Driver’s Licenses are Expensive

Driver’s Licenses are Expensive

Maybe it’s because there are much higher standards of safety here.  Or maybe it’s because it isn’t that hard to survive here without a car.  I never drive anymore.  The Verlobter has a car, but he needs it for work, so I make do with a bike and public transport.

I do have a German license, though.  I’m lucky that I come from Missouri (how many people have said that ever?).  Because I had a Missouri Driver’s License, I only needed to take the German theory test, which was available in English.  I was able to skip the most expensive part – driving school.  Like many Americans, I’ve never had formal driving lessons, so maybe it isn’t good that I got to skip them.

Starting from scratch, a German driver’s license can cost you around $2,500 – $3,000.  I got away with around $150.  This is more than I’ve paid in America for three learner’s permits, an adult license, a duplicate license, and a renewal.

The German test is a bit crazy as well.  Each question can have multiple right answers and you have to select all of them.  You have to analyze videos and pictures.  There is a complex point system and you have to score about 90%.

Do not enhance!
Image by me

I passed it on my first try.  😀  Which is good, because it costs 90€ a pop to take the stupid thing.

There is just one little problem, though.  Because I only had to take the theory test, I was able to slide through without learning to drive a stick.

If you aren’t familiar with driving in the USA, most people drive exclusively automatics.  In fact, I know more than one person who has a car with manual transmission because other people cannot drive it and it keeps people from trying to borrow it.  It also makes it harder to steal, no joke.

That doesn’t really work here, though.  Automatics are not commonly driven here and there is no way I’d be able to convince the Verlobter to coddle me and switch to one.   He’s tried to teach me (video evidence below), but I’ve been quite successful at avoiding driving altogether.  I suppose I’ll eventually have to learn, but today is not that day.

6 thoughts on “Driver’s Licenses are Expensive

  1. Here in Spain we have manual transmission cars as well, and the cost of the license is from 200 to 500 euros (or even more if you’re clumsy). We are allowed to take the exams at 18 and it’s forbidden for us to drive around until then, thus we are expected to learn in driving schools only, although most of the people teach their kids beforehand so as to spend less at the driving school. It’s a crap system. I like the US system better. We are not a “nanny state” in other stuff, but I think we are in this respect (and still most people are horrible drivers!).

  2. Tell me about it. My New York license wasn’t swappable, and to boot, while I was studying for the test, it expired. That means I had to do the WHOLE THING from scratch! At the driving school I used—Christine Timmer in Schwabing, highly recommended—the theory classes had quite a few others in the same boat as me. We were, alas, rowdy and rather cynical students. And I burst out laughing when my instructor greeted me one morning with “I’m excited…today, we’re going to do roundabouts!”

    1. That sounds awful. Also, I completely despise roundabouts – they’re almost non-existent where I’m from, at least outside of parks where you’re driving 15 mph anyway.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: