In New Zealand the process of obtaining a drivers license is a long and drawn out one.
First you sit a theory test, which gives you a learner’s license. This means you are allowed to drive, but a driver with a full license must be with you at all times. Then, six months later you can sit the practical test. If you pass, you get a restricted license, meaning you are allowed to drive on your own during the day, but need a licensed driver with you at night. Then, 18 months after this, you get your full license.
There are no formal courses you need to take. If you pass your practical test, and don’t do any driving after that, you will still get your full license.
Two weeks ago, Brian received his full Norwegian driver’s license. The entire process took him a month, and was rather different to what we do in NZ. It was, in what can only be described as, intense.
First, despite knowing how to drive, he was legally required to take several 1.5 hour driving lessons from a certified instructor. (Probably a good idea since they drive on the wrong side of the road here, and have some really weird give way rules).
Then, there were the courses. So many courses, all taking at least 1/2 a day.
- There was the ice driving course – this actually sounded like fun.
- The mountain driving course
- The night driving course
- The risk management course
- The first aid course
On top of this there is also a very thorough theory exam.
Then once all these are completed it’s off for a a 1.5 hour practical driving test.
And now after all that, and just one month later, Brian is legally let loose on Norsk roads.
We headed out this weekend in a rental car to give his license a test.
Now Norwegian roads are pretty unusual. The top speed limit is 80, and most minor roads are windy, narrow, and one way.
There is no room for error
This is probably why they take their licensing process so seriously. If you drive a little too fast and suddenly brake, you won’t just skid a bit, but instead will be hurled off a mountain, and plummet into a 1500m deep fjord below. And, as we found ourselves on our own on some very narrow, rather terrifying although typically Norsk roads, I found myself rather glad that I could be sure any drivers we came across, even youthy ones, would have undergone very rigorous training with much less likelihood of thinking hooning is a marvelous idea.
Our driving adventure was a success, and we luckily avoided any major snow with the weekend falling into a ‘warm’ period.
Next step is to actually buy a car. Very keen on an electric model. Free charging, parking and no tolls.
But first, Brian just needs to stop uttering ‘driving on the right, driving on the right’ under his breath at every turn.