Thursday, October 28, 2010
Utah DMV Experience
I had to get a drivers license. Since moving to Utah I've needed to trade in my Maryland license for a Utah one, but just hadn't done it yet. But now I needed one urgently because when I was in Europe on my honeymoon I lost my wallet, with my drivers license. So I have been without a license since we've returned, carrying my passport around so I have a form of ID. Now I have to send my passport to Washington to get a visa, leaving me with no ID, unless I get a new license.
Last night we researched the process on line. I was horrified to learn that I would have to take a written test. A test? I haven't had to take a driver's test since I first got my license at 16! I was also fearful they would make me take a new driving test since I no longer have any driver's license. So, I pulled up the Utah Driver's Handbook - 60+ pages of fun! I read through the whole thing, while watching bad tv, wondering what the heck would be on the test.
Did you know that most traffic accidents in Utah happen between 2 and 6 pm? (This one was on the test and I knew it from studying) Did you know that you may not have a Utah license if you are unable to understand highway signs in the English language? (also on the test). Do you know what the colors and shapes of signs mean? Sigh...
So, we pull into a DMV office in Orem around 10:15 this morning. We walk in and there is only one person in line ahead of us at information. (yay!) A few minutes at information and my photo is done and they give me a number. As soon as I get the number, my number is called. (yay!) Oh memories of sitting for a very, very long time in crowded, scary DMV offices in Virginia and Maryland with really nasty DMV employees...I recall one time in a particular Maryland DMV really worrying that someone could pull out a gun and have a throw down....
Anyway, a few minutes later everything is done, I pay $25 (is it that cheap back east?), and I am sent to a computer to take my test. No driving test (yay!). I am nervous I am going to fail the written drivers test. How embarrassing would it be to fail the written drivers test? However, it is OPEN BOOK! (yay!) How can you fail?? 25 questions and you have the book to find all the answers. And I swear, for like the first 7 questions I was convinced that the cursor was sitting on the correct answer. Each time I hit enter to the next question, the cursor would be there floating over the next correct answer. Finally I realized it was just a coincidence. Anyway, I knew a lot of it and I was able to find or confirm my answers in the book, except for one. The question was something like - if you are on military duty with a Utah license posted out of state, your license is valid up to 90 days after discharge from service - true or false? WTF?? Securing a Utah drivers license is dependent on knowing this? Seriously? I couldn't find it in the book, but I guessed. I can't even remember what I said, but it was the right answer. I am happy to say that I got 22 out of 25 correct and I passed. The questions I got wrong were dumb.
In spite of making fun of the questions they ask on the test, two giant thumbs up for the Utah DMV. What a beautiful, pain free, fast process compared to my life experience of DMVs in the DC area.
Reason # 78 why I love Utah.