Frequently Asked Questions

05/06/2010 by Christopher Buxton

I need a Bulgarian Driving License – what’s involved in the test? Is it different from the English one?

Under EU protocols, efforts have been made to standardize driving tests across Europe. However some latitude has been allowed for member countries to incorporate elements that reflect their particular cultural norms.

Speak English mate!

There are a lot of differences. To impress the Examiner, Bulgarian drivers need to demonstrate a range of skills and attitudes, which might surprise you.

Like what for instance?

It starts from the moment you meet your examiner at the test centre. You are given marks for the way you present yourself.

They expect you to be all humble and a little bit nervous?

Absolutely not! You must demonstrate the devil-may-care arrogance needed to survive on Bulgarian roads. Look as though you’ve just come out of an important business meeting and be talking on your mobile phone about land deals on the coast. Wave your arms a lot. Be sure you give the impression that the test is an annoying interruption to your otherwise very busy day. When you get in the car, slap your wallet on the dashboard – make sure it’s impressively packed – and then complain loudly about having to wear a seatbelt. This will tick the boxes for essential knowledge. It helps if you can quote your neighbour’s cousin – how he crashed at 200 kilometers an hour and survived only because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

Should I carry on talking to the examiner during the test?

Of course! He needs entertaining. The best place to start is to prove he’s related to you. So it’s start the car, look at the examiner, complain about your children, look in the mirror, engage the gear, find out he lives next to your wife’s Auntie Toshka and wave your arm a bit before launching yourself into the traffic. And don’t forget you get a mark every time you comment on the mother of each other driver on the road.

Ok I get the general idea. What are the skills I’ll need?

Well there’s the rub. You’ll need to unlearn some stuff you learnt in England or you’ll fail.

Like what?

First up, there’s no such thing as a safe stopping distance. The Examiner will expect you to stick your bumper as close to the exhaust pipe in front of you as a rhino on heat. The faster the speed, the closer you must get. If you do find some English idiot driving in front of you, the examiner will expect you to immediately flash your headlights, say something about the washing habits of English mothers, wrench the steering wheel to the left, challenge the oncoming traffic to a game of chicken and overtake. Nature hates a vacuum and those so called safe distances need to be filled at whatever cost. These English bastards need to be taught….Oh Sorry, I forgot you were English.

Ok! Ok! What else will I have to do?

I almost forgot. There’s something new they’ve just brought in. It’s called Driving with New Technology. I think it’s unique – no other country’s got it except Macedonia, but we thought of it first. It involves the use of a third person and does require some organization prior to the test.

Go on!

Half way through the test, the examiner will expect you to receive an important call on your mobile phone. Better get your wife to ring you about some problem with your kids, your mother-in-law or the washing machine.

And of course I don’t answer it!

On the contrary – it’s part of the test. While you’re telling your wife how to cope with your cheeky daughter, the examiner will put you through a series of complex manoeuvres. You’ll be tested on your ability to execute three point turns on motorway slipways, park on pavements and negotiate crowds of pedestrians on crossings while conducting a lively conversation on the phone.

Gosh, that might be difficult

Your wife’s Bulgarian isn’t she?
By the way if your wallet should fall from the dashboard into your examiner’s lap as you effect a hand-break turn, it’s very bad form to count your money in front of him when he returns the wallet to you at the end of the test.
Anyway if all else fails remember the words of that great Bulgarian poet, Penyo Penev. It was written with Bulgarian drivers in mind.
When the violets flower
And nothing is going your way
Fuck everyone else’s mother
And make sure you are OK.