I passed my practical driving test and this Danish drivers license conversion nightmare is finally behind me!!!
I left an hour ahead of test time so I could take one last road lesson before facing the firing squad. I brazenly drove Audrey II to the test, knowing full well that they’d take my license if I failed. I don’t think my instructor approved because she mentioned something a bit sarcastic about my optimism ;-)
My instructor was not kidding when she said the interpreter “isn’t very good.” After exchanging pleasantries, she asked how good my Danish is, and whether I needed her to translate “right” and “left.” Um, yes. I’m paying you to be my interpreter and though I might know venestre from højre, I need to focus on my driving and not which is which.
Soon, an unpleasant looking examiner joined us and asked through the interpreter for my papers, including my temporary license. Oy vey! I did not want to part with that little slip of freedom, but I did, and he complimented me on passing the theory test on the first go. Perhaps we were developing a rapport?
Through the interpreter, he said we’d be starting with some practical questions. I’d translated and memorized the whole study sheet so I was cool…
“Horn? Must have one, clear consistent tone.”
“Exhaust and Engine? Must not emit any unnecessary noise or fumes, must not leak oil, and must be airtight and firmly secured to the vehicle.”
Then it started to go south. She asked me how many of something that didn’t make any sense whatsoever, I’m not even sure it was English, the car must have. I asked her to rephrase and she said she didn’t know the word. I asked her which part of the car it was related to, and she didn’t know. OK….
Is it headlights? 2 white or yellow in the front, illuminating 30m or 100m without dazzling, 2 parking lights that must be visible at 300m.
Indicators? Yellow so that they’re visible in the sun, 2 each at the front, sides, and back.
Rear lights? 2 red, visible at 300m, 3 brake lights, 2 reflectors that must not be triangular, and 1 license plate illuminator.
Shock absorbers? Yes, shock absorbers… 1 at each weel so the car immediately stops bouncing if pressed very hard.
At that point, I’d dazzled the instructor with my knowledge/preparation, and he began speaking directly to me in English. Phew!
I was prepared for the worst. In the hour before the test, I’d driven in downtown, the pedestrian area, areas which had the super confusing non-marked “give way right” intersections, rotaries until I was dizzy, and I’d parallel parked 6 times.
Anyway, he took me driving over a railroad crossing (slow down look both ways), on narrow country roads with tractors, cyclists, runners, etc. There were plenty of opportunities to screw up. I was waiting for the parallel park, but the trickiest manoeuvre he sprung on me was a U-Turn.
After about 25 minutes of driving, we were back at the station and I was trying to get my hand to stop shaking enough that I could sign the card that will be made into my license. I signed the first one in the wrong space, oops!
But it’s done. I’ve succeeded in converting my US driver’s license to a Danish drivers license and I never have to think about it again!!!
I’m having a hard time coming down from the stress wave that I’ve been on since getting the test letter. I’ve taken tomorrow off from work to hopefully sleep late and do only what pleases me :)