After six years after I moved to Canada, I finally stop procrastinating and decided to get a car for my family. For general cars, Ontario has a three-level licence system, you need to get the last level before you are fully entitled to drive. G1 (starters) who you can't drive alone, G2 (intermediate) you can drive alone, and G (advanced).
Canadians usually don't have problems with this system when starting to drive. As a teenager, you can do your writing exam when you are 16 and you can drive your parents' car to get the experience needed for the G2. However, as an immigrant, you are not a teenager, you do not have a car and usually, you do not have a close friend who is willing to let you drive his car. It is kind of frustrating. That was my situation.
I will write about how I managed to get the G2 in 30 days.
Getting the G1 Driving License
In order to get the G1 Driving License, I had to do a writing exam. The exam mostly focuses on recognizing the signs (Canada has many signs I haven't seen before) and the laws of the province. You can get the booklet online or in any Walmart, it worths less than 20 dollars.
I, however, did not finish the reading of that booklet. Instead, I downloaded the G1 Test Genie Ontario application from the Google Play Store. I must say that studying from that application is almost as doing the exam, I only had one question that was not there.
I did my exam at the Cannotek Center, for G1 I did not need to make an appointment, I just walked in. I had to register there and pay for it. After that, I got a simple eye test, When it was time, I was invited to get into a computer room to take it.
The exam is multilingual, I was able to switch among seven languages. Best if you do it in English, I was switching from English to Spanish to English to verify if I understood the question and I found some translating issues with the Spanish. Once a question has been answered, you can not change it. The exam requires at least 80% of correct answers to pass. The good thing is the system told me how I was doing, I knew my score right away. I passed.
Even if you do not pass it at the first attempt, finish it to be aware of the following questions. You can have a second try the same day. While I was there, there was a teenager who didn't pass the first attempt, she waited like half an hour and then she passed again into the computer room.
Once I passed, I got my picture taken, and a temporal G1 driving license was issued for me. Two weeks later (maximum) I got my plastic license in my mailbox.
Getting the G2 Driving License
After getting the G1, the general rule is that you must get one year of experience before doing the G2 exam. As an immigrant, there is a shortcut! I got a translation of my still-valid foreign driving license (used a certified translator) that clearly showed I was driving for a long time, et voilá! I did not need to wait that year. As I have a permanent Mexico City driving license, it was enough as it shows I have been driving since 2003.
As soon as I showed the original foreign driving license with its proper translation the teller told me I could book the G2 exam whenever I was ready.
Studying for the G2 Driving License
Even if you have years driving, do not book the exam right away. The exam is not about controlling the car, it is about knowing the rules. In my case, I hired some hours from a driving instructor. I asked him to fix the way I drive to pass the G2 exam. It took me like 5 hours driving to get used before he gave me the green light to book my exam.
Tips for the G2 Driving Exam
Please note the following keynotes apply for the Ontario driving exam.
- When driving, if you are not passing a car then you must move to the right lane
- Two hands on the wheel always. When you are turning right or left, you must pass one hand over the other. It is the Ontario way.
- When turning right or left (even when changing lane), you must turn on your directional light, twist yourself to look over your shoulder (looking for blind spots) and then you can turn.
- The maximum driving speed is also taken as a minimum driving speed. If maximum speed is 40, you must try to get to 40 as fast as possible. Driving at 20 is not illegal, but the examiner will take points because of that.
- When doing a stop, turn on the directional. Before turning off the car, turn your wheel to the right (if uphills) or to the left.
- When turning right, you must twist to look at your blind spot and then, you must approach as much as possible to the sidewalk before turning.
- In Ontario, turning right is allowed even with a red light. If you have the luck of getting in that situation, you should do it properly.
- If you must change more than two lanes, do it one per one by repeating the same process. Do not do both in one movement.
Doing the G2 Driving Exam
The test day was very easy. I arrived at the Test Drive Centre and parked the instructor car behind. Then, as I already had the appointment I checked-in with my license number and returned back to the car. The tester then went to the car when the time came.
My driving route was as follows. It was too short that I got scared, I thought I failed the exam but I didn't. My guess is that because at 3.20ish p.m. there is a lot of traffic and school buses are around, the tester decided to go for a short route.
More Shortcuts to get the G2
If you are still in your country or do you have someone who can do some paperwork for you, you can get a license history. In my case, I didn't and Mexican Consul doesn't do that process. So, if you get that paper, I was told that you can apply directly to the G2. You should do the exam, but you skip the G1 step.
Eighter way, I suggest you hire some hours from a driving instructor. There are some rules in Ontario that I have never seen before and they are deal-breaker if you don't do it the Ontario driving way.