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  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6172

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« on: August 04, 2020, 08:32:41 am »
I can't trade my Canadian one in. Don't suggest that, please. I'm going to sound curt in this post, it's not to be rude, it's because I know what I am asking for.

I looked into the driving test application stuff a while ago and it's a nightmare, as is a lot of Korean website shenanigans. So what I'm asking is....

1) Has anyone actually taken the road test here?

2) what is a good resource on traffic laws here? (in English obv) I can be an amazing driver all night long, but the rules are not the same as Ontario and if I start driving like an Ontarian, I'll fail.

3) What is the easiest way to start this process and get myself on the road legally. I ask this because even my GF was having a hell of a time with the gov website for this. So please don't say "Just learn the Korean language in its entirety and go to the Transportation website." We did that.

Any help? I'll buy you a coffee. haha

I bring up number 2 because I remember this book when I was a teen. All the rules.


The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2020, 08:43:33 am »
3) What is the easiest way to start this process and get myself on the road legally.

I feel like the easiest way to get on the road would be just getting a AAA international drivers permit through the mail for $20 and renewing as needed.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6172

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2020, 08:50:17 am »
I feel like the easiest way to get on the road would be just getting a AAA international drivers permit through the mail for $20 and renewing as needed.

I'm Canadian and already said I can't trade my licence in (it's expired). Thanks though.
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2020, 09:06:07 am »
I did my Korean license from scratch. That was nearly three years ago, so my memory is a bit foggy. Couldn't speak Korean then, and still can't, so I don't see that being an obstacle for a linguaphile like you :P

What I do remember is my girlfriend (now wife) checked the website and helped me with the admin stuff. We took the requested documents down to the testing place and she did the paperwork while I did some last minute cramming on my iPad. I had a PDF of like a thousand multiple choice questions of random hypothetical traffic scenarios/road signs. I can't remember where I got the PDF, I think it might have been on this forum. After the paperwork I was led to a room full of computers and took the computer test. Sure enough, some of the questions from the PDF appeared in the test. You get your score immediately. Passed.

Then we went back to the admin people and booked for the in-house driving test. It's basically an onsite obstacle course where they test things like using turn signals, taking off on an incline, perpendicular parking, etc. There's a computer on the dashboard that deducts points automatically whenever it feels like it. I went back for my booking a week later and failed for some trivial bullshit reason. I made a thread about it, here: https://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=110246.0

I tried again a few weeks later and passed easily. As luck would have it, they let me take the final (road) test on the same day. To be honest, this was probably the easiest part. They paired me with a middle-aged Korean lady who couldn't drive for shit. I drove one way, she drove back.  She failed, I passed. Yey.

You have the added advantage of being used to driving on the right side of the road, so I don't see you having any problems with the road test. I guess the main difference is Koreans can turn right on a red light.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention they'll make you watch some video about road etiquette before you take the first test (the computer one). Not that it helped one bit with rage I experience daily. Lol


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6172

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2020, 09:11:32 am »
The computer test is in Korean?
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2020, 09:19:48 am »
The computer test is in Korean?
Engrishee, luckily. 


Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2020, 09:24:07 am »
1) Has anyone actually taken the road test here?

I wrote the written exam and did the road test. I failed the first stage of the road test the first time because it was just... confusing.

Stage 1, you get into the car without an instructor and a computer voice will ask you to check the equipment. The problem I had was that the while voice is all in Korean (there's a screen with badly translated English), there's a confusing time frame as to when to check your equipment. I can't quite explain how jarring it is it but it's definitely a problem of a poorly implemented computer system. You then drive in a straight line and do an emergency stop and you MUST put your hazards on within 3sec. I forgot this and took a bit too long as I just felt confused by the instructions most of the time. Stage 1 would be a lot easier with an instructor in the car, why the reliance on a computer is beyond me.

Stage 2 is the road test.
Here, you'll be given one of 3 routes and the bizarre thing is that you drive with an instructor AND another person taking the test.
The other person sits at the back, while you do the test and after your test, even if you pass, you'll switch places and have to wait for them to do theirs. Road test is extremely simple, before getting in they want you to check under the car in case "small children are playing under it". The instructor will tell you where to drive (about 20min) and return to the driving centre where you'll be asked to parallel park into a bay. I passed my test and had sit at the back while the other driver did his... on the damn main road, with cars whizzing past at 100km/h, this guy panicked and forgot how to drive a manual. He kept stalling on the freeway and being a passenger, this was damn terrifying!

2) what is a good resource on traffic laws here? (in English obv) I can be an amazing driver all night long, but the rules are not the same as Ontario and if I start driving like an Ontarian, I'll fail.

