Körkort – My Experience

I moved to Stockholm in October 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. Found out we are having out first kid. Fun times. Anyway, decided to get my license for the 3rd time. Once in Sri Lanka, then in Abu Dhabi and now in Stockholm. So here is how it went.

I was really lucky to have found my driving school. They were super nice. The teach spoke excellent English and honestly made me a far better driver than who I was.

This is not sponsored article, I think they are really good. Here is a link to their website : https://rembjer.se/

Risk Ettan and Risk Två

The risk management courses are a must. You cannot do the theory test without doing them. There a few facilities around Stocholm where you can do it. If you plan to do it in English, then make sure to book well in advance as there a very few places that offer it.

Risk Ettan or the first course teaches you about the dangers of alcohol, narcotics and tiredness. You’ll learn that driving while tired is treated equally as driving under the influence.

Risk Två I would say(most would agree) was the most fun. You get to learn how a car reacts when you brake brutally on different surfaces. This includes a surface that mimics a super icy road.

Kunskapsprov : Theory

It is a 50 minute multiple choice test that you need to prepare for. The test is offered in many languages including English. Please checkout Trafikverket’s website to find out more details.

The theory was much harder than I expected. Some questions even required a calculator. Which was used to determine what speed you will crash into an object in a given distance.

I got signed up with Elevcentralen with my driving school. They have a complete course with all the areas you are tested on. You can also do mock tests which are timed and are like the real deal. Was a life saver.

Overall, I though that the knowledge you gain from the theory course is valuable. You learn to decode the dreaded parking signs around Stockholm. You learn to calculate and guesstimate how soon you can brake. You learn all the priority rules. Honestly, doing the theory course made me appreciate how well everything was thought out in Sweden.

Uppkörning – Practical Test

My practical was very positive experience. My examiner was super chill. Explained everything really clearly. I got instructions well in advance to plan my route. I didn’t feel nervous at all.

COVID19 : I had to wear a face mask the whole time. Practicing with a mask on might be helpful.

