Friday, August 3, 2012

Driver's Licence Timeline :) [Updated]

It took me some time to figure out what to do when, so I thought I'd try and help out those of you thinking about getting a driver's licence in Geneva. I'll also be uploading some reviews of the places and teachers I've tried, to make that choice easier (or harder =D). I've already 'passed' first aid and am currently preparing for the test. So let's see the steps...
1) Sign up for and complete the first aid course.
I did it here and it was OK. Of course, as a teacher, I'm much more picky... And they were a bit stupid about how important the whole thing is and how we'll never merit that paper... But I guess it's only because they have no other tool at their disposal to make you appreciate the course. (You get the attestation simply by participating in a more or less active way.)

2) Fill out the form and, along with the 'attestation' from the first aid course and all the documents required, return it to the OCAN.
They'll immediately sign you up (if you wish) for the test, there's no significant delay. The registration cost around CHF 100 and you have 3 chances to pass the test.

3) Pass the test on theory.
I went to Manor and bought the books and CD, though it only costs marginally more than the actual course at AES... I know, I know, but now I actually feel pretty good about it. No frustrated teachers telling me what a loser I am and the quality of the stuff is amazingly good. Besides, I don't have to take days off, etc. Of course, I have to imagine situations myself and there are no fun stories that might help me remember the rules, but I guess I'll be OK. We'll see next week. ;)

3) Do the 'sensibilisation' course.
This is a 10-hour course preparing you for maneuvers and tricky situations. I've signed up for a bundle with the AES, so I'll do it at their park facilities. Update: Turns out you can do this step any time before your exam. Might be actually a good idea to do it when you've already been driving for a while, so that you can really take advantage of the course. But if was just fine the way I did it. Don't expect great quality from the AES, though, they're really herding you through the whole process like sheep. Oh, and you'll spend one of the evenings in a stinky parking lot. But they give you your certificates quite readily -- well, they don't have much time to grumble, what with all the thousands of people queuing up. LOL

4) Pick up your learner's licence and get some practice.
I was shocked to learn that anyone can teach you how to drive provided they've had their licence for at least 3 years and are at least 23. I guess I'll get a teacher from the OCAn website for the first 10 or so lessons (we'll see how it goes) and then scare my hubby to death in our little precious. XD OK, I'm totally kidding, I'll be very careful and considerate. (Insert a Muttliesque smile here.) Update: The first hour was easily the worst hour of my whole life. If I could stop the car without making a fool of myself I would have run away. Traffic is shocking! After starting and stopping and maneuvering for a couple of hours in a parking lot (go to the OCAN, nice place to practice!) with my grinning hubby, I thought I had a talent for the stuff. I thought it was fun. No. It's not. It's a nightmare. During my second class yesterday I was at least in control, taking the nightmare in stride. But I still would have killed at least 6 pedestrians if I hadn't been driving at about 30 kmph and of course my instructor has all the pedals... That said, I'm really good at my part. I'm on the right side of the road (literally), I don't run into things and butcher the machinery -- but man, those others out there drive me nuts! I guess I'll get used to people running about and drivers not respecting my priority, but at this point it's still about survivor. Looking forward to actually sitting back in my seat, not to mention stopping chewing my lips and praying all the time. Well, with every deathrun I'm getting closer to that point. ... Right? ...

Oh, I almost forgot to mention my instructor, goddess of cool blood and master of silent reproach (of the style "we don't want to kill that old lady, now do we?" LOL), Monique SECOND of the Auto-Ecole Eaux-Vives. I'm sure there are good instructors all around, but I'm so happy to have found her straightaway. Please don't book her full. :)

 Another update: I'm still in hell whenever I'm driving in actual traffic (something they shouldn't make you do only once you're comfortable with the car...). BUT I've found a much more enjoyable -- and efficient way to practice. My hubby takes me to the fields just this side of the French border (Jura side), and away I roll. Literally. Up, and down, right and left, stopping and starting, turning and signaling. All that good stuff. I still hate starting uphill, but I'm getting a lot better at it. And I'm not about to hit any pedestrians when they're not jumping all over the place. Changing gears is OK as well, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. While in class I'm simply going for survival, there among the hills I'm truly ruling. And I guess that's the most important thing: to be in control. I'm actually starting to believe that I'll have a licence one day. =)

5) Register for the exam and pass. :)
Then collect your temporary licence.

6) Take two one-day courses in three year's time.
And be careful not to break any rules. :)

7) Prove your participation in the courses and pick up your permanent licence 3 years later. ;)

That's it! Easy, right?

I hope that was of any help.
If you happen to have any questions,
let me know and I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge. ;)

Have a great weekend you guys!

Cheerio
fleur


1 comment:

  1. Hello-
    I have enjoyed the blog you have listed with us at BlogExpat.com and wanted to contact you about a possible guest post on our new site, Expat-Quotes (http://www.expat-quotes.com/). Because of your experience as an expat, we would love to have you
    contribute to the guides. This would be a country-specific guest post with writer's credit that links directly to your blog. It could even cover the issue of getting a Driver's license in Switzerland more in depth.

    We appreciate your feedback and look forward to working with you in the future.

    Erin

    erin@easyexpat.com
    http://www.easyexpat.com
    http://www.blogexpat.com

    ReplyDelete