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karussell None
11/29/19 8:21 a.m.

This is my first post on GRM forum, and I thought this would make a great first post!

So, as I finished korean CSAT and high school graduation test earlier this month, I decided to get driver's license as soon as possible. Unfortunately it was quite hard to do so, because every other 12th graders thought exactly the same and every driving school was fully booked.

Today, I went to driving school to register for the traffic safety education program and driving lessons.

It was on the outskirt of Seoul, and getting there was hard. Like, who thought it was good idea to put crosswalk on a highway ramp?

Anyway, I went into the office, and went through registration process. For most people, license type is narrowed down to two choices-Class 1 General(manual) and Class 2 General(automatic). I wanted to drive cars with manual transmission(obviously), so I chose Class 1 General. I also made some reservations for driving lessons.

So, I will take traffic safety education on this sunday, and closed driving course education on monday.

Can't wait driving a car for the first time!smiley

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/29/19 8:31 a.m.


What kind of car do you expect they will have you drive? 

karussell New Reader
11/29/19 8:40 a.m.
John Welsh said:


What kind of car do you expect they will have you drive?

Kia Bongo 3, aka "2 seater midship rear wheel drive sports car" with onboard computer and tons of sensors for grading.

californiamilleghia Dork
11/29/19 8:48 a.m.

Welcome ,

Please take some photos of the wall posters that they have up !

Years ago in Germany you also had a test on how the car worked , the drivers schools had cool cut-a-way motors etc to show you how they worked , 

Good luck

karussell New Reader
11/29/19 8:53 a.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

Thank you!

But what kind of wall posters? I don't see any...

californiamilleghia Dork
11/29/19 9:55 a.m.

Posters of street signs , rules of the road etc


A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
11/29/19 10:59 a.m.


How do you drive in S. Korea?


Op op op op oppagangnam style...





Appleseed MegaDork
11/29/19 11:22 a.m.

Doid, where is Daewoo of Death? This would be right up his alley.

Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/29/19 5:42 p.m.

Cool. I was at Osan AFB in 97-98 and loved every minute I was in South Korea.  Beautiful country.



wlkelley3 UltraDork
11/29/19 7:22 p.m.

Drove in Korea in the late 70's on a military license on military vehicles. Rules of the road was the first & biggest had right of way. Unless you're American then SOFA kicked in and no matter what Koreans had right of way. Went back in the late 80's and intentionally did not drive. Was a madhouse driving then as cars were becoming more common. Was back a few years ago and drove a rental Kia economy on an International License for the few months I was there. Will be back there for a week or so next spring. Pyong Taek area.

karussell New Reader
11/29/19 10:02 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Actually, this driving school is in Gangnam district.smiley

karussell New Reader
11/29/19 10:07 p.m.

In reply to wlkelley3 :

It's slowly getting better, but it's still messy. People not using turn signals, using hazard lights instead of turn signals, and totally ignoring pedestrians while driving...

karussell New Reader
11/29/19 10:14 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:

Posters of street signs , rules of the road etc



It was on the last page of my handbook, but those ones still have McCune-Reischauer Romanization so I think it is a bit outdated... probably older than me.

Shadeux GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/30/19 9:18 a.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

PSY's "Daddy" is my favorite!

11/30/19 9:28 a.m.
karussell said:

Kia Bongo 3, 

That's the greatest dumb name i've ever heard. Could you take pictures of the little truck? It's probably not much more than a Hijet Kei truck but it still looks fun.


KIA Bongo 3: This time, it's personal.

californiamilleghia Dork
11/30/19 10:15 a.m.

In reply to karussell :

Thanks for the handbook pictures , 

Always interesting to see what they use , but I can see I would never past the test !


karussell New Reader
12/1/19 6:11 a.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

It's actually a lot bigger than kei truck(3500mm vs. 5200mm). Asia Motors(now-defunct commercial vehicle division of Kia Group) made Daihatsu Hijet under license as Kia Towner, though.

You can find more photo of Kia Bongo in this link: https://www.kia.com/kr/vehicles/bongo3/features.html


karussell New Reader
12/5/19 9:10 a.m.

Sunday: Traffic safety education

On Sunday, I went to driving school and listened to mandatory three hour traffic safety education. It wasn't a traffic safety education, though. More like tales of idiotic drivers on the driving test, like an elderly lady who tried to start the car by turning the key anti-clockwise. No information about rules of the road which would've been helpful for the written test on Wednesday. I had to study that one myself.... The classroom was really old too. It felt like 1990s classroom to me.

Monday: First closed course driving

I spent entire morning at the National Folk Museum of Korea, for our high school's "12th grader rehab program". As usual, it was boring. Walking around the street was fun, though.

In the afternoon, I went to the driving school. Just like the classroom, waiting area was very old. Cars too, were very old. It was a pre-facelift Kia Bongo 3, which meant it was at least 7 years old. Thankfully, it ran fine.

