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Monday, 22 March 2010

I’ll Be Rockin’ Them Beats

“I know you think he’s fun and stuff, but does he know how to wind you up?”
Wind It Up – Gwen Stefani

There’s no internet connection here, but i’m itching to blog so here goes.

Today I take my QTI test to see if I am ready for a real on-the-road exam. I hope it all goes well. It’s actually a simulation of the real thing so that i don’t fail the actual test.

For those of you who are not at all sure about the Malaysian driving requirements, let me give you a lil’ insight.


Upon application for your drivers’ license, you will have to sit through a 6 hour lecture. Yes. a 6 hour lecture on the highway code. You can sleep, eat, drink, blog or do whatever you want as long as your body is there. They don’t care where your soul is.

After finishing that, you will have to take a series of 3 computerized tests. First to deal with colour blindness. If you, by any chance FAIL this test, kiss your license goodbye because only a doctor’s letter can save you here.

Next is the equally important dyslexia test. If you fail this, it’s the same story as the colour-blindness. No doctors’ letter? No go.

Following the two critical tests comes the less critical but still important Highway Code test. Fifty questions. 15 of which are pretty much common sense questions, 12 on signboards, 5 on penalties and the rest are a mixture of right-of-way and other questions. Note that this is a rough estimation. The weightage of questions differ from time to time.

When you finally finish your test (which will be a relief because they’ll make you wait hours on end in a tiny room with 50 odd people), The results slip will determine your next course of action. If you’ve scored 42 and above in the test. Congrats! It’s time to move on. If not, it’s another date with the waiting room for your second try.

The next item on the list is another lecture for 3-4 hours on vehicle maintenance and safety. Yet another lecture to sleep (and dream!) your way through.

After all that is over, it’s time to hit the road. Your instructor tosses you the keys and you’re in the driver’s seat to begin driving. Don’t worry about getting it wrong the first few times. You’ll get there sometime.

You apply for your trial exam once all your driving hours are exhausted and you’re confident you can make it. So on the day you you request you get the simulation (like what I’m in and waiting for right now) of the real test.

If you pass then Yay! You’re all set for the finale, but if you fail, you’ll have to apply to do it again.

The finale is straightforward. Your car will be parked in position to begin the exam. Enter the vehicle, adjust the mirrors and your seat then get comfortable. Three things you gotta do in this test. First, the hill.

The hill is tricky. It involves a strong gut feeling of when to brake and when to clutch. You engage gear one then add a bit of accelerator to climb the hill. When you believe your side mirrors align with the poles at either side, or when you feel your tyres are in the yellow strip on the hill, deploy the handbrake and switch to neutral. Take a deep breath because the hardest part is still yet to come.

When you feel ready, engage gear 1 with your foot fully on the clutch. Then balance the clutch and the accelerator until you feel the car already going to move. That’s when you release your handbrake halfway and ride the hill. When you clear the peak, release the handbrake fully and press the clutch all the way down. Use the brakes to help you control your speed.

Now it’s time for parallel parking. Different centres have different methods of doing this so I shall not explain any of them here. Basically you have to enter a parking lot by reversing into it, straightening out and coming to a full stop. To make the task harder, there are poles surrounding the parking lot, touch one and you fail. No correspondence entertained.

Once that’s done, the easiest part follows. The three-point-turn is a piece of cake. Just enter the lot in a backwards S-shape, reverse and exit. Just don’t stop more than twice, don’t hit any of the poles and don’t get stuck in the box. Simple? It’s easier than it sounds.

And there you have it. Part one is over. Time for Part two.

Enter your assigned vehicle, greet the examiner and adjust your seat (even if it’s comfortable!). Then you deal with the mirrors. Middle, right then ask the examiner permission to adjust the left one. When granted, lean over, wind down the window and adjust it.

Then you check the ignition by touching the accelerator. If it doesn’t respond, press it a little while looking at the rpm meter. If it deflects, you’re all set. Get into gear and start driving on the pre-defined route that your examiner chooses. All driving academies have their arsenal of examination routes for the examiners to choose from. They’re mostly simple and span about 4-7 kilometres. Each incorporating a school zone, speed limit zone and at least one traffic light.

Just follow what the examiner says and you’ll be fine. It’ll be over in no time.

Be reminded that once you pass your test, YOU STILL CANNOT DRIVE! You do not hold the documents required to be able to pilot a vehicle through the unholy daredevil roads of Malaysia. You need to wait for your probationary license card. After that, you’ll need to affix two huge ridiculous “P” stickers on both the front and rear windshield of all the vehicles you will be driving. When that’s all done, you’re set to get on the road.

But as long as your license has the red “P” graphic on it, you cannot touch alcohol (not even a sip) before you drive. There’s a list of offences that could result in the revocation of your license when disobeyed, so stick to the rules or just don’t drive. If you live 3 years in the car or give up driving for 3 years, both ways you’ll get your real driving license. It’s just a 3 year gap between the probationary license and the actual license. You can get rid of the “P” sticker too while you’re at it.

I hope this helped. Maybe you can get started now. Just remember that no matter how you plan to get your license, you’ll be using a MANUAL car. I suggest that you don’t start driving automatics around because you’ll be really confused when you start using a manual car.


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