Operation Brain Re-Train

I have now been to three French driving code classes at ECF, where as you may remember Everyone Can Fail! I almost had a heart attack the first time I had my examen blanc corrected by a peer, but I suspect that I am growing a thicker skin - you have to if you're French.  The teachers have no mercy! We are talking about a country that posts high school and university exam grades FOR ALL TO SEE! Copain almost had a coronary when he passed his DESCF (a big accounting/auditing test) at the end of his university career - he seriously went into a panic and almost couldn't take the exam.  This just attests to the horrible pressure to be perfect here - because if you aren't - EVERYONE WILL  KNOW (and probably make you feel extra bad about it).

For my first openly graded examen blanc, I got 27 out of 40 (and was the second to worst score in the class!).  Keep in mind that you need at least 35 to pass the test. Last night I had a horrible headache and couldn't deal with staying for the examen blanc.  So I just did my own practice test and corrected it myself - I got 28 out of 40.  Soooo I guess I'm making progress right?  In my defense some of the questions I missed were based on chapters that I hadn't read yet OR information that I really don't think is in the book. How am I supposed to know that cars turning into traffic off of non-public streets don't have the priorité à droite??!! There were no signs for them to yield, no markings to yield on the ground and when there are neither of things things, the rule in France is PRIORITE A DROITE! On which page of my CODE book was that non-public street rule communicated - I would really like to know!

I have almost finished reading my Code book and doing the practice questions in it as well - which I think is pretty good considering that I only got it on Monday and today is Friday (there are 220 pages!).  I have only one chapter to go which I can hopefully finish today at lunch time.  I have actually enjoyed learning all of these rules and understanding the signs that have been a complete mystery to me for my five years in France.  I feel like my whole world has become a bit clearer - so enlightening! Who knew?! I have also come to discover another part of the French that I find completely hilarious. It really sort of adds to my love of this ridiculous country.  Please consider the following ways that the French express their driving Code to avid learners:

1.  They say that you must maintain an allure souple, in other words, a "flexible allure or flexible driving speed." You must drive smoothly - but allure?! It's almost like driving has now become a form of seduction - my allure is oh la la - so souple.

2. They like to be confusing...what is the difference between this sign:

and this sign:

Well, it's not very apparent now is it? Ok, one is circular and one is square, one has a fatter arrow than the other. But they both have arrows pointing straight and they are both blue! But to the French, this is trés facile. The first one is an obligation to go straight at the next intersection. The second means that you are on a one-way street. Who knew?!

3. Again, let's try another confusing sign...this one I especially like because it is really so French.

Sign A

Sign B

Sign A means that you cannot park on the side of the road with odd numbered buildings from the 1st to the 15th of the month starting from the sign and until the next intersection! And Sign B means that you are now entering a zone where these same rules apply but ALSO you cannot park on the side of the road with even-numbered buildings from the 16th to the 31st. Is this not the most confusing dose of bull-hickey you've every encountered?

After having driven in the US for over 11 years now, re-learning all new rules is more confusing than if I was learning them at 16 - with no prior driving experience. Or at least, some of it is more confusing. I have to re-train my brain and my driving instincts to constantly be looking to my right, evaluating the signs, remembering the speed limits - oh and ps: if you are a jeune conducteur you are required to drive 10 km/h below the speed limit for normal drivers - for three years I think! (I need to verify the three year business, but I'm pretty sure I'm right). And I will have to remember all of this while shifting gears...oy vey!

I'll be at LA CODE again tonight - fingers crossed for good ol' 29!

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1 comment:

  1. exactly why tourists should use public transportation!


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