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Old 12.08.2021, 14:11
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Sharing my experience on driving license conversion exam Cossonay, VD

I have just finished my driving license exam at Centre TCS Cossonay yesterday (11.08.2021) and it was a success

So, I want to share my experience on that a bit and I hope it might be useful to someone attempting the exam.

I have had a Thai driving license since 2018 and I came to Switzerland in Aug 2020. I have been driving occasionally in CH eg. going on a road trip, go skiing, etc. I decided that I still want to drive in Switzerland and I need to apply for the license conversion. I submitted the document to SAN in Lausanne in mid-June and got the temporary permit to drive.

I searched for a driving school around my area (Renens, VD) and ended up with one with an English-speaking instructor and a lot of good reviews on Google. After one lesson with the instructor, he determined that I can drive and know the common rules, but there are some point that I needed to fix: lane positioning, blind spot checking, hesitation, speed adaptation, etc.

I took 7 courses with him in total before the driving test. Once every other week. I also drive on my own (Mobility) every week that I wasn't with the instructor. I took one course a day, two days prior to the exam. Until my instructor is confident enough that I should pass the exam.

During the courses, we went to a lot of small-town around Cossonay: Mex, Penthaz, Penthalaz, Allens, Gollion, etc. All the "typical" routes for the exam. I am quite confident on the road around the area. However, we only go on the street that is wide enough to fit two-vehicle going in the opposite direction.

The on the day of the test, my test is scheduled for 07.15 in the morning. (It's the only available time of every day for course de controle). I meet my instructor at the driving school at 06.15. To be honest, I was very very nervous and it is very early morning. The sun hasn't even come up yet and I can feel the chill in my bone. I tried to calm down by humming a song, drinking some water, etc. and I drive to the TCS Centre with the instructor.

After driving for a while, I got used to driving and become more focused as the sun come up. The instructor warm me up a bit more before arriving at the test center by taking me to the nearby town.

Then, it's time for the driving test. The examiner come out and called my name. My instructor and I greeted him. My instructor explained that I don't really speak French. The examiner understood and will only give simple instruction just like when I practice with the instructor. The examiner and I got in the car and off we go. At this point, I don't really feel nervous anymore but feel relieved as no matter what the outcome is, I am done.

As we exit the test center, I waited for the oncoming car to pass. I hesitated and the examiner spoke something in French that I can only guess that he is telling me to go because the other car is far enough. So, I emerged and just said: "Je desole"

After that, we went through the usual route that I have practiced with the instructor before in Lussery-Villars and Éclépens, BUT in reverse order. This makes me realize that it's not quite the same: eg. usually I need to speed up for this turn as it is uphill, but when you do it in reverse, you need to slow down a lot. After a bit of driving with the examiner on the righ, I feel quite confident and calm.

Then, we take the autoroute number 9 at La Sarraz ramp. There was a bit of traffic building up, but not that bad. I was in a right lane cruising around 100 km/h following a car. In front of that car, there is a flatbed truck. Suddenly, an office binder (or maybe a folder?) flew out of the bed of the truck spilling tons of paper all over the place. The car in front of me needed to swerve into the hard shoulder to avoid the binder. The examiner becomes very focused as he stood up from his laid-back seat position and I can feel that my brake pedal has been pressed a bit down by the examiner on his control. As the binder is already in the middle of the road and I slightly slow down and just ride over the binder making sure it goes under the car and not on the wheel. I got some paper on my windscreen, but it quickly slid away. The examiner turns to me and simply said "Good".

We took the autoroute exit at Cheseaux-Cossonay and passed next to Penthaz and Vufflens-la-Ville. Then, at a small roundabout he told me toward Gollion. I saw the white direction sign and I just know that "this is going to be a small road".

As follows his direction and sign to Gollion. We got on to a very narrow road. It is a two-way road but only accommodates one car (Rte de Vufflens, this one: https://goo.gl/maps/rMmYjjdTsRRmKFmZ6). The other side must hold back at the small hold-back ramp. There is also multiple "priority to the right" intersections to pay attention to.

When I was on that small road, there are few oncoming traffic. Fortunately, I read somewhere in this forum that "on a mountain or hill, the ascending car has priority". Which immediately become useful, because when I saw the other car coming and I am going uphill. So, I am sure that I have priority. The other car pulled over to the hold-back ramp on the side and let me proceed. Then, up ahead on the same small road, there is a cyclist riding a mountain bike doing maybe 15-20 km/h (quite a tough guy TBH, it was a bit uphill too). It was impossible to pass, the road is way too narrow. I just follow the cyclist until I emerged in the town of Gollion.

After that, we drove on the main street (Rte de Morges) exiting Gollion, the usual route that my instructor take me through quite often. As we approach the exit. I noticed that the "end of 50 km/h" sign indicating the end of Gollion town is missing. It is not damaged, but the whole sign is missing, only the green frame of the sign is there. This sign: https://goo.gl/maps/mwwCWAZFKkR1k6zz9 I pointed it out to the examiner with my broken French and he seems surprised but agreed that it is missing.

We passed the town of Allens, entered Cossonay, and back to the test center. I parked the car (just front-in parking), he looked into the mirror and told me that I parked on the line, but he doesn't really care by waving the hand.

I shut off the engine, and he spoke something to me in French. With my very broken French, I recognized one word "réussie".

This is the test route that I took (be reminded that it will differ from test to test): https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/ed...bE&usp=sharing

So, that's how I got my Swiss driving license and a unique story to share with all of you.

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Old 12.08.2021, 14:22
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Re: Sharing my experience on driving license conversion exam Cossonay, VD

Great story, thanks for sharing.

I guess this is far tougher than what most people need to do.

On my test all I had to do was drive along some back streets and park in various locations, and then onto a bigger road where I had to negotiate the right lanes and watch out for cyclists and finally a short stint on a hilly country road with lots of changing speed limits but not much traffic. All stuff I had repeated ad nauseam with my instructor.

It was a piece of cake really, especially compared to what they made you do.
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Old 12.08.2021, 15:15
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Re: Sharing my experience on driving license conversion exam Cossonay, VD

Nice story. I had a French licence for years (could have had a Swiss one: I had diplomatic postings in both countries but never bothered: who knew I would ever need it).

Arrived at age 70. EU licences expire, you have to exchange them. The French one was not exchangeable because I never took a test to get it. I have a Florida licence; the UK doesn't exchange those. So I took lessons. Second time lucky on the exam (and hey, I'd ben driving for 50 years but as i said, diplomats don't have to take a test outside their own country).

I chose a driving school in Surrey near to a test centre, and from then on my experience was like yours only it took me two attempts to pass.

I had had a British diplomatic driving licence but unlike Switzerland and France these are not lifetime permits but valid only for three years and renewed only if you still have diplomatic status.

After age 70 a UK licence has to be renewed not every ten years but every two, with self-certification as to capacity. I needed a Swiss licence more (you can't have both) so I exchanged my French and Florida ones for a Swiss one. Which doesn't self-certify: I have until mid-September (on extension) to get medical and optical forms signed by my Swiss doctor.

I imagine I can always get the UK licence back since I took theory and practical tests to get it.

I don't know what people do who split their time between Switzerland and the UK and can't drive without a local licence yet can't keep both. One can be "ordinarily resident" in two countries. Especially for tax.
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