The greatest luxury of my life in Beijing, and our greatest expense, is our car and driver. Our driver’s name is Tony and, as anyone who has come for a visit can testify, he is a God. Unfailingly good-natured he shepherds us all over the city. He leans on his horn incessantly; drives John mad, I don’t even hear it. He winds his way though back alleys or along the shoulder to avoid traffic. He always manages to find a parking spot just where we will see him as we exit a restaurant or market. He drives safely and without ego, which is extremely rare in China.
He keeps our Buick mini van spotless, yet never gets angry when Chowder jumps in with muddy feet. In Beijing you never wash a car; instead it gets swept with a big feather duster.
He is incredibly flexible with his time, making himself available on holidays, late at night and at the crack of dawn. However, he does get two days off a week… one of which is our restriction day. All cars in Beijing are not allowed to drive one day a week depending on the last number of your license plate. Ours ends with 9, and this quarter we are not allowed to drive on Tuesdays. When Tony has a day off we are dependent on taxis. They are very cheap, but can be hard to find and terrifying to drive with.
On taxi days, John starts muttering about getting his Chinese driver’s license. This is a terrifying prospect on so many levels. Luckily for my family’s survival, getting a license is not that easy. As a foreigner you must present translated copies of your passport, visa (with at least 90 days left on it), residents registration and a valid license from your home country. You then have to complete a medical test and get a certificate of good health. Lastly, you need to pass the dreaded written test. 100 questions. You must get 90% or better. For someone who has been driving over 30 years you’d expect this to be fairly straight forward…think again!
What follows are 10 questions taken from the exam booklet as they translate them, (answers at the bottom)… let me know how you do!
1.After a vehicle falls into the water, the wrong method for the driver is to rescue himself is to ___.
A. Close the window to prevent water from flowing into the vehicle
B. Immediately use hand to open the door
C. Let the water to fill up the driver’s cab so that the water pressure both inside and outside is equal
D. Use a large plastic bag to cover the head and neck closely.
2.When a vehicle overturns slowly and jumping out of the vehicle is possible, the driver should jump __.
A. In the driving directions
B. In the overturning direction
C. In the opposite direction of the overturn
D. To the overturning side
3.When a running vehicle suddenly falls into water, the driver should _______ to escape.
A. Immediately open the door and jump out of the vehicle
B. Open the door and swim out after the vehicle stabilizes in water
C. Use feet to smash the window and swim out after the vehicle stabilizes in the water
D. Close the window and make telephone calls for help
4. When a vehicle rolls continuously to a deep ditch, the driver should swiftly hide his body to the lower space in front of his seat, hold _______ to stabilize his body so that his body will not roll and get hurt.
A. The pedal
B. The steering column
C. The steering wheel
D. The gear lever
5. The article that cannot be used to stop bleeding by dressing is:
D. Hemp rope
6. When causing a road accident involving only slight property damage and the basic fact is clear, the parties to the accident:
A. Should not leave the scene
B. Should report to the police immediately
C. Should first leave the scene and then discuss how to solve the problem
D. Should park the vehicles in the original place and discuss compensation
7. A motorized vehicle that encounters a traffic jam at the intersection in front should:
A. Stop outside the intersection and wait, instead of entering the intersection
B. Bypass from the left side and manage to go through the intersection
C. Bypass from the right side and manage to go through the intersection
D. Make a U-turn immediately and leave in the opposite direction
8. The main feature of pedestrians participating in road traffic is
A. They move slowly
B. They like to get together and look on
C. They are not stable
D. They walk around at will and can easily change directions
9. When another driver asks directions while driving, the driver should:
A. Ignore it
B. Answer with patience
C. Find an excuse to reject
D. Answer for a pay
10. When overtaking, the driver should _______ if the vehicle in front refuses to reduce speed or yield.
A. Continuously honk and speed up to overtake
B. Speed up and continue to overtake
C. Stop overtaking
D. Follow closely and find chance to overtake again