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By Susan Kujawa
Posted: 12/07/2023
Tags: dmv, driver's license renewal, pasadena village

I have never been a fan of visiting the DMV to renew my driver's license.  But this year, I was hearing complaints from some of my friends about questions on the “Knowledge Test”, and my anxiety mounted.  But it helped to realize that I didn't have to face the DMV until next year – or so I thought.

A few weeks later, I received in the mail a notice that I was due to renew my license THIS Year!  I was shocked!  

My main fear was not with the knowledge test, but with the vision test.  I have several problems with my vision that makes passing the test a challenge.  At first I tried to avoid thinking about the tests, but I soon realized that my visit was inevitable. So I went on line and made an appointment.

Lunch with a friend eased my concerns over the knowledge test.  She told me that she had just renewed her license by signing up for “e-learning” on the DMV website.  E-learning allowed her to take the written test on her computer at home. She could even use the Driver’s handbook during the test!  

Encouraged by my friend, I returned to the DMV website.  I struggled a bit trying to navigate the various options presented by the website.  But I persisted, and eventually I got to the place where the computer gave me a list of options on how to take the knowledge test. I clicked on “e-learning” and the site immediately sent me to the e-learning link.

The e-learning site consisted of seven sections to read, each section followed by a 3 or 4 question quiz.  I found the information presented, including bits of animation, to be clear, helpful, and relevant.  After taking each quiz, the site flagged which questions I missed.  I had the driver’s manual at my side to use whenever I needed it.  I ended up with a perfect score of 100%!!!

Now I had only to face the DMV's eye chart!

On my appointment day I checked in and a clerk soon called me to a window.  I knew right away that I couldn’t read the letters on that chart.  The clerk suggested I try their machine, but the results were even worse.  

So the clerk gave me a form to take to my ophthalmologist.  I went the next day.  She tested my vision rigorously, then wrote me a prescription and filled out the form.  I immediately ordered new glasses, knowing that it would take several weeks before I received them.  

On the very next day I went back to the DMV.  I  presented my doctor’s form and my prior day’s receipt to the clerk.  The clerk read the form, then printed out an interim license.  She told me the permanent license would arrive within 3 weeks.  It came just a week later, and it's good for FIVE years!!  So now I can drive again, even though it will be a few more weeks until I actually have my new glasses.

The requirement to pass a vision test in order to drive a car is vital.  When we are on the roads, we have the right to expect that the drivers of all of the cars have adequate vision and knowledge of the rules of the road.  I have thought quite a bit about my responsibility to make sure that I am competent to drive. The optometrist certified that my vision, with proper correction, meets the DMV requirements.  And I think my vision is good enough to drive, especially in familiar areas.  But I am also acutely aware that I am probably not going to be driving for many more years.  I need to prepare myself for that eventuality by learning how to use public transportation, Dial-a-Ride, and driving services such as Uber.  I am also comforted by knowing that I can count on Pasadena Village as part of my transportation support team.

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