Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Chinese Driving Test (part one)

By Kevin

From nit-picky traffic laws and hard-to-discern hand signals to knowing the details of how a car's engine works and figuring out what to do in just about any imaginable emergency situations, getting your driver's license in China requires knowledge of a little bit of everything.

Consider this question from the bank of more than 1300 questions a Chinese driver needs to memorize – or guess correctly about – in order to get a driver’s license. A score of 90 out of 100 is necessary to pass. Thankfully foreigners can take the exam in English, however the translations aren't always clear.
    True or False? When the driver senses he will inevitably be thrown out of the vehicle, he should violently straighten both his legs to increase the force of being thrown out and jump out of the vehicle. 
Answer: True.
I'm a bit curious why translators used the word “when” in this one. Wouldn't “if” have worked just as well to explain the potential situation? Even worse, now I wonder what constitutes knowing that you'll “inevitably be thrown from the vehicle?” I missed that driver's training lesson back in California, but apparently it could come in handy.

Apparently, if – or I should say “when?” – you roll your car, it's often not a matter of if you should jump out, but how you'll do it:
    When a vehicle overturns slowly and jumping out of the vehicle is possible, the driver should jump ______.
A. In the driving direction
B. In the overturning direction
C. In the opposite direction of the overturn
D. To the overturning side
    Answer: C
In other situations, jumping clearly is not the way to go:
    The wrong measure when a vehicle suddenly overturns sideways is to _______.
A. Tightly hold the steering wheel with both hands
B. Hook the pedals with both feet
C. Press his back against the seat
D. Open the door and jump
     Answer: D
So now I'm not sure what to do if my car rolls. If it rolls sideways, apparently I shouldn't open the door and jump, but if it “overturns slowly” (end over end perhaps?), I should jump the opposite direction of the overturn. Strange.
    True or False? When a side collision occurs to the side of the driver’s seat, the driver should manage to jump out of the vehicle.
    Answer: False.
I suppose it makes sense that you wouldn't want to jump out so the incoming car hits you directly rather than letting the car absorb the blow, but is there anyone in their right mind who would actually consider jumping out in this situation?

I think I'll be in trouble if the following scenario occurs: 

    When a vehicle rolls continuously to a deep ditch, the driver should swiftly hide his body to the lower space in front of his seat, hold ______ to stabilize his body so that his body will not roll and get hurt.
A. The pedal
B. The steering column
C. The steering wheel
D. The gear lever
Answer: B.
Since around age 10, I don't think I've even sat in a car in which I could fit into the space in front of the passenger seat, let alone been able to crawl down into the space under the steering wheel in an American car. Just sitting in the front passenger seat of a Chinese car without my knees rubbing against the dashboard is often tricky enough.

Here's another:
     After a vehicle falls into water, the wrong method for the driver to rescue himself is to ________.
A. Close the window to prevent water from flowing into the vehicle
B. Immediately use hand to open the door
C. Let the water to fill up the driver’s cab so that the water pressure both inside and outside is equal
D. Use a large plastic bag to cover the head and tight the neck closely   
Answer: B
Apparently it won't work, but I'd probably make the mistake of taking a moment to try to open the door with my hand before putting a plastic bag over my head to make an air pocket. I guess if there are kids in the car, you'll also have to tell them to close their eyes so they don't think you're going back on all those restrictions against playing with plastic bags.

    True or False? Before the driver escapes from a fire disaster, he should turn off the ignition switch, cut off the power switch and the blind, and manage to turn off the fuel tank switch.
 Answer: True.
Sounds good, but where exactly is the fuel tank switch and what is “the blind?”
Additionally, the exam requires that you know about what every part of the engine does, even though the average Chinese person probably has no desire to do any mechanical repairs of their own.
    The pressure indicated by the engine oil pressure meter represents the engine oil pressure of the __________ of the engine.

A. Main oil route
B. Crankshaft box
C. Fuel inlet pipe of the engine oil pump
D. Engine oil pump   
Answer: A.
Not sure if I would have guessed correctly on that one, but does it really affect my ability to drive in any way whatsoever? If the oil light comes on, I know it's a serious enough problem that I shouldn't be the one trying to fix it.

How about this one?
    The accelerator pedal designed to control ____ of the engine or oil pump plunger is used to control the rotation speed of the engine.
A. The accelerator
B. The air throttle
C. The clutch
D. The fuel injector
Answer: B.
I guess I need to learn more about what everything in the engine does exactly if I want to drive. I guess when you hit the gas, you don't actually control “the gas” at all.

Then, there are questions that are just difficult to decipher:
    True or False? When a bus encounters an avoidable walking across the expressway, the driver should apply emergency braking or hit the guardrail to stop.
 Answer: False
Not exactly sure what an “avoidable” is or why the average driver needs to know what a bus driver would do in this situation, but it's clear from the answer that you want to avoid it by some means other than emergency braking or crashing into the guardrail.