Afraid I can't remember. There are resources out there but honestly, I didn't really study and still managed to pass.

3) What is the easiest way to start this process and get myself on the road legally. I ask this because even my GF was having a hell of a time with the gov website for this. So please don't say "Just learn the Korean language in its entirety and go to the Transportation website." We did that.

Just go to the DMV. You'll be able to write the written exam on the day, unless you arrive too late (after 2pm I think). Before the written exam, you have to watch this really outdated and goofy hour long safety video about these 3 "professors" of road safety. It's in a cringey, talk show format and goes on about "the road being a living organism" and other fluff without actually saying anything.

Then, you go to a room where you do the written test on a computer, all MCQs and you get the results immediately. It's in English, but badly translated. You can still make sense of it.



  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2020, 09:31:15 am »
Aristocrat's memory is much better than mine. Seriously wish I hadn't smoked so much pot in college.

But yeah, 'written test' = computer test. All in all it's super doable. The obstacle course (what Aristocrat calls 'Stage 1') is the only challenging part, but worst case scenario you'll have to do it twice. It's infinitely easier the second time round, because you know what to expect.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6172

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2020, 09:34:00 am »
I don't need to provide any vehicle for ANY of the testing, do I?

Also, hold on........ manual? I have driven a manual once, over ten years ago.

When the hell are you supposed to practice driving in this situation? You can't drive on roads until you pass the last test, no? So when are you supposed to learn how to drive a manual?

« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 09:35:40 am by CO2 »
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


  • buckybee
  • Veteran

    • 98

    • August 30, 2015, 02:36:08 pm
    • Daejeon
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2020, 09:43:47 am »
I'm trying to get my license too. I was just checking this site and was wondering if anyone knew where I could get a study guide for the written exam?

http://dl.koroad.or.kr/license/en/sub/application.jsp


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2020, 09:44:43 am »
I don't need to provide any vehicle for ANY of the testing, do I?

Also, hold on........ manual? I have driven a manual once, over ten years ago.
No, you don't need your own car for anything.

Aristocrat probably opted for the manual test because back home we all drive stick. Personally I was just happy to do the auto test and get it done without the extra hassle. Plus I actually bought my car (an automatic) a few months before I took the test.


Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2020, 09:45:46 am »
I don't need to provide any vehicle for ANY of the testing, do I?

Also, hold on........ manual? I have driven a manual once, over ten years ago.

When the hell are you supposed to practice driving in this situation? You can't drive on roads until you pass the last test, no? So when are you supposed to learn how to drive a manual?



No, you drive their car.
I took the manual test because I'm comfortable driving manual and the car I own now is manual. First time I drove automatic was during my holiday in California and absolutely hated it, I couldn't get a feel for the acceleration lag. For the driving test, you choose the transmission you want. Choose auto and you're only allowed to drive auto, choose manual and you're allowed to drive both.

I drove for years before coming to Korea, I just wasn't happy handing over my Saffa license, having them keep it, and having to pick it up whenever I wanted to visit home so I decided to get a Korean license from scratch.

There are driving schools where they teach you how to drive, before going to the DMV.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6172

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2020, 09:54:37 am »
I'm trying to get my license too. I was just checking this site and was wondering if anyone knew where I could get a study guide for the written exam?

http://dl.koroad.or.kr/license/en/sub/application.jsp

Ah yes, the "For Class Schedule for drivers applying for a license click here!" which leads to a non-existent website.

FUKK. I looked at this site last year and my absolute biggest pet peeve in the world is poor design. Mix that in with Korean internet protocols and I gave up.

I went to the Korean site and I booked a date? I ended up getting a senior's test. I gave it up but I'm back but it's crap like this that makes me just wanna give up. I can handle extra paperwork, I can handle more work, what I can't handle is useless runaround non-existent procedures. FUKK. Rant over.

Did anyone else just show up and just do it? That's what I'm gathering from y'all. But it's buttons like the one I mentioned that lead NOWHERE that really piss me off.

This isn't Greg's Barnyard Antiques site, this is the BLOODY MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT. Get your shit together.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 09:56:42 am by CO2 »
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2020, 09:54:40 am »
I'm Canadian and already said I can't trade my licence in (it's expired). Thanks though.

Gotcha. I thought AAA had Canadian operations as well, or some other equivalent. And just for clarityís sake, though, IDPs do not require trading in your license. In fact you need both your original license and the IDP to legally drive.

I guess the main difference is Koreans can turn right on a red light.

