From all accounts on the world wide web, passing the driver’s test the first time doesn’t seem to happen all that often. “Driving Schools” are a HUGE business in Japan -around $3,000/person. (Of course, you wouldn’t know that there were such high standards for getting a driver’s license because the general population of this island doesn’t drive any better than the US). We didn’t go to the driving school, but we did spend an hour at the Gero Driving School driving around on a course “similar to the one in Gifu”.
Takeaways from the Gero Driving School:
- Drive slow on the inside of the course, but not too slow on the outside.
- Pump the breaks (3x) prior to reaching a turn. (?!)
- Exaggerate your mirror check/blind spot checks.
- Don’t hit things. You immediately fail.
- It’s OK to drive with your blinker on if you are going to turn in the next 3 minutes.
- If the test administrator has to use the emergency break you fail.
- There is a specific order for moving the seat, locking the door, adjusting the mirrors, and putting on the seatbelt… but I can’t remember the order…hmm.
Q: “What happens if you miss/forget a turn during the exam?”
A: “Nothing. Loop back around and try again. It only gives you more opportunities to fail”
If you are interested, check out the Japanese road signs. Word on the street is that the not-as-populated prefectures are more lenient, so I guess that’s another plus for living in GP.