“There is a rainbow on my dashboard.” The woman thought it was strange because all the little icons on her dashboard suddenly lit up into an array of different colors. When she called her brother about this situation, he raced over to have her car towed away.
When I saw this post on Instagram, I couldn’t help but think how the driver’s license test was unhelpful in real life since it doesn’t teach people about the general information about cars or driving situations. Of course, it’s not hard to realize that something must have gone wrong if the dashboard icons turn into a mini rainbow, but what to do next? The current tests inform people how to drive within traffic laws, but it fails to teach about cars and how to keep them. Therefore, I believe that the current driver’s license exam should add essential car maintenance to the curriculum.
A little background information about the driver’s license exam. Students enroll in Driver’s License Test Center for roughly 800,000 won. The instructors teach the students and test them in three sections: Written Exam, Driving Course Exam, and On-Road Exam. By investing a few weeks, it’s really only a matter of time before you can get your hands on the wheel.
To improve the current exam, I suggest that the written exams should add more questions outside simple traffic laws. The existing exam quizzes are mostly about road signs and different traffic lanes. Although it is necessary to teach the traffic laws, the test should add more information in everyday car maintenance. For example, which agency should I call when I get an accident on a highway? How can I change a flat tire? What do I need to know if I don’t want to get ripped off by mechanics? (Another funny Instagram post: Although it wasn’t uploaded in Korea, a woman got ripped off by some car mechanics because they upgraded her tires for “premium air.”) The greatest strength of written exams is that they can quiz students about various situations. Therefore, writing exams should prepare the students for as many possibilities as possible, not just on how to drive.
Teaching students how to use the gas station should also be a part of the center’s curriculum. Even though the gas station is one of the most frequent places to visit with a car, students are not taught about how to use the facility. I think many people will be surprised by how beginning drivers often confuse diesel with gasoline or fail to understand why it is never too careful to doublecheck if the engine is off before filling up the tank. (For those who don’t know, diesel is for trucks while gasoline is for your average family car. Also, there is a chance that the vehicle and the gas station could explode if you keep the engine running while you fill the tank.) Besides, the tuition already includes the fee for the instructors to keep the cars. Instead of having the tutors do the work, introducing it as a part of the driver’s license curriculum would benefit both the students and driving instructors. Since the centers are usually close to gas stations to maintain cars, it wouldn’t be too difficult to add this extra-curricular to the already existing license program.
Understandably, some people would think that such improvements are unnecessary. Adding more questions would make writing exams more difficult to pass, and mandatory visits to the gas station would require a longer time before getting a permit. However, driving requires many responsibilities, as it can cost serious money or even lives at some point. I believe that changes in the driver’s license test curriculum would outweigh the costs and ultimately benefit traffic culture.