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Saturday, July 06, 2013

French Driver's license

I want to be able to drive in France, and unfortunately, this means that after one year, I am supposed to pass through the entire driver's license process as if I were French, starting from scratch.
Those with licenses from certain US states can indeed transfer their license:
From here

États-Unis d'Amérique (échange limité à certains États : Arkansas (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Caroline du Sud, Colorado (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Connecticut (échange limité aux permis de catégories A et B), Delaware (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Floride (échange limité aux permis de catégories A et B), Illinois, Iowa (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Pennsylvanie (échange limité aux permis de catégories A et B), Texas (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Virginie (échange limité aux permis de catégorie B), Wisconsin 

I have a New York driver's license, so I am not eligible.  Ok, so I have to first pass the code de la route (see here).  To do this, I have to join an ecole de conduit.  I joined this one called CERI in Grenoble.  I paid them around 1300€, and now I have to learn the material.  I spent around 40 hours in their website so far, and I went through all the material.  Now I have to pass the timed test.  There are 40 questions, and after the question is read, one has 15 seconds to answer each question.  Each question has 4 possible answers, and anywhere from 1 to 4 of them can be correct.  So, it is multiple choice, but more difficult than the standard meaning of this term in the US.

Ok, for the material, there are 11 different categories of topics to learn:

Signalisation  (signs and indications)
Arrèts et stationnements  (stopping and parking)
Priorités et intersections  (Priorities and intersections)
Croisements et dépassements  (Crossings and passing)
Règles de circulation  (rules of circulation)
Tunnels et passages à niveau  (tunnels and rail road crossing)
Visibilité, éclairage et avertissements  (visibility, lighting and signalling)
Divers: Véhicule et réglementation   (taking care of your vehicle)
Écomobilité et éco-conduite   (driving in an ecologically friendly way)
Usagers vulnérables et partage de la route   (vulnerable people and sharing the road)
Prise de conscience des risques   (considering risks)

In addition to the language difficulty of the test and material itself, there is also the difficulty of understanding the procedures.  When do I go to the school?  What are its hours?
I understand my next step after completing the web material is to take a practice test at the school and do well enough.  After this, I can schedule a test.  Where is this?  How do I get there?  I think it is in Meylan, which is not so close.  Also, I find the school to be sometimes "exceptionally closed".  I take an afternoon off work.  I walk all the way over there, and then they are closed.  I expect to encounter several more unknown issues like this in the whole process.   I could get angry about this, but by this point, I try to just factor that into the time required to do all of this.  I expect it to take maybe two times as long as I would have thought due to my misunderstandings of procedures, opening hours and other such things.

The last time I tried the practice test, I missed 10.  I need to miss less than 5.
So, I'm getting there.... 5 more study hours before I can do well enough? 
Then comes the understanding of how to do the driver's training.  (I've already driven in France for almost 3 years, with no accidents)

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