Friday, January 29, 2016

How I Got My Red P Driver's Licence

After 3 years and 5 months wherein I have shared my lessons for newbie drivers, I finally could drive officially!

Before I went to Australia, many people suggested that I get my licence in the Philippines first. Securing a licence in the Philippines is a LOT easier than in Australia, as I have personally compared. Back in August 2012, I just had to do 6 hours lessons with a reputable driving instuctor and voila! My very own licence. No actual exams needed, no dramas. I never really got to use the licence though because 2 months after I had to fly to Australia.

When I got here, I was not able to use my licence either. Overseas licences may be used within 3 months only upon entering the country. By the time we got our car, my licence has expired. Plus, I was not that confident really especially since it's left-hand traffic here.

Driving, like any other physical activity, is not on my list of "natural skills," so I had to let my husband get the licence first. Although this post is not about him, let me give him some of the spot light and say that in a span of 2 months, he was able to get his red Ps. :)
For the information of the readers, getting a licence here in Australia requires a series of processes:

L - Learner's Licence
You must secure this licence if you want to learn by passing an online test. L platers can not drive on their own. A Full Licence holder must be seated beside the L driver. Can drive up to 90kph only and is limited to 4 demerit points.

Red P - Provisional P1 Licence
Must hold the L licence for at least a year. A driver's logbook is required if 25 and under. Red P is like the first official licence because that is when you may start driving on your own. Like Ls, can drive up to 90kph only and is limited to 4 demerit points.

Green P - Provisional P2 Licence
Must hold the Red P for at least
You must hold the Green P licence by at least 2 years before getting the Full Licence and an exam is likewise required. Up to 100kph and 7 demerit points.

Full Licence
No indications needed in the plates. Can drive up to the max speed limit and up to 13 demerit points.
There's a whole lot of other information about how these licences differ but that's not what this post is about.

This is more about the story of how I finally learned how to drive and how I am a late bloomer about this thing. Growing up with a car my whole life, it's so ironic that I never had the interest to learn. Even now to be honest, I still prefer to be the passenger but out of necessity, I had to learn.

I got my L Licence back in December 2014, a month after we bought our car, but never really started to learn until August 2015. I had to pay a few hours session with a professional driving instructor in the beginning because my driving skill if assessed was zero. I don't even know how to turn the keys on. One might be wondering what ever happened to the lessons I had in the Philippines to which I don't have an answer either. I just completely forgot them because I was not able to use them anyway.

A few sessions through, I felt more and more reluctant to spend money. Thank God our friend from church who is a Full Licence holder offered to supervise me. Technically, he supervised me but in reality, it was my dear husband who was instructing me from the back seat. Most sessions ended up with a bad mood and broken spirit by the way hehehe.

A few more hours here and there, which was not much actually, because bro. Delfin is frequently unavailable too, I finally decided to book an exam. Seriously, I had no thoughts of passing it but my boss encouraged me to book one anyway. Nobody thought I would pass it. To everyone, including me, the exams were merely for experience, to give me the feels of the actual driving test so I could pass later on.

On the morning of 28th of January, after dropping the kids to school, my husband drove me to RTA. My scheduled exam wasn't until 10am and the 30 minute wait was quite agonizing. I tried all sorts of distraction to make myself relax but I was nervous the whole time.

Getting into the car, I tried to focus on the examiner's instructions as best I could. Lucky for me, the examiner who evaluated me was a cheerful and patient man. I remember repeating his instructions to myself haha. It wasn't a very smooth drive. Some of the scenarios that happened were ones I secretly prayed not to encounter:
  • My kerb parking was not very straight and paralleled 
  • I had to shift to the leftmost lane when I was at the rightmost part of a 3-lane road on a busy traffic too
  • I was at the front of the traffic where I was asked to turn right and the right arrow was off. I couldn't get past the oncoming traffic until the red lights appeared. I thought I had failed but turned out this was not one of my mistakes.
  • My 3 point turn became a 5 point turn because I was trying not to dry steer and am not very good at it
  • And the worst was when we returned to RTA, I had a hard time parking in between two cars it took me five maneuvers. 
When we got out of the car, my husband was eagerly waiting outside. I was just glad the exam was over but I shook my head to tell him I don't think I passed. In fact, my mind was already selecting a date to book the next test. Not very long after, the examiner called us to the counter to explain the score.

I was eager to know where I went wrong in preparation for my next exam supposedly. So when he said "Congratulations you passed the exams!" my husband was shocked and speechless and I was like "seriously?" It was dreamlike and hasn't sinked in to both of us as of yet.

Our faces as we received the unexpected good news...
Listening to him explain my mistakes was a lot easier afterwards. I knew most of them anyway and I will remember them because real life driving is way more serious and all about safety.

It was one of the happiest moments of my life! I couldn't keep a serious face while my photo was being taken. Thank God I don't have to undergo the struggles of an L plater again. The husband was more tender now hehe. It was one pressure off my list, I was able to enjoy the rest of the day off with the kids who were surprised to see me driving instead of daddy, and of course the bragging rights with my dear hubbie for mayble a couple of months more ;)

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