The only real difference I notice in driving here (compared to driving in America) that could truly cause a serious accident is that turning left almost always requires a green arrow light, but without a red arrow light to let you know that a left turn is not allowed with the standard green light. And in situations where a left turn is allowed without the green arrow light, a sign is posted above the traffic light, but only written in Korean. A bit confusing, but otherwise the free-for-all that is Korean parking (particularly on corners, preventing me from seeing oncoming traffic) is the only thing that gives me anxiety on the road.

Also, I swear that a while back I had my hands on a dvd that was produced by the Korean DMV and explained the rules of the road here when I was thinking about getting my license. I canít remember if it was given to me by a friend or if itís something I picked up from the DMV when I went to inquire.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 09:59:48 am by Don Hobak »


Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2020, 10:05:38 am »
Ah yes, the "For Class Schedule for drivers applying for a license click here!" which leads to a non-existent website.

FUKK. I looked at this site last year and my absolute biggest pet peeve in the world is poor design. Mix that in with Korean internet protocols and I gave up.

I went to the Korean site and I booked a date? I ended up getting a senior's test. I gave it up but I'm back but it's crap like this that makes me just wanna give up. I can handle extra paperwork, I can handle more work, what I can't handle is useless runaround non-existent procedures. FUKK. Rant over.

Did anyone else just show up and just do it? That's what I'm gathering from y'all. But it's buttons like the one I mentioned that lead NOWHERE that really piss me off.

This isn't Greg's Barnyard Antiques site, this is the BLOODY MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT. Get your shit together.

I hear you, I'd rather step in the ring with Tyson in his prime than pay a visit to a government department and have to deal with the paperwork and bureaucracy. I usually up bargaining with my wife and have her do all that stuff in return for me doing the dishes for a week or something. It doesn't really bother her and she has exceptional admin skills.

My advice is to rock up early, fill in the forms and just do the written test. If you fail, you can come back the next day and you'll at least know the questions. It's generally things like speed limits, what to do in a 'silver zone', yielding at a roundabout (biggest joke of the test as most drivers I've seen don't seem to understand the concept of yielding at a roundabout) etc.


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2020, 10:27:56 am »
And in situations where a left turn is allowed without the green arrow light, a sign is posted above the traffic light, but only written in Korean.
Ah right, I forgot about this (damn pot!), but the sign says '비보호', which roughly translated means 'unprotected left turn'. So basically, if you see that sign you can make a left turn without an arrow (as long as the light is green, obviously). You'll find the presence of this sign corresponds to how much visibility of oncoming traffic there is. So if the intersection's on a blind rise or bend you won't see the sign. But if it's on a long straight with good visibility it'll probably be there.   


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6172

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2020, 10:33:50 am »
My advice is to rock up early, fill in the forms and just do the written test. If you fail, you can come back the next day and you'll at least know the questions. It's generally things like speed limits, what to do in a 'silver zone', yielding at a roundabout (biggest joke of the test as most drivers I've seen don't seem to understand the concept of yielding at a roundabout) etc.

I do thank you for your writing.

This is what I'm saying though. Is there a resource for this? I don't even know what a silver zone means.

I had my full licence for ten years in Ontario. I drove an F-350 with a box on the back for 3 years. I'm a great driver. But if I get caught up in some bullshit definition, or I have an Ontario mindset in Ansan Driving Centre, then it's not going to work.

The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2020, 10:35:26 am »
Ah right, I forgot about this (damn pot!), but the sign says '비보호', which roughly translated means 'unprotected left turn'. So basically, if you see that sign you can make a left turn without an arrow (as long as the light is green, obviously). You'll find the presence of this sign corresponds to how much visibility of oncoming traffic there is. So if the intersection's on a blind rise or bend you won't see the sign. But if it's on a long straight with good visibility it'll probably be there.

Right. I think the sign is in yellow too, which makes it hard to miss if you know what youíre looking for. And if you just rest on the assumption that you *canít* turn without the green arrow, the friendly driver behind you will let you know rather quickly that you can in fact turn  :wink:


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2020, 10:40:11 am »
This is what I'm saying though. Is there a resource for this? I don't even know what a silver zone means.
Silver zone means old people are about. (silver = grey hair)

I'll try locate that study guide PDF I had. With all the multiple choice questions. Just read through it once and you should be golden.


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: Advice on getting a driver's licence.
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2020, 10:42:17 am »
the sign is in yellow too
It's blue and white, I believe. You can see it at the bottom of page 3, here:

https://www.mcipac.marines.mil/portals/28/mujuk/Korean%20Driving%20Study%20Guide.pdf