By I MustafaIn the UK, there has always been a constant discussion about the difficulty of obtaining your full driving license. Some will declare that anyone can pass and was much harder 'back in my day', while others will shout from the rooftops that it must be the hardest driving examination in the world, and it is a wonder anyone can pass at all. However, while the UK is high on the list in terms of difficulty, there are many more treacherous tests around the world that are designed to push the capabilities of prospective drivers to the limit. Here is a round-up of the most maddeningly hard tests from across the globe that will hurt your brain just thinking about passing them!
Although you may hear people boasting how they passed in two days with only one lesson (which is most likely completely untrue), the average time in the UK to pass a test is around 8 months. Compare this to Finland, where it takes a minimum of two years of driving to obtain a full licence. During this probationary period, if the licence holder gets one fine, the period can be extended by a maximum of two years. If this doesn't seem harsh enough, before a person can get the preliminary license they are subjected to a litany of tests and lessons. They must take two tests, one in the summer and one in winter, and attend over 19 theory lessons in which they learn about Finland's strict driving regulations. A lengthy and difficult process, Finnish driving tests may be one of the hardest.
A lot of the stipulations in the South African driving test seemed to be designed to create the most complicated examination in the world. In fact, in 2007, there were actually riots surrounding the problems associated with obtaining the licensee. This may seem extreme, but some of the minute rules that have to be obeyed make the UK's equivalent test look like a walk in the park. For instance, you can be penalised for the most minuscule of errors. If you engage your handbrake and it makes a clicking sound you lose points, if you glance at your gear stick whilst driving you lose points, if you forget to check your headlights and tail lights are attached properly you lose points and if you forget to check for leaks under your car you, of course, lose points. In fact, if the car rolls back by one inch during the course of the lesson, you instantly fail. Unfortunately, these extremely strict rules have actually served to make South Africa's driving standards worse, as many people simply drive unlicensed rather than be driven insane by trying to pass the practical test.
Japan's driving test is different to many other countries, as it takes place on a course resembling a fake Japanese town. However, this doesn't make it any easier, as the fiendishly tricky test only has a pass rate of around 30 percent. Drivers must remain under 19 MPH at all times and instantly fail if they run over a kerb, fail to do the correct checks or stop the appropriate distance from traffic lights. Weirdly, drivers won't pass if they don't come closer enough to the curb when performing a left turn, as you aren't supposed to leave room for overtaking cyclists, which is the exact opposite of what most road laws say! You can also be denied a licence if you don't bend lower enough to inspect under the car for cats or children.
So, next you complain about the standard of UK driving tests, spare a thought for these poor countries who have to suffer these extremely complicated tests.
I Mustafa is an instructor at Pass At Once Driving School Birmingham http://www.passatonce.co.uk
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