15 January 2011

This Program Has Been Interrupted...

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Nervous Nellie Walks Home After Test

So let's just cut to the chase. Nervous Nellie FAILED! I can't believe I actually failed the Hazard Perception part of the driving test. The horror!

The Hazard Perception test is like playing a video game with cars pulling out in front of you, pedestrians running across the road, Godzilla gobbling up buildings. Click the hazard developing; earn points on reaction time.

Okay, so I was a wee distracted by the beautiful countrysides and quaint villages we drove through on the video. Can you blame me?

[source: pinterest]

But I attribute the unfortunate score to being confused. I had been studying one way, and then a dear friend told me 24 hours before the exam to take it another way, which was confirmed by the test center.

So now I have a call into a driving instructor to get me 'sorted out' for the retest in two weeks. Agh! Although I passed the written exam, I have to take it again since it is a package deal.

So here's the breakdown of the day...

I gave myself 2 hours to get to the testing site since it was really far away in an unfamiliar area. I needed every minute.

So get this - as I was entering the town, I actually recognized it from my practice videos. It was wild to actually drive in my Hazard Perception practice video.

I drove wild-eyed around and around that one-way streeted town trying to find a place to park. I zeroed in on a structure with a really tight round-a-round upward entry that rocketed me up 7 levels. Feeling slightly dizzy and nauseous (and nearly scraping the walls), I finally found a space that would accommodate my large-ish vehicle. Shouldn't I have been handed a UK drivers license right then and there just for making it through motorways, one way streets, and tight parking structures successfully? No one hurt, and no property or livestock damaged?

Once parked, I spied the posted sign that stated clearly that I was not to steal petrol from other cars. Really?! Great...

So I took the exit door and found myself inside a big shopping mall with elderly people wandering about in silence. Weird. I just needed to find the street, but I was too nervous to ask one of those scary tattooed men where to find it. What if he stole my purse with my provisional license in it?! Was his friend currently syphoning my gas? So I asked an elderly man, who pointed the way.

[source: pinterest]

I was feeling pretty discombobulated at the test center having been 'lost' for the last hour - in town, the lot, the mall, and then on the street - but the lady behind the counter was friendly (yea) and asked if I wanted to take my test in English. Being the funny girl that I am (ha ha), I told her I'd prefer to take it in 'American' - she gave a polite smile (or was that a wince?), and she rewarded my humor with the 'GOTTCHA' version of the test.

Next, I had to empty my pockets and put everything, except my provisional license, in a locker.

I sat down at my assigned computer. I thought for sure I had it in the bag since I was assigned Number 19 (anything with a 9 is my lucky number). I put my key and license on the small approved rectangle on the desk. I noticed I had my own CCTV video camera staring at me the whole time.

I also had to wear a heart monitor and blood pressure cuff to monitor my bio-responses to questions. Okay, not really. But my heart was, as Junie B would say, 'very pumpy' the whole time.

There was a hand sanitizing wipe for the computer screen, since it was a touch-screen test. Honest!

You know the few times you have received news, and you have an out of body experience? Hello, that was me. When she handed me my test results, the letter read 'I am sorry to tell you that you have failed...' and my head and feet and body just elevated above the ground, and I floated past the elderly and the petrol thieves (I bet they had driving licenses!) to my car.

I wept to girlfriends on my mobile phone (hands-free) the rest of the way home and got really, deeply lost.  Home eventually, I ate a bottle of olives, a whole avocado, and bread doused with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Fat craving, anyone? (I use 'douse' because that is what you do if someone is on fire in an accident. See, I have studied!)

You'll be happy to know my body and mind resurfaced today.

Here is a little sign idea I came up with during the drive:

I know that many are struggling with bigger issues than a silly drivers license - my heart goes out especially to girlfriends Susan and Stacey and their families - both moms with cancer with young children. It puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?

Thank you to everyone who sent me well-wishes via email and comments - you made me feel so loved! And now you get to send them again in two weeks :) Nervous Nellie says THANK YOU! Big group hug...

[source: pinterest]

Flowers for each of you!

This Post is a follow up to Nervous Nellie Gets A Drivers License, Part 2 [here]


ladyliberty said...

Oh no! What a bummer. I have to say that the hazard perception test, while good in theory, has a lot of confusion surrounding how to do it "right". I failed one module for being too cautious apparently. You'll get it next time!

WinnibriggsHouse said...

Well as someone who never got to learn to drive, let alone take any tests I do feel for you. You are not the first to do a retake and you certainly won't be the last. Keep positive I am sure you will get there.
BTW I think your sign about no signs should be in every town, as chief navigator there never seems to be one pointing to where you actually want to go, wherever you are.

Make mine Mid-Century said...

Oh no! Bugger that!

Kick it in the backside next time! You can do it. You're an intelligent woman ... don't take this as a slight against your ability.

Stupid test.

Fiona said...


