Finnish Driver’s Licence

Finnish Driver’s Licence

$800.00

Here in the US, getting a driver’s license is considered a right… you turn 16, drive around a 10-minute course, and presto, you’re a licensed driver.  But in most other countries, it’s not that easy; there, a driver’s license is a privilege.  Our Steven Chupnick found that out first hand sliding across the ice and over the edge.

Category:

Description

Finnish Driver’s License

by John Davis

Here in the US, getting a driver’s license is considered a right… you turn 16, drive around a 10-minute course, and presto, you’re a licensed driver.  But in most other countries, it’s not that easy; there, a driver’s license is a privilege.  Our Steven Chupnick found that out first hand sliding across the ice and over the edge.

STEVEN CHUPNICK: In northern most Europe lies the country of Finland…a land of beauty, history, street cars and some of the strictest driving regulations in the world…but also, some of the longest words in the world…

“So I’m about to attempt the first two stages of obtaining my driver’s license here at the Vantaan Likene… let’s just say the driving school…” The word actually translates to driver’s training center, and this is just one of the stops everyone in Finland must go to in order to get their full driver’s license…

MERJA NIKUNEN: Many people even when they are very good at school, they think that it’s very easy. But, it’s not so simple; you have to show the instructor that your driving skills, that you can control yourself, the car environment and you’re driving safe.

SOT: Turn, turn left…

STEVEN CHUPNICK: How did I do? Well, we’ll get there – don’t you worry about that…as for the driving test, like most American’s, you get a provisional driver’s license…in Finland, it’s at minimum 18 years old…but, from there, it’s a strict two-year process to obtain your permanent license…however, that license lasts until you’re 70 years old, so you better take a good picture, and remember to smile…

One portion of the process entails more schooling and learning, in and out of the car…

ELINA UUSITALO: Well, in the beginning, first the candidate has to do a self assessment in 7 different categories, like traffic situations, handling the car.

STEVEN CHUPNICK: Here in Finland, safety is the number one priority and students are taught to adapt to change.

KAIJA SAVOLAINEN: Of course, to promote the safety of all the citizens and we have done that through the driving schools.

STEVEN CHUPNICK: Along with knowing how to actually drive the car, students learn to maintain their rides as well…that’s because big brother is watching with random police safety check points all the time.

TUIJA SAARINEN: We have traffic control so much that people have a feeling that they will get caught. We have breath test and everything; we have speeding control so much that I think it’s quite good.

STEVEN CHUPNICK: And, because Finland is truly a land of four weather seasons, drivers need to know how to navigate the wheel regardless of conditions…and that starts at the slippery road course. That’s where I found first hand that training really pay off…there are few things in life scarier than being behind the wheel on an icy and snowy road, when all of a sudden a moose runs across the road…

STEVEN CHUPNICK: We weren’t able to get on the road at night for instruction. Fortunately, there are simulators like these that help the student drive in any and every condition.

The night simulator is one option for students and instructors when real driving is not possible…but, let’s be clear – this is as serious as the in-car driving…and clearly, I needed some extra guidance. After finally mastering that, I decided to ask two expert Finnish drivers – rally car champion, Marcus Gronholm and F1 driver, Heikki Kovalainen…

MARCUS GRONHOLM: Driving in rally always you are thinking about the time and you be quick and so, ok, it’s a little bit the same these days in traffic.

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN: It’s quite common in Finland, people start very early; it’s not that you have to be a Formula 1 driver to feel it out. Actually, common driver in Finland is able to handle the car very early.

STEVEN CHUPNICK: I had the chance to drive with Heikki around the track at Premier Park, a unique training course and business conference center in Porvoo, to see how my emergency car handling skills were progressing…

Ok, back to the real question…

STEVEN CHUPNICK:  So how did I do, do I get a driver’s license?

MERJA NIKUNEN: Mmmm, after practice for a couple years?

STEVEN CHUPNICK: But do I get points for the name?

MERJA NIKUNEN: Um…please say it.

STEVEN CHUPNICK:  Ok, it’s likenichervoleskuskiskus…

MERJA NIKUNEN: Uh, I’m not sure if any Finnish can understand that one…where you want to go. So, it’s Vaantan liken… that’s the place we have been.”

STEVEN CHUPNICK: Exactly what she said.

Well, it looks like I’m going to need a… little…more…practice. So getting a driver’s license in Finland is indeed a privilege…a notion we “Yanks” could certainly afford to import here.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *