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Monday, December 04, 2006

The Qatar Driving Test

One woman's personal experience

By Asian Lady in Qatar.

I arrived at Al Rayyan Driving School at the official test time. The police arrived half an hour later and opened the test building. We handed in the receipts from when we paid for the test. We were given files, and the police started calling women for the theory test.

Theory test There were two separate lockets. A policeman called “Asian English” and pointed towards one of the lockets. We were separated from the examiner by a screen. The examiner held up pictures and asked us to identify them. I was asked what three different lines were for (the give way line, the parking line and the pedestrian line) and the meaning of five different signs. I nearly failed on the lines as I didn’t know we had to learn them.(Of course, I knew their function, but I didn’t know what their official name.) Also, the policeman used different names from what had been written on the test guide, and didn’t understand the official names. For example, the policeman didn’t understand “Turning backward prohibited” (which I had memorised) and would only accept “No Return”. Again, instead of slippery carriageway we had to say “road slippery”.

After passing the test, the policeman signed our file.

Hill test – I was given a car. I had to drive a car alone (a policeman watched from outside the car) and I had to drive the car slowly up a small hill, then reverse it backwards again. If you stall the car, go too fast or let the car slip back you fail the test. After passing, the policeman signed my form and I continued on to the next stage of the test.

Pocket Parking You have to reverse into a small box without touching anything. The car must fit in exactly, and although you can do it as slowly as you want, you can only get one attempt and you are only allowed to reverse, not move forward.

I wasn’t told whether I had passed this section or not, just asked to wait for fifteen minutes. My file was taken from me. After fifteen minutes we were called one by one to the waiting buses – those who had failed were not called.

Road test There were three buses and three cars. Some of us were put in the buses. In each car there was a policeman, a female assistant who carried the file, and two students. One of the students drove the car, and each car had a bus following it.

The road test takes about five minutes. Throughout the test, the engine is not allowed to stall. If you make a mistake such as forgetting to signal, you fail. When the policeman says “Halas” (finish), you stop the car, park, and the student from behind you takes your place, and another student from the bus gets in the back seat. Of the thirty or so students, half failed.

Licence I wasn’t told immediately if I had passed or failed. I returned to the main building where the theory test was held, and waited until my name was called out. I paid a hundred and fifty riyals and was given my driving licence.

Now all I have to do is persuade my husband to buy me a car!

See also:

Driving in Qatar: Practical information

Driving - Qatar style

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