release in the 4-stroke engine instead of other Suzuki Samurais, which was 2-stroke). I had to kick start the bike and ride it up an inclined road, do a U-turn and ride it back down to the starting point, without stalling the engine or planting my foot down in between.
  • The 4 wheeler driving test was taken in the same HM Trekker from the driving school. I was told by the driving instructor that I would be required to start the vehicle, put it in 1st gear and drive it forward for few 100 mtrs by upshifting to 2nd, 3rd etc. Also, I would need to stop the vehicle and put it in reverse and drive backwards for few mtrs. However, during the test, the RTO officer asked me to drive the vehicle forward for few mtrs and then asked me to stop and got down and walked away without saying anything. I don't think I went past 2nd gear. The driving instructor came to me after few mins and told me all was good and I could leave once the photo was taken at the counter. Collected the license the next day from the driving school.

In 2005, I got my 4 wheeler driving license in the US, at Charlotte, North Carolina. Bought the driving instructions booklet, studied for a day and took some sample tests. Applied for the learner's permit the DMV office, took the exams (myself, this time ) and received it the same day. Then I enrolled myself in a driving school for about a month and finally applied for the drivers license. The road test was fairly comprehensive and happened on public roads. I had to do the below manoeuvres:
  • Adjusting the steering, seats, ORVMs and IRVM for my driving position before driving out of the parking lot. The inspector was continuously monitoring if I was using the rear view mirrors to ensure that my surroundings were clear and also if my grip on the steering wheel was relaxed and not rigid. Some DMV offices also require you to do parking in a designated spot (sometimes parallel parking as well), but I was not asked to do that.
  • 3 point turn on a narrow street: The inspector was watching my hand position on the steering wheel, use of turn indicator, my preparation for the turn including my glances to the ORVMs and IRVM and through the rear windshield.
  • Crossing an intersection with STOP sign: The inspector was checking if I have come to a complete stop at the STOP sign, ensured the other vehicles with right of way have been given priority to cross the intersection and finally moving the vehicle after confirming that the intersection was clear before crossing it.

After that, in 2007, when I moved to Florida, I just had to turn in my driving license from North Carolina to get a new one for Florida state. When my wife took her driving test in Florida, it was almost the same as what I had done in North Carolina. Additionally, she had to also do the parking at a designated parking spot inside the parking lot of the DMV.

Last edited by jjp@chn : 27th February 2024 at 17:55.
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Old 27th February 2024, 19:09   #11
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

I have already jotted down my personal experience on this thread in the post #1. There are seven more posts here:- (First learning and/or driving licence experience & anecdotes)
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Old 29th February 2024, 09:50   #12
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

I had my original Licence from UP(Muzaffarnagar) issued in 2004. This was done through the usual paperwork and bribes back then.

Now in 2024, I had to renew it, and I went through an agent, but all he did was just paperwork online, which I could have done myself in hindsight.

However, the experience in the RTO office was remarkable. They did KYC, document verification and Photo, everything was seamless and without any red tape or anything. I was quite surprised by the process. In 24 hours I got an SMS from Vaahan, about the issuance of the license and in a week's time the Physical license was dispatched.

Overall was a really pleasant experience at a UP RTO office, Compared to an RTO at Electronic City in Bengaluru for my wife's license.
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Old 29th February 2024, 10:50   #13
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Ahh the good old days of getting a driver's license. It was 2007 and I was just out of school, waiting for admission season of college. I had been riding bike for a little over a year on the internal roads, haven't driven yet. I was looking to venture to go to city (we lived on the outskirts) but there was a police check post right at the entrance to the main highway to the city. So, I asked my father that it was time I should get a license. Father gave me a number of his friend and asked me to figure stuff out.

I called and I was invited to the RTO office two days later. I went there, asked for my father's friend. I was admitted to an office where this gentleman, my father's friend was taking lunch break. We made small talk which is very hard for me. He called another employee who filled a form for me, I signed, he signed, the form was stamped, and I was handed my learner's permit.

Six months later, I was in college, went with same routine: office, small talk, sign, stamp and I got my Driver's license for both LMV and MCWG. No driving test involved.

I lost that license some years later. Me being me, I didn't go all the effort to have it reissued. Instead, I opted for a new license. This time without any assistance. The year was 2014. Went to RTO, filled out form, paid fees, took written exam and got my learner's permit.
Six months later, went again, paid frees, filled more forms, had my photo taken and license was mailed to my home. Again, no test was taken. No agent, no bribery or influence involved. I dug a little deeper as to why no test was taken, turned out the fees I paid involved fuel fee for driving test, the fees that staff collectively pocketed since no test were done and no fuel was spent.
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Old 29th February 2024, 11:49   #14
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Back in '95, I took my cousin's Hero Puch for my 2-Wheeler DL test. I was afraid that the examiner wouldn't allow it on account of it having only 2 gears, but thankfully, he didn't care. Handled the '8' like a bicycle.

For the 4-Wheeler test, the examiner made me drive up a small hill, and stop at the roundabout on top. However, I informed him that this would obstruct the road and be a hazard to any unwary vehicles behind us, so I stopped a little ahead during the descent down. Next in turn was a girl whom he asked to reverse back up the hill. To her credit, she did so, but was failed for driving in the opposite direction on a one-way road. I suppose society was prejudiced against women drivers in those days.
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Old 29th February 2024, 12:44   #15
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Re: Share your driving license test experience

Quoting myself from a different thread:

Originally Posted by Small Bot View Post
My first experience with the RTO office was when i wanted to get my Learners license in the mid-2000s.

I asked my brother: "What do I do to get that?" His response was: "Stand in front of the RTO office and look a little lost. Agents will pile up on you in a minute and tell you where to go." It worked just like that.

When I did my theory test for the Learners license, I failed my test once. The second time, the agent was blatantly telling me the answers standing right next to me, while the RTO folks were looking on, smiling.

And later, because I drove a Maruti 800 10 feet forward and 5 feet in reverse, I was given a bike license too without even being asked to ride one. I think the idea was that if I could drive a car, I should be able to drive a bike. Which is not the case though, as I struggle with geared bikes, but can easily drive any car.
The photo on my driving license makes me look like a warmed-up corpse, but that's a story for another day and thread.
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