Since livestock are a bigger part of everyday life for many even in Chinese cities than in the States, I suppose this question is relevant:
    When encountering a flock of sheep crossing a road, the driver should _______.
A. Honk continuously to drive away the flock
B. Speed up and bypass the flock
C. Drive slowly and use the vehicle to scare away the flock
D. Reduce speed and go slowly, or stop to yield when necessary
Answer: D
Additionally, every licensed driver must be an expert in knowing how to apply emergency first-aid. I suppose one of the reasons for this is that the likelihood of an ambulance responding quickly seems pretty low, so you may need to take matters into your own hands.

    The wrong measure to rescue a person sustaining burns all over his body is to _________.
    A. Use sandy soil to cover    B. Swiftly put out the flames of his clothes    C. Spray cool water to his body    D. Take off his burning clothes
    Answer: A.
I'm not sure I would have even considered throwing sand on someone who was burning. I guess stop, drop and roll isn't an option here.

    The article that cannot be used to stop bleeding by dressing is _________.
A. Bondage
B. Sling
C. Tourniquet
D. Hemp rope   
 Answer: D
I'm guessing they mean “bandage” with A. I'll leave it at that.
    When there many wounded persons, those who should be sent to hospital last are the persons _______.
A. Suffering cervical vertebra damage
B. Suffering massive hemorrhage
C. Suffering breathing difficulty
D. Whose intestines and veins are exposed    
Answer: A
I guess it's good to think about these things in advance. If you need to prioritize, spinal damage can wait longer than hemorrhage, shortness of breath and exposed intestines clearly can't. However, if you were involved in this accident, I'm not sure exactly how you're going to be well enough to help the others.

Then there are questions about signage. Generally, this seems like a good idea, but one reason I failed my exam the first time because I wasn't quite sure how to answer the following two questions:

    The sign in the picture is ______.
        A. A warning sign
        B. A prohibitive sign
        C. An indicative sign
        D. A directional sign
 Answer: C
Does it really matter what type of sign it is if I know what it means?

Then there are a few answers that just appear to be incorrect. Consider the answers to the next two questions. Clearly the answers can't both be correct, unless the key is that the first question is missing the word “within.”


True or False? The sign in the picture is designed to indicate the section 200m ahead specified in the main sign. 
    Answer: False

    True or False? The sign in the picture is designed to indicate the section within 100m on the left side specified in the main sign. 
    Answer: True
Anyone who has spent any time in China notices that at intersections, people often turn left in front of oncoming cars. Vehicles turning left generally don't have the right-of-way, but they drive like they do.
    At an intersection that has no directional traffic lights, _________________.
A. The motorized vehicle that will turn should yield to the vehicle that will go straight
B. The motorized vehicle that will go straight should yield to the vehicle that will turn
C. The motorized vehicle in the opposite direction that will turn left should yield to the vehicle that will turn right
D. The vehicles should bypass from the left or right side and go through the intersection    
Answer: A
I'm not sure if the answer to the following question is correct or not. I would have gone with answer B, but maybe somehow intersections without traffic lights get special treatment.
    When the motorized vehicles go through an intersection that has neither traffic lights nor traffic police to direct traffic, the vehicles coming in the opposite directions ___________.
A. The vehicle that goes straight should yield to the vehicle that turns left
B. The vehicle that turns left should yield to the vehicle that goes straight
C. The vehicle that turns right should yield to the vehicle that turns left
D. The vehicles may go through as they wish
Answer: C
And finally, there are questions involving the hand-signals of traffic cops, who are almost always attractive young women.

    The hand signal of the traffic police in the picture is ________.
A. A signal for waiting to turn left
B. A signal for turning left
C. An auxiliary signal for turning left sharply
D. A signal for turning left sharply
Answer: A

    The hand signal of the traffic police in the picture is ______.
A. A signal for pulling over
B. A signal for slowing down
C. An auxiliary signal for stopping
D. A signal for turning right
Answer: D
Most of the differences in hand signals seem to be small. It seems that the direction in which the officer is looking is just as important as the hand signals she is making.

As you can see, the Chinese driving test is a bit on the tricky side. It follows the general Chinese testing method of trying to trick the test-taker with nit-picky questions that often aren't particularly important. Then again, with the number of Chinese people in a rush to get behind the wheel, perhaps making the test difficult isn't a bad thing.


Anna said...

And I thought I had a more difficult driving test when Georgia went through it's phase of suddenly trying to make their test more difficult. Sheesh. Um, good luck? I suppose guessing all the way through isn't an option. That's probably what I would be doing.

Candy said...

That was hilarious, Kevin. At least, reading about it is. I don't think I could pass the test.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that if you ever drive I hope the car has seat belts and that they fit you and you all wear them. Most of ask for safe travels
before you go out.

Pat said...

I can hardly wait to read part 2. What a strange test. I could never pass it.

Ken Walter said...

Note to self ~ When in China, take the bus.

Anonymous said...

Use this free webapp to prepare for your test: