People Share Their Most Embarrassing Stories Of Getting A Driver's License
There are over 222,000,000 licensed driver's in the United States, but at some point every one of them was just a learner. Automobiles of all shapes and sizes are complicated pieces of machinery. Learning to master one doesn't happen over night. Sometimes the process can get a little dicey.
Reddit user TeeWrecksArms asked "DMV employees and driving instructors who've gone out on new driver tests. What are your best stories?"
Driving teachers and driving learners shared their adventures behind the wheel.
Not an employee or instructor but when I was 15 I took driver's ed at my high school. The instructor they had looked almost like a thinner version of Dr. Phil, but with glasses and thick Chicago accent. I remember one day when he was taking us out to do practice driving he made us stop by the dry cleaners so he could pick something up. I asked other people who had him before and apparently it was pretty common for him to use students to help him run errands which I thought was hilarious.
At 16 getting my first license and the woman in front of me was my girlfriend's mom. I go out for the driving test right after her. I back out of the parking spot and there she is failing to back her car out of the angled parking spot. We wait patiently and the tester looks at me and says I'm glad I'm not in that car. She failed.
Red Means Go
When I took my preliminary driving test (was taking a course to get credit for my learners permit) I was driving with the instructor in the passenger seat and another student in the back seat. We are coming up on a red light and the instructor tells me "keep going through this red light and you'll turn left after that". So I ran the red light. Still got my permit too somehow.
Was the observer for a girl who barely knew how to drive. I think her parents sent her there to learn to drive not fine tune it. She couldn't put the car in gear, she pumped the breaks to stop, she forgot cars had momentum and coasted and she almost hit a car in a parking lot when a car backed up ahead of her, she sped on the highway and not just a little bit, but 10 over, and this was Virginia so speeding is kind of a big deal here, and she when doing her 3 point turn she didn't know you had to turn the wheel, somehow though after 2 weeks she passed the test.
I drove my ditsy girlfriend to the DMV to take her driving test when we were in high school. He came out to start the exam and stood in front of her car to check the blinkers before setting off. I drove her there in her mom's old Volvo and was watching from the waiting room.
He told her to turn on the blinkers, and she was trying, flipping the lever up and down, but they wouldn't work. So he said "Honey, you have to turn on the key to turn on the lights to use the blinkers"
She turned on the key too far, without her foot on the clutch, and the car jumped forward and hit him hard in the knees and knocked him down.
He just got up, and shook his head, and walked back inside. Didn't even pick up his clipboard. I just went back out and drove her home.
Bit of Excitement
Not a DMV employee but I passed my road test on a closed course and as I'm walking inside an older gentleman blows a stop sign and hits a van with a kid and an instructor. Continued to go forward and went over the curb into the grass. Must've thought he slammed his brakes but accelerated instead. Instructor side was hit and the kid was okay, just freaked out. The parent ran over and was bewildered (more worried about the car and insurance than their own kid it looked like) The people in the DMV as I'm paying the fee for my license said the instructor had an injured arm and the old guy who hit him was there to renew his license. Needless to say I doubt he's getting his license. Probably the one and only time I'll ever see such lively DMV employees. I do not envy what they deal with.
First and Last
I took my first road test with my driving instructor that taught me how to drive and a man who worked for the DMV and that day just happened to be his first day and I was his first student. First of all the test starts off horribly, 30 seconds into it I back out of my parking spot and almost back straight into a car not paying attention and zipping through the parking lot. At this point I think the new guy has completely given up on me even though this incident wasn't even my fault. I parallel park the way I was taught, nope not good enough for him. I stop at the stop sign for 3 seconds instead 5, more points coming off. Finally I pull back into a parking spot and of course am not parked straight enough for his liking so he proceeds to get out of the car and fail me. My driving instructor who taught me proceeds to get out of the car and lay into this guy. They get into a screaming match in the parking lot. After this screaming match the DMV driving instructor proceeds to walk up to the office and quit on the spot.
As a 15 year old driving student, on my first road training session, I pulled right out into traffic pretty swiftly and scared my instructor so badly his legs flew up into the air. He didn't know I had been driving for a while already and probably thought I was going to kill us both.
The one that caused my friend at the DMV to retire: he was doing a driver's test for a teenage girl and they went through a road work section with a narrow road because the shoulders were blocked for construction.
The girl couldn't keep the car steady and was driving way too fast and lost control, taking the car off the road into the construction area where they crashed into a backhoe tractor. The shovel went through the windshield and cracked his skull open.
He ended up with severe memory problems and some brain damage and had to retire. He's since recovered very well. This was over 20 years ago and he's fine now, but has some memory problems still.
