It finally happened.
Well... to be clear, it happened a few weeks ago. But it happened! I got my restricted driver's license!
I can't say that I got it first try, sadly. In fact I didn't even make it half way through my first test. I found this out after the fact - but if you get two critical errors during the first half of the test, they don't proceed any further.
My first critical error I don't really care about - I mean... of course I care about it, but in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn't really classify it as "critical". Apparently I didn't do a head check before merging/diverging into traffic flow. Personally, I find it hard to believe. I've found that if you don't do things exactly when you are "supposed" to, the examiner will likely mark you down. For example, I may have done a head check slightly too late, or maybe even likely prematurely. Who knows. But anyway, I don't exactly care for this critical error.
The critical error which actually failed me was speeding. Let me explain. I wasn't going over the usual speed limit in the area I failed. I did the test in my own car, of which I have found I am able to control my speed extremely well. I don't have to constantly check my speed like I used to when I started out. Instead, at 50km/h I know what the engine sounds like, and I know how the road feels. However the day of my test one of the roads we drove through had a temporary speed limit of 30km/h for road works. I won't lie - I was originally really disappointed I didn't spot that, because it seems like such an obvious thing. But I happened to drive two days later, and while I did notice cones, I did not see a single temporary speed limit sign. It's impossible to know whether the signs were there two days earlier, but I have my doubts.
One other gripe about this instructor was the fact that she never stopped talking. Now - in New Zealand the rules around driving instructors is that they must not distract you during your test. And if you decide to bring a passenger during your test, the same applies to them. They must not interfere with the test. Which makes like perfect sense. But I found myself a little angry that they get to abuse the rules without any ramifications, but I have to pay another 80-something dollars to re-sit the test. I know that's a stupid statement - I shouldn't be allowed leniency, but neither should they.
I learnt a lot about them during my test. More then I feel I should have learnt. And it got awkward for a bit, as on numerous occasions she made remarks which are probably considered inappropriate for somebody in her position to say. If you don't know me, you won't know that I'm awkward at the best of times, so the extra pressure of her saying stupid things wasn't exactly helping me focus...
My second driving instructor was amazing. He was calm, he didn't speak unless we were at a red light and I initiated light conversation. He was clear with his instructions, and also kind. Basically what I'm saying here VTNZ is - give this guy a promotion for doing such an excellent job and fire the other one for not properly carrying out her job to the best of her abilities.
Aaaaaanyways. I did make one critical error during my second attempt - but luckily that's still a pass. Basically I didn't correctly carry out a "full stop" at a STOP sign. Which I did carry out correctly, however apparently if you need to edge forward from a full stop, to get more visibility, you must perform another full stop. And I must have not done that. My car is pretty low to the ground, and the road I was pulling out from had one of those big green power boxes blocking the traffic to my right. So I had no other option but to pull out a little further to see around it. The reason I know I did complete a full stop is because I learnt via my dad's prior mistake that not stopping at a stop sign can be kinda expensive. So I make it my own personal goal to never get a ticket doing the same thing.
When I heard him tell me I had a critical, I was stunned. Because in that moment all I could think of was - "a critical mistakes means an immediately fail". But I think that was just the nerves. My next thought was - oh crap, now I have to go back to work and tell the team I failed again... like an idiot. I was really annoyed with myself. But then, after his explanation of the critical error, these magic words followed "so... well done, you passed". And internally I was screaming. For two reasons; happiness... I had just been told I had passed, and confusion... how come I passed? But after he explained everything to me, I was out of there. Officially a free
man boy man!
Best day ever! Especially as not even an hour prior, I had received a package from Bugsnag with a bunch of awesome swag (for Bug Day). And I was wearing as much of that swag as I could, during my test. What a dork.