On Sunday, I completed Step 2 of getting my Ecuadorian drivers license. I completed the seven-day driving course, with a planned 35 hours of learning. Read Step 1 (The Paperwork).
I’ll be honest – I was dreading the week. I know how to drive. I’ve been driving for half my life and have always owned my own vehicles. What do I need 35 hours of training for?
Well, the course is well produced. The instructors were excellent and I learned the laws. The laws are different here than Canada. Many are the same, but there are some differences. Like you can pass on the inside lane – legally. The stipulation is that you have to feel that its safe.
Each day consisted of 3 hours of driving and 2 of classroom – Monday to Friday. On Friday morning I took my Practical Exam and scored a 20! To those of used to having school scores out of 100 – it doesn’t sound so good – but here – a 20 is perfect! Not one mistake – at least none that the instructor noticed. (Being a foreigner has its benefits. Immediately I’m “interesting” and the instructors want to ask all kinds of questions). So who know if my driving is perfect, but I’ll take it.
In the afternoon, there is a written exam. Of twenty questions, you must get 16 correct. They are multiple choice so its not that hard. For me the language barrier was the biggest problem, but I still passed with an 18/20. What makes me laugh is that four of the students failed. They are Ecuadorian and knew how to drive. The instructor made everyone who failed feel really good, by reading out all their errors and highlighting that: “This foreigner who can’t read well passed with an 18 – and you are Spanish and couldn’t pass”. Of course, it doesn’t really make my ego burst, being the bad reading extranjero (foreigner) – but I’ll take any compliment, however backhanded.
Saturday and Sunday consisted of three segments: First Aid, Psychology and Mechanical. The last thing to do is sign a paper this Wednesday. Next Wednesday I can go pick up my certificate and head over to get my real license. The Transit Commission requires another 20 question exam, and another pile of papers and I should walk out with my license. Simple, right?
Step 3 to follow next week. Then, How to Buy a Vehicle in Ecuador will be covered in January (hopefully).