Licence to … Drive

I’ve got my UK driver’s licence! Oh yeah!

Driver’s Licence

No, it’s not what you think – I didn’t take a road test. Actually I still have yet to attempt to drive in the UK at all. Through the miracle of international treaties, I can drive in the UK without ever setting foot in a right-hand drive car. It’s like diplomatic immunity but … well … nothing like diplomatic immunity.

Consider this list of countries:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Zimbabwe

What do these have in common? Well nothing, except that the UK allows people with driver’s licences from this haphazard list of countries to “trade in” for a UK licence. My Canadian licence was due to expire next month so I figured I might as well do the swap. By the way, I notice a disproportionate number of “island countries” in this list. I think there’s a pro-island bias in the UK.

But it’s not all roses and kitten tails. I cheerfully ordered the relevant forms but when they arrived I found their dirty little racist secret:

Automatic Only Licence for Canadians

What?! So you’re telling me I go take a driver’s test in Zimbabwe and I’m a-okay to putter around in a manual transmission but a Canadian can’t hack it? Are they saying that the drivers of Barbados are more capable than I, a noble graduate of Ontario Truck Driving School (car lessons)? I feel so singled out, betrayed. I bet if I were born on an Island they wouldn’t have any issues with me. At least they printed it on 100% recycled paper.

But then I realized I’m kinda crap at driving a manual transmission anyway and they’re probably right: most Canadians can’t drive a manual transmission car worth shit.

Ah well. I traded in a licence that expires in 2007 for one that expires in 2017. Shazam! Maybe I’ll try taking a driving test in Zimbabwe next time I’m there.

3 thoughts on “Licence to … Drive”

  1. Hah! I’d be like one of those painful Amazing Race episodes where the locals are swearing at the bickering couple who hopeless stall the car twenty seven times while doing a three-point turn.

  2. P.S. You don’t have to pose for the photo showing how you’ll feel when the cops catch you taking the right side of the road after a round-about.

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