My Experience Passing the Taiwan Car/Scooter Driver Tests without Driver’s Education Classes 不用駕訓班通過汽機車考照之心得
Obtaining a driver's license in Taiwan can be the key to freedom, and let you see more of Taiwan faster than ever. Some countries have international agreements to recognize driver's licenses from other countries, but if your license has expired or if your country has no agreement with Taiwan, it probably means you need to take the driver's license test.
In this blog, I will show you how it is possible to pass the test for both cars and scooters without expensive and ineffective driver's education courses.
Background Reading 背景閱讀:
Many people have written about getting a driver’s license before. Here is the one we have found most helpful, and I suggest reading this first: http://www.tealit.com/article_categories.php?section=transportation&article=drivers_license
I don’t want to beat a dead horse by repeating what other bloggers have said; I just want to give my own opinion and advice on getting a driver’s license in Taiwan. You should read the above blog first to get a background on what the test is (as well as through google), because I am just going to supplement what this guy has said.
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If you are looking for car rentals, you can also search here. You can also check out our car rental guide here.
Why you need a driver's license in Taiwan 你為甚麼需要駕照:
I know plenty of other foreigners who live in Taiwan with no license and no vehicle. That's cool for you bro, but frankly, you are missing out on so much that Taiwan has to offer. If you only take public transportation you are limiting yourself to places you can go, people you can see, food you can eat, and marvels to enjoy. My advice, get a license. If you are staying in Taiwan for the short term, just use an international driving permit.
For the long term: if you ever want to stop borrowing your girlfriend’s/boyfriend's family scooter, you will want to buy your own. You will need a license.
As for renting cars and scooters, see my blog post about car rental here, and scooter rental here.
So I've convinced you to get a real license. How do you do this? Technically you should go take a driver’s test, show your passport, show your original country’s driver’s license, pay some fees and that's that. However, if you are not feeling confident about passing, or you don’t have a license in your home country, or if Taiwan has no agreement with your home country, go to a driver’s education class (this is what most Taiwanese people do). I don’t know if they offer classes in English though. If you are good at driving or had a license before, let me teach you the ways of passing the driver's exam without paying for driver’s education.
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Passing the Taiwan Road Test without Driver’s Education Classes 不用駕訓班通過汽機車考照:
Written test 筆試:
This might be the hardest part. Get your hands on the English questions: http://www.thb.gov.tw/sites/ch/modules/download/download_list?node=30892007-f4d7-45f0-8a7e-863e7822fe5c&c=e94977a2-5a11-45ce-b530-5ca55d709ed3
You need to download four parts: 1. Rules T/F, 2. Signs T/F 3. Rules Multiple-Choice 4. Signs Multiple-Choice
Read them. If you really want a good score, print them out and study. Signs are easy. Rules multiple choice is going to be the hardest. You can get a perfect score if you memorize the penalties for breaking the law. You will need at least an 80 to pass.
Also, take the simulator test to see how you are doing: https://www.mvdis.gov.tw/m3-simulator-drv/. This simulator is exactly the same as the real written test.
Scooter Driving Test 機車考照:
Scooter: This test is pretty easy. But that is if you are steady and know how to balance on a scooter. This will probably take most of your practice time. You can’t put your foot on the ground. As far as the test itself, remember to look over your shoulder every time you turn as well as make turn signals. You should pass if you do these things.
I'm not spending any more time on scooters because it is so simple and easy. Even a caveman could do it.
Car Driving Test 汽車考照:
If you can pass the driving test in America or any other country, you can also pass it in Taiwan. But you should be aware of a few differences:
Below is a map of the entire test (sorry no English):
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Here is the whole car driving test 汽車考照全程:
1. Inspect the vehicle 檢查車. This means checking tire pressure by putting your finger above the triangle on the outside of the tire. If the instructor is nice, they will walk you through this part. Check every tire. Also, check the mileage, gas level, oil level, and temperature. Also be sure to put on your seatbelt, adjust your mirrors, adjust your seat, and take off the parking brake before you start the car.