Tips / Key Take aways

  1. Showing consideration and keeping all road users safe, especially unprotected road users, is the main priority. The examiner will always be watching out for this.
  2. Security Check/Säkerhetskontroll (You might have to do a few or all(one student every year))
    • Outside
      • Under the hood
        • Engine Oil -> Clean dipstick, check if oil is between min and max.
        • Engine Coolant -> Should be between min and max. Mix of water and glycol to prevent freezing.
        • Brake Fluid -> Check between min and max, if it is leaking, you have to visit a mechanic. It can absorb water and become less effective.
        • Power Steering Fluid -> Check min and max
        • Washer Liquid -> Mix of water and ethanol. Light on the dashboard lights up when it is low.
      • Tyres
        • Summer tires -> 1.6 mm. Winter tires -> 3 mm.
      • Lights
        • Parking Lights
        • Dipped Beam
        • Full Beam
        • Brake lights -> Ask the examiner to step on the brake to check if the lights come on.
        • Reverse lights
        • Front and rear indicators
        • Front and rear fog lights
        • Number Plate light
    • Inside
      • Seatbelt
      • Seat position and steering wheel position
      • Side view mirrors
      • Rear view mirror
      • Windscreen wipers
      • Rear wiper
      • Windscreen demystifier
      • Brake(servo)-> Pump brake 3 times and switch engine. Brake should sink to the floor slowly
      • Steering(servo) -> Pull steering wheel to the left and start engine. The steering should become soft.
      • Parking Brake -> Engage brake and try to move the vehicle, either front or in reverse. If the vehicle has an electronic parking brake keep it engaged by pulling/pressing the button.
  3. One-Two-Three indicate method
    • One -> Rear view mirror
    • Two -> Side mirror
    • Three -> Check blind spot (left or right)
    • You should only indicate once you have done the three steps and you are sure you want to switch lanes.
  4. Manoeuvring
    • Both hands should be placed firmly on the steering wheel at all times unless changing gears.
    • The examiner might ask you to change the temperature or some small talk to check if you can multitask without a security risk.
    • When backing into a parking spot, do it with only the clutch and at crawling speed.
    • When driving through curves it is good to press on the opposite side of the steering wheel.
  5. Positioning
    • If you are turning right, place the vehicle to the right of the lane.
    • If you are turning left or doing a U turn, place the vehicle to the left of the lane.
    • If you are driving straight try to be in the rightmost lane that will take you to your destination.
    • Within the lane on an expressway or motorway try to be in the dead center as much as possible.
  6. Parking/Turning around
    • When parking, always pick the easiest spot that fits what the examiner requires.
    • It is good to park to the left of a parked car as it can be used as a marker when reversing in.
    • When turning around, it is better to reverse into a cross road rather than go head first to give you better visibility.
  7. Roundabouts/Cirkulationsplats
    • Although you are not legally obliged to indicate when you enter into a round about it is good to do it.
    • Some roundabouts have clear directions on which lane to pick. Some roundabouts don’t.
    • You should pick the right lane well before you approach the roundabout.
    • If you are taking the first or second exit, the right lane is considered the best.
    • If you are taking anything other than the first or second exit, you should pick the left lane when entering the roundabout, switch to the right lane before the exit you wish to take. When changing from the left to the right lane within the roundabout, you have to indicate, just like changing lanes any other time.
    • You are legally obliged to indicate when you are exiting the roundabout.
  8. Speed Limits
    • It is a good idea to check speed limits well in advance, two maybe even three crossings ahead.
    • Also, good to be mindful of the time of day. During school hours, many school zones have a limit of 30. Driving above 30 in these zones is a recipe for failure.
    • It is good to always stick to the three second rule when driving behind a vehicle.
  9. New Section of road
    • When entering a new section of road, i.e. intersection, roundabout, rule change, it is good to look for the following.
      • Stop Sign -> If you see a stop sign, the vehicle must stop fully. I try to count to three before moving.
      • No entry
      • Speed limit
      • Bus lane
      • Priority road
  10. Eco Driving
    • It is important to show consideration to the environment while you drive. There are quite a few ways that this can be done.
    • Start the engine as the last step before driving off. This means doing the safety check and engaging the gear before switching the engine on.
    • Avoid unnecessary stopping at roundabouts and give way intersections. This means slowing down before the roundabout and crawling so that you don’t completely stop the vehicle before entering.
    • Find out the optimal RPM range for the vehicle you are driving and use the full capacity of the engine when speeding up. For example, the Volkswagen Golf’s optimal RPM range is between 2800 – 3200. When accelerating to match the speed of a situation, don’t shift gears until you hit this rpm range.
    • Use engine braking as much as possible, when approaching traffic lights, roundabouts, intersections, etc.
  11. Country roads
    • Turning left on country roads can be dangerous especially if there is a string of vehicles behind you. The best thing to do in such a situation is to stop in advance and let the vehicles behind you overtake. You can then turn left safely.
    • Turning right is much easier. Just make sure you look in the rearview mirror and indicate well in advance.
  12. Getting on and off the expressway
    • You have to match the speed as fast as you can when you are on the ramp.
    • If there aren’t any vehicles when you are entering, try to get as close to the speed limit, if not match the speed of the vehicles. Vehicles in the motorway will help you merge in.
    • Do not reduce your speed before you leave the motorway, only do it when you are fully inside the exit ramp.
  13. Bus Lanes
    • It is important that you check on either side of the road well in advance if a bus lane is starting.
    • Some signs are quite difficult to spot.
For an example, the bus lane if you are turning left is indicated on the lamp post above the priority sign in a not-so-obvious way.

Conclusion

These are some of the things I learned at my parking school. You might find it easier doing it another way. Driving in Sweden is a lot calmer than in most other places I have driven in. You seldom find someone breaking the law. Overall, obtaining my drivers license was a super positive experience for me.

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