What are driving tests across the world like?

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Liftshare’s project executive Ian recently appeared in an article by RED Driving School about the top ten funniest reasons people fail their driving test. From driving on the wrong side of the road to using bad techniques from action movies (what?!), there are many howlers in there you have to see to believe.

On the theme of driving tests, team Liftshare thought it would take a closer look at how driving tests in the UK compare to those in other countries. From widely varying legal driving ages, to safety considerations, learning to drive abroad can be quite a different experience overseas. Here are some extreme examples.

Japan: the hardest place to pass in the world?

Japanese driving tests are held off-road but are still regarded as the hardest in the world, and only 35% of Americans who try to take the test there are likely to pass the practical exam. It’s also expensive too, as the average fee for English-speakers securing a license in Japan is around $3900, or  ¥400,000.

Auto Express says drivers taking the test must stay at 19mph throughout the whole session, and instant failure is common for failing to check for incoming traffic and other mistakes. In short, there are few second chances here and a high cost of entry. You can even fail for failing to check if there are animals of kids under your car before driving.

Australia: the most confusing driving rules on the planet?

Well, maybe not, but each of Australia’s six states have their own rules on driving, so it’s common to find a driver from one state getting caught out making errors when they travel cross-state. What’s true for your home state might not be when you cross border lines into another territory, so there’s potential here for upset.

However, the probation license process itself is said to be relatively simple, as people can commonly learn from 16 while logging all their time with an instructor. After a probation license has been held for two years without issue, drivers can take a test to upgrade to a full license. The high pass rate is said to result in a lot of accidents across all six states too.

Mexico: where you don’t even need to take a test

Mexico hands out driving licenses like sweeties. Once you hit 18 you can simply declare yourself able to drive then buy a license for less than £30. There is absolutely no test available or required, which is problematic considering Mexico City is such a crowded place, and where a heavy volume of traffic is common. You can imagine what this means for road accidents too.

India: the easiest test in the world?

Forget Japan, India’s test makes the process of driving seem like a cakewalk. Like Mexico, drivers don’t actually have to sit a test – anyone can declare themselves fit to drive and pay between 500-1000 rupees for an out of state license valid across the whole country.

But as Insure The Box reveals, if you choose to take the test, you’d find the process painfully simply. All you have to do is drive in a straight line, turn left and stop after 50 yards. That’s all. This may explain why, in 2010, India had the second-highest volume of road fatalities in the world.

South Africa: failing your test? Just pay a bribe

We imagine that trying to bribe your British driving instructor wouldn’t go down so well, but in South Africa this is common. In fact, News 24 reports that in Johannesburg, nearly three in five young license-holders claim to know people who have passed their test by bribing officials. It doesn’t help that South African roads are considered some of the most-dangerous in the world, but perhaps this explains why.

That said, the test itself does have several instant-failure conditions, such as rolling backwards when starting up or collisions. The largest issue with getting a license isn’t the test’s difficulty itself, rather, it’s said that simply finding and booking a free test slot is a huge hurdle because demand is so high. We imagine the queues at testing centres must be unbearable.

Brazil: where drivers are taught self-defense to combat car-jacking

Top Gear reveals that in Brazil, drivers are taught optional driving techniques to ward off car-jackers while reducing the risk of injury to others during evasive manoeuvres. These skills also help drivers avoid collisions, the mistakes of others, and more. Drivers can also learn first-aid as part of their course, should the worst happen.

Drivers must also pass a physical and psychological exam before training can begin, which include eye tests. Incredibly, even if you fail part of either exam you can still drive, but the nature of your license is restricted. So, you may only be able to drive under certain conditions to reduce your risk to others. Brazil does it very different to Britain, that much is clear.

Want more stories of crazy driving tests from around the world? Check out RED Driving Schools article. Have you got any weird or wonderful driving test stories? Share them with us below and don’t forget to sign up to Liftshare for free if you want to save big money on road travel.

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