2. Back into a parking space 倒車入庫: This means back in from a 90 degree angle, or back in from around a corner. To practice for this, borrow a friend’s car and just practice backing around corners in a parking lot; it's really not that hard.
3. Parallel parking 平行停車: To practice for this, borrow a friend’s car and just practice. For me personally what I kept messing up was turning too late. Make sure when you go back diagonally you turn a good couple of feet before your back tire hits the curb.
4. S Curve S型: This is by far the hardest part of the test. They don’t test this in America, and you can't really practice for it. But you can watch this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR-QgC0MWtg
This video is pure gold. There is a memorable method for passing this. Watch this a bunch of times and at least visualize what’s going on. I will take the time to translate it into English if someone wants me to, so tell me in the comments if you want it or not.
I messed up the S curve. It still takes some real life practice to get it down. If you want, you can get some sidewalk chalk and draw it in a parking lot. But even if you mess up on the s curve you can pass the test, like me.
Personally I think the S curve had very little real life application and should be removed from the car test.
Other parts of the driving test include:
5. Go around a roundabout: easy.
6. Stop on a hill: easy.
7. Stop for a train: easy.
8. Stop for pedestrians. easy.
9. Road test: this is a new part of the test. I was the first person (foreign or Taiwanese to pass it), and don't forget it! It's really easy, just drive down the road outside of the DMV and do two U turns. Remember to turn on signals, check blind spots, and follow the speed limit.
think it's great this is part of the test, because the inside test is robotic. So many people passed before but were too afraid to actually drive on the road.
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Getting a Taiwan International Driving Permit 獲得台灣國際駕駛執照
After you get a Taiwan license, you can apply for a Taiwan international driver's permit, which lasts three years and is valid in almost every country except Japan.
Taiwan’s international driver’s license is much nicer than the one I got from AAA in the US. Also, it was much cheaper (half the price) and lasts for two more years.
You just need your Taiwan driver's license, passport, two one-inch photos, and 250 NT.
BTW the line to get one of these was 30 minutes long; lots of people are going overseas.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 常見問題:
Q: How do I make an appointment for a car/scooter license test?
Step 1: Get a health check for driver's licenses from a local authorized clinic.
Step 2: Make an appointment online here (only in Chinese): https://www.mvdis.gov.tw/m3-emv-trn/exm/query
Step 3: Bring your health check form, ARC, passport, and photos with you to the department of motor vehicles on the day of the test. The total cost is less than 1000 NT.
Q: Do I need an ARC to obtain a Taiwan driver's license?
A: Yes, in almost all cases you do. If not, you will at least need a resident or visitor visa that is valid for one year or more.
Q: What documents are required to get a Taiwan driver's license?
A: Bring the following documents:
1. Original ARC card
2. Three one-inch photos taken in the last six months
Q: How do I apply for an international driver's permit using my home country's license?
A: You can apply for an international driver's permit using your home country's license easily at Taiwan's DMV. Usually, this permit is only valid for one month.
Q: How do I apply for an international driver's permit using my Taiwanese license?
A: You just need your Taiwan driver's license, passport, two one-inch photos, and 250 NT.
They are valid for up to three years.
As a side note and reminder, before you take the test, check and double check to see if you can get a license based on principles of equity agreement with your home country or state. After passing the test I found that I could have just turned in my US license for a Taiwanese one! I didn't because I asked a lady at the Taiwan DMV who told me I couldn't, but it turned out she was wrong! My friend from the same home state as me was able to get a license with no test.
Now that you have your license you can consider buying a car or scooter. Check out our guide to buying a car here, or to buying a scooter here.
If you are looking for tours and activities of Taiwan, you can also search on Klook here or KKday here.
This is the end of my rant. I hope it was helpful. Do not hesitate to ask any specific questions about this topic in the comments. I will answer as soon as I can. If you want a quicker response, ask us on Twitter or Facebook.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.