Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden

driving on the right side of the road

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I’m currently reading the books that contain the information necessary to get a driver’s license in Sweden. I need a Swedish license to legally drive in this country. I have needed it since September 8th of 2011. . .

Driver's books

Don’t take my delay in attaining a license to drive as procrastination, because honestly it is something I want to do. Need to do even. And am motivated to do. I was not motivated, however, to pay for it.

I am astonished at how expensive it is to get a driver’s license in Sweden!!

I’m not sure if I find the Swedish fees for attaining a driver’s license obscene because when I was 16 I did not actually pay for my driver’s education and/or licence getting in any way. But hear me out.

First there’s two classes you have to take. Mandatory classes, not like driver’s ed. They’re called Risk 1 and Risk 2. I actually took Risk 2 first. Luckily that was allowed. Risk 2 starts with a classroom discussion on safe driving. You learn how much you weigh going at different speeds.

This is how much I weigh going 50 km/h

This is how much I weigh going 50 km/h

Then you get into a car rigged up on a machine and do a 360. An upside down 360. It went very slowly, and is not at all what it feels like in real life. (Yes, I do know what it feels like in real life.) It was more like a child’s roller coaster ride. It does however demonstrate that seatbelts will keep you in your place if the car were to roll over. The next stage was to drive on a specially designed course. It was made slippery with oil and water, and the purpose was to learn what it feels like driving when it’s icy/rainy/hailing etc. It’s essentially a slip’n’slide for cars. I got to drive around the course breaking heavily on both normal gravel and the man-made slippery surface. It was a lot of fun. After a few laps the instructor brought out a moose. Not a real moose. A moose made of hanging rubber tubes attached to a pole. Then I got to break on the slippery surface and avoid a moose. Honestly, I spun the car around a few times. But in the end, on the last lap, I made it successfully around the moose. It was actually a lot of fun, and with my successful avoidance of the moose I feel I’m clearly good enough to drive in Sweden.

Clockwise from top left, where I drove Risk 2, my ride (notice the epic front bumper), everyone's ride, our instructor adding water to the slip'n'slide

Clockwise from top left, where I drove Risk 2, my ride (notice the epic front bumper), our instructor adding water to the slip’n’slide, everyone’s rides

Risk 1 is purely lecture. I got to sit for 3 hours and discuss with 18-year-old Swedish kids what I thought of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and lack of sleep. My thoughts are that it’s a bad idea. We watched somewhat terrifying videos of car accidents. Learned some relevant statistics about driving under the influence, as well as the fact that you should buy as new a car as economically possible (as these are the safest cars on the road). One might hope it was mostly a common sense course; however, it really wasn’t.

I feel as though I’m well on my way to getting my Swedish license. Just have to pay the final fee. (After the Risk 1 fee, Risk 2 fee, Swedish identification card fee, and test fee.) I better get this thing on the first try. I’ve had enough with these fees.



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