At first, I was a bit afraid of stalling the car. However, 2.5L "J" diesel engine had plenty of torque, so I never had to worry about stalling the car, even on incline. Even without brakes, I was able to stop the car on incline by just riding the clutch with no throttle(I was told not to touch the throttle), making the hill start easy. My only problem was seat position. When I was comfortable with brake control, pressing the clutch pedal became awkward. When I was comfortable with clutch, then the braking became jerky. Maybe I should spend more time moving the seat on Friday.

When I got used to car controls, the instructor turned on the onboard computer, and started the demo test.


First attempt was fail, because I ran out of time. I passed on second time, with 90% score. Considering it was dark outside and I couldn't see the line at all, I think it was good for first time driver!

Wednesday: Written test

On Wednesday I visited Gangnam Driver‘s License Examination Office. It was computer-based test, with videos and pictures asking what I should do on such situation. I passed the test(98%!).

Tomorrow will be my second and last closed course lesson, and I will have closed course test next week.


TurnerX19 Dork
12/5/19 12:45 p.m.

Congratulations on your scores and good luck on the rest of the testing. I wish we had something this comprehensive here in Pennsylvania.

karussell New Reader
2/3/20 9:09 a.m.
TurnerX19 said:

Congratulations on your scores and good luck on the rest of the testing. I wish we had something this comprehensive here in Pennsylvania.

Thank you! Although driving test in South Korea is systematic, it is criticized in South Korea for making bad drivers - probably due to lack of seat time and learning by rote.


I've been very busy preparing for studying overseas, so here's an late update.

On January 3rd, I passed the final road test.

It takes at least a day to get my test result synced with police database, so I had to wait until the next Monday to receive my license.

Since almost every 12th graders in South Korea are taking driver's license test at this point, Gangnam Driver‘s License Examination Office was filled with people - about 50 people in front of me! And after 30 minutes of wating, I received my license.

I paid some extra and got English license. With this, I don't have to carry international driver's license on 33 countries(Canada, Australia, UK, etc).

I also began practicing, as I was not feeling confident yet... 10 hours of seat time was definitely not enough. Fortunately there is a family beater for that purpose.

This is 1996 Kia Credos. It is based on Mazda 626 platform and has Kia's first in-house developed engine, T8D. Interestingly ride and handling was tuned by Lotus. It rattles and smells like gasoline inside, but it runs, at least. And insurance is cheap - about 2.5 dollars per day.

As my family runs a parking lot, I used it to practice parking and maneuvering around tight corners. It has been a month since I got my license, and I think my skills have improved a lot!


Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/3/20 9:16 a.m.

Runs a parking lot you say???

karussell New Reader
2/3/20 9:30 a.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill :

Not that big.sad We do get some interesting cars, though. Like Brabus G63 or heavily modified Audi TT or Porsche 911. They never make it to the second floor, because of height or ground clearance issues.

einy HalfDork
2/3/20 7:59 p.m.

Cool thread ... please keep the updates coming!

karussell New Reader
5/1/20 9:17 a.m.


I really hoped to write this in Germany, but under current circumstances I couldn't. I should have took the Asiana Airlines flight to Frankfurt on March 25th... but the flight was canceled(again, first one was Korean Air flight), and now I have a lot of free time. 

Fortunately, things are getting better here, and people are allowed to go outside, as long as they keep 2 meters apart and wear face masks.

So, when I'm not studying German or Python or Blender, I just drive around the apartment parking lot to get some experience. It's really huge... 9,766 parking spots on two basement floors.

By the way, I spotted Fiat 124 Spider while walking around the parking lot. Seemed like it had been grey imported from USA.


Once or twice a week, I drive further away from home, under the supervision of dad or mom. On last Wednesday, I went to Bukak Skyway, a popular mountain pass in city center. It was 10, and there was no major traffic jams on Expressways. But I got lost anyway and ended up somewhere deep in the alleyway.

Had to make three point turns in order to make a U-turn, because so many parked cars were blocking the road. 

After I escaped from those alleyways, I made it to the Bukak Skyway. 


After doing that, I was on my way back to home - via Naebu Expressway and then Gangbyeon Expressway.

For unknown reason, the roads were full of cars, causing traffic jams on some parts of Naebu Expressway and entire Gangbyeon Expressway. 



Nevertheless, I made it to home in one piece. 

Anyway, I got a 'inexperienced driver' sticker today. Now other drivers will know that they couldn't expect me to do 100km/h in a 70km/h zone.

nderwater UltimaDork
5/1/20 9:44 a.m.
karussell said:

In reply to wlkelley3 :

It's slowly getting better, but it's still messy. People not using turn signals, using hazard lights instead of turn signals, and totally ignoring pedestrians while driving...

When I visited in the 90's every car had aftermarket bumper pads screwed/glued to the corners and bumpers of their vehicles to protect when they were 'rubbed' in traffic or hit when parked.  I didn't see any cars with them in your videos -- do people still do that today?

Seeing the Korean Domestic Market vehicles was such a novelty at that time.  But when watching your videos, all the cars on the road seem ordinary now--Hyundai and Kia cars/SUVs have become as popular and common as Ford and Chevrolet here.  I've owned three Kia's in recent years.

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