I'm just planning my whole Australian Sunday around using the word 'discombobulated' as many times as possible.

You'll show them next time!

Melissa K said...

Good luck for two weeks time! At least you won't (hopefully) be feeling so discombobulated on the way to the centre next time :) Melissa xx

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I can see that I would never, never be able to get a driver's lisence in England. My goodness, they certainly make it difficult. Good luck in the future, it might be easier now that you have done it before.

Brit Gal Sarah said...

Oh noooo, so sorry to read this, but not sure I could pass it either these days!

" I told her I'd prefer to take it in 'American' " made me LOL, I need to try that one here!

"I also had to wear a heart monitor and blood pressure cuff to monitor my bio-responses to questions" brought a 'jesus' from me until I realised you had me going lol!!

I look forward to Part III!

Daydream Living said...

Oh Man! Nervous Nellie, please tell my friend Laura that she will pass next time, for sure! Give her a big hug from me, any olives left?
Maureen xx

American in Bath said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm a few months behind. I know I have to get a UK DL, but stories like these make living and working on the bus system seem like the better option. I hope you go well in two weeks' time.

Jane said...

Oh, Sweetie! Not happy in Hobart. I've been waiting to hear how it went. I can't believe how complicated it is for you to get your licence.

Here, you get your learner's licence and can drive with a licensed driver as a passenger. Then you have to get your provisional licence which lasts for three years. I think you may have speed and passenger limitations but after that, you get your full licence - no extra test required. I also failed my 'P' test the first time - undid my having to attempt a reverse park backwards up a steep hill with a deep spoon drain next to me. I was shattered.

Best of British for the next time! J x

Robynne's Nest said...

O.k. Nervous Nellie, I'm so glad that I didn't have to do any of that as we drive on the same side of the road in Australia. However, when it came to renew my car insurance recently after driving in the U.k. for one year on an Aussie license I was told that I had to get a U.K. license as I was an illegal driver! They would continue to insure me but for a sum of around £1800! I very, very quickly raced to Wimbledon and organized the new 'legal' license, receiving it in the mail a few weeks later. I promptly tried to renew my insurance to be told that the premium was still huge because I was now a U.k. driver with no history...they wouldn't take into account my 30 years driving history in Aus!!! I think at some point I may have said that if they could make me 20 years old again I would gladly pay £1800 per year in insurance....in fact I'd pay way more than that!!! Eventually we did find an insurer who worked 'outside the square'...they also insure convicted felons....but hey beggars can't be choosers! Robx

Kate and Russ said...

Did you happen to save any bread, olive oil, sea salt and pepper for me? I might need to join you shortly. Until then, my fingers are crossed so tightly and my hazard perception practice hand has been so overworked, my fingers are tingly!

Laura said...

Oh dear, I'm sorry you didn't pass (this time)... keep thinking positive. You *will* pass next time... All the best drivers have two attempts... I was a second timer, but that was in the days before they had written tests etc. I'll cross my fingers, kiss my lucky heather, stroke my rabbits paw and throw a pinch of salt over my shoulder for you!

JoAnn said...

OMG...you are too damn funny! :) You have EVERYONE freaking out about this flippin' test my friend...including me!!! My hubby's going to tutor me. I'm SO nervous! Knock 'em dead at the next test my friend! :) Love your new layout on your blog!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Oh noooo, sweetie. I'm so sorry. I would have been dousing away too. ;-)

But, hey, you got to use a sanitised hand-wipe...it's not all bad. Ha!

Biiiiig hug,


Privet and Holly said...

Oh, I'm late
to the olive-avocado-
bread-eating party, but
hopefully you will still
accept a big HUG and
best wishes for next time!
Boo, I can't believe it.
You were probably just too
shook up from ALL that it
took to get there : )
You'll conquer it in two
xx Suzanne

topchelseagirl said...

Noooo! Fingers crossed for next time, I'm sure you'll pass! x

julia said...

Hello, new here. I know I shouldn't laugh at your misfortune but your story is hilarious. It seems like your test was the least of your worries - petrol stealing, tattoed elderly people with germs would worry me a lot more.

Jessica {lovely jubbly london} said...

this is exactly why after 10 years here, I still have not taken the test! it stresses me out just thinking about it!

Raine and Sage said...

How confusing though having to drive on the other side of the road. I blame that... I remember driving through Germany (with an international drivers licence - worth nothing) and having a couple of hairy moments. Next time you'll nail it, I've no doubt. Wonderful you keeping your sense of humour despite of it all.


Great post, sorry to hear that you failed it 1st time, when I moved over here, I was so worried about taking my test that I avoided it for a whole year until I had no choice to take it. I passed 1st time but I think it had a lot to do with the test being the easiest test I have ever taken in my life. It didn't compare to my 1st ever driving test when I was a teen. I took that test in Milton Keynes which is full of roundabouts and I was so nervous, but passed. Oh the fun of emigrating to a foreign land :-) Sam