I was in a driving school where you went out and drove twice, one time for 4 hours and one time for 2, the 2nd time being your test. The school itself is all ex cops and when you drive it's 1 on 1. My parents didn't take me out driving at all, so all of my experience was wrapped up in that first 4 hour, nerve wracking drive. I had just been on the freeway in heavy traffic and I had attempted to merge when a huge pickup blared it's horn at me. I swerved back into my lane but was clearly shook. We exited the freeway and pulled over. We got out of the car, I was crying, shaken. My 60 year old teacher felt so bad, he said, "Do you need a hug?" I nodded and he hugged me. It was so simple but so necessary. I still think about it every once in a while 6 years later; my parents weren't the best at that time in my life so that bit of care was awesome.
Not an instructor but the girl taking the test before me failed because she forgot to turn on the car. She was parked on a slight angle and I'm guessing she took the car's parking break off. Not sure. All he said was that she managed to crash into the next row of cars without turning it on.
Them's the Brakes
Sorta funny story, when I took my driving test I was nervous as anyone would be. So I start the test no problem following all instructions and traffic laws. No problem until the tester told me to parallel park. The side of the road was completely empty so I essentially hit the jackpot. I pull along side the sidewalk and park the car and reach for the parking break and instantly realize that I'm f'd!
I had left the brake on for the entire test, so I pretend to lift up the brake and the guy doesn't notice! Passed my test with no deductions.
Not me but a friend was in the DMV for 30 years so he has some good ones.
One time, he was testing this Indian lady who was in her 40s. She was doing not so great, so he decided she wasn't going to pass and asked her to take the next right so they could turn around in a parking lot.
The next right was after a large and busy rail yard with several train track crossings. The woman reached the first crossing, stopped, looked both ways, then proceeded to turn right onto the rail road tracks.
He immediately slammed the emergency brake and yelled at her to get out. He jumped into the drivers seat and reversed as quick as he could as a train began approaching and got them off the tracks.
They got back to the DMV and the lady asked him with a bright smile, "Did I pass?"
I fell asleep during driving lessons. I hit the curb and woke up and the instructor just thought I had a problem keeping the car straight. I was so tired because I was doing a program in school that required me to be at my work placement by like 5:30am and it was after school at this point.
Objects In Mirror
Currently a driving instructor at a DMV in Hartford, CT. During license tests I've experienced collisions with other vehicles, collisions with stationary objects, vehicles not starting due to mechanical failure, and keys locked inside of the vehicle. Luckily nothing catastrophic or life-threatening yet, though there's still plenty of time for that before retirement.
My favorite story was a license test with a 16-year-old girl who was very confident for the majority of her test. We pulled into a side street and I asked her to perform a three-point turn. Halfway through the maneuver, she froze and her face went pale as a ghost. She muttered "Uhhh..." a few times as she stared at her rearview mirror. I turned around to see for myself what was bothering her. It was a homeless person exposing himself in broad daylight.
As a 15-year-old female, I was doing my practice driving with my male mid-50's instructor. Understand that I learned on (and was more comfortable driving) a stick shift, but we were in the driving school's car, which was an automatic. We were driving along, having a nice conversation, when I signaled to make a right turn, and attempted to downshift only to grab my instructor's thigh... I was MORTALLY embarrassed! I was completely innocent at that time, I'd only ever been kissed, so this was extra embarrassing for me. He jumped, I let out a startled screech, and I had to pull over because I got the nervous giggles!
My dad's friend managed to run over his examiner during his test.
Back In the 60s my dad's friend was on his exam for his motorbike license. The instructor told him to drive up and down the street and he (the instructor) would step out in front of the bike so my dad's friend could perform an emergency stop.
He didn't stop in time.
My examiner fell asleep. I was supposed to merge onto the freeway, go down a couple exits, and then exit. Well 22 miles later, I was afraid to wake him up. I tried coughing loud, clearing my throat, nothing.
He just woke up and said "that's good son, let's exit here and turn around on the service road." So I did, and we drove back to the office, not saying a damn word.
Blue Lights in the Rear View
Not an instructor, but I got pulled over (by the police) on my driving test. The examiner said that was a first.
I was approaching a "4-way stop" and stopped before a cop car that was approaching on the right. Since I stopped first I proceeded, very confidently, forward. Except it wasn't a 4-way stop- there was no stop sign on their side. The cop almost hit me and then, of course, turned around and pulled me over. When he realized I was on my driving test he was kinda speechless, and you could tell he felt bad for me. This was like right after we made it out of the parking lot of the DMV too.
In case you were wondering, that is an automatic failure!
When I took my driving test, they did them two at a time. I had finished my test, and I was sitting in the back seat while this girl was doing her test.
We were in the right lane on a busy two-lane street approaching an intersection, and instructor told her, "Turn here." For some reason instead of turning right, she turned left through three lanes of traffic, causing people to slam on their brakes.
Then the instructor just says, "Oh, I meant for you to turn right" completely ignoring the fact that she just cut off three lanes of traffic with an illegal left turn. She passed.