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CNET On Cars: Top 5: Differences between US and German licenses
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CNET On Cars: Top 5: Differences between US and German licenses

3:13 /

If you've ever been to Germany, you know it has a higher bar for getting a driver's license than in the US. Brian Cooley shares his top five observations.

yes, when Americans go to Germany they're in awe of the Autobahn, when Germans come to America, they're in awe too. In awe that we haven't killed each other with our lousy driving. I'm Brian Cooley with the top five reasons there's such a difference. The top five differences between U.S. and German drivers' licences. Number five: there's a first aid course. See, we're not talking about the U.S. where being prepared means knowing how to punch the numbers 911. You need to pass a real first aid course in Germany, 8 hours of it. That's like getting an M.D. in Somalia. Part of the course also teaches you how to secure the accident scene. In America we just call OnStar and start crying. Number 4, You Learn Theory. US driver training isn't training so much as muscle memory. German training gets into the essence of driving. There are at least 14 and possibly 20 or more hours of this theory training to get ready for a theoretical exam. And that consists of 30 multiple choice questions. But unlike here in the US, there can be multiple correct answers for each one. You need to nail them. Number 3, you really learn driving. You'll need a minimum of twelve 90 minute on the road training sessions, 4 of which have to be on the Autobahn and at speed and about 3 of those have to be at night. By the way, if you take your training in an automatic transmission you'll only be licensed to drive that. Driving a manual with that same license is considered driving without a licence. If you're instructor detects that you suck, you could be in for up to 20, or even 30 of those training sessions. In the U.S. that would qualify you to fly for Southwest. Number 2, it takes time and money, 3 to 6 months is what you need to allot to get your first drivers license in Germany. And that's not time just waiting to turn a certain age, it's real work. Unlike the US, you don't learn to drive by having your parents take you out to a parking lot for a couple of hours. You go to a Fahrschule, and it can easily cost you something in the region of 2,000 euros. This is real school. The number one reason a German licence means a little more then one in the US is that a test is a test. Three wrong answers on the German test, and you've failed. That's nearly twice as stringent as here in California. Fail three times? And you have to go back to that school. Viewer Oz Kay wrote in and told me. When my parents lived in Germany, they said if you failed the driver written exam three times, they sent you for a psych evaluation to see what's wrong with you. And questions like, what is the maximum speed you're allowed to drive a truck with a permissible total mass of 3 tons on a road with one marked lane for each direction outside built up areas. Will make you seriously consider getting a bus pass instead. You also have to open the hood during your drivers test and identify for the instructor the major visible components. Where you would check the oil? How would you top off the coolant? In America you could weld most people's hoods shut then wait a year or two and see if they've noticed. High tech cars and modern driving. That's all we do at CNETONCARS. COM. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC]

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