These days I’m studying to get a Spanish driver’s license. I drove for years in the United States, so I’m not worried about the behind-the-wheel test — but the written theory exam is killing me. Of the 15,500 possible questions, I will be asked 30, and I must get 27 correct to pass. And they’re hard questions, so I’m spending my free time taking practice exams. Here are some examples:
1) A motorcycle driver on a urban road must maintain a distance with vehicles at his or her side...
A. of at least a meter and a half.
B. proportional to the speed, width and characteristics of the pavement.
C. of at least one meter.
2) Is a motorcycle an automobile?
A. No, because all automobiles have four wheels.
B. Yes, because all vehicles that have motors are automobiles.
C. Yes, because it is a motorized vehicle that serves to transport people.
3) Pedestrians who use roller skates or skateboards...
A. must circulate on the pavement when they move faster than a human walking speed.
B. always circulate on the right shoulder.
C. are permitted to circulate on residential streets.
4) In sections of roads too narrow for two vehicles to pass, the vehicle with the right-of-way is the one that...
A. has greater difficulty in maneuvering.
B. is headed downhill.
C. enters the narrow section first.
5) In the absence of other signals, a green light in the shape of an arrow pointing down over a lane of traffic...
A. obliges the driver to remain in the lane over which the light is lit.
B. does not exempt the driver from the obligation to fulfill the general regulations about the priority of passage.
C. awards preference over all other vehicles.
6) In case of contradiction between street signs and traffic regulations...
A. the regulations prevail.
B. the most restrictive rule should be followed.
C. the sign should be obeyed.
7) When teams of animals, animals bearing loads, or livestock have to circulate on a road, they must do so...
A. on the right shoulder, and if there is no shoulder, on the right side of the pavement.
B. always off the pavement and the shoulder.
C. on the right side of the road as a requirement.
2) C. This question involves specialized vocabulary, and I have to know it. What we would call an “automobile” in English (for example, a Honda Accord) is a “turismo” in Spanish.
3) C. “Residential streets” are a special class of streets. I need to know the classes of streets, too.
4) C. In the event of a tie, a 12-point list of rules determines who goes first. I need to memorize that list.
7) A. And here I thought I was learning to drive a car, not cattle.
— Sue Burke