By on November 6, 2017

driving test, Image: public domain

I’m going to wager that, as a percentage, ninety-nine and a bunch more nines of TTAC readers have their driver’s license. I mean, it’s not like the ranks of our readers are filled with youth wielding keyboards their parents’ basements or anything.

With such an august readership, I’m certain there is a story or two here about getting one’s driver’s license. Like mine, for instance.

My hometown is not very big. Still, two supermarkets and a brace of gas stations made it the biggest community in the area, meaning we got all the good stuff: hardware store, cop shop, … and the government testing facility for new drivers.

Now, when I say “ government testing facility,” what I actually mean is a dirt parking lot in front of the church and a few alder branches stuck in some rocks making a rough approximation of a parking stall. The man from Newfoundland’s Department of Motor Vehicles would visit our town at irregular intervals, given his office was two hours away. Gauging the driving prowess of a bunch of far flung 17-year-olds probably didn’t rank too high in his top forty. There was no graduated licensing program and certainly no driving schools.

If the person taking the driving test managed to heave their car between the alder twigs without knocking one over, they were then instructed to head out on public roads and take one of two routes. It was always one of two routes. They never changed. Ever. This was great news for a young Matthew Guy in 1997, who harassed his long-suffering father to take him on these routes before Testing Day so they could be memorized down to the last micron.

Naturally, I passed with flying colors. As Clarkson once stated, I viewed the experience not as a test but as a confirmation of my excellence. Also like Clarkson, I then managed to bin the family 1989 Ford Escort in short order, proving that granting a driver’s license simply for memorizing a route is probably not the best idea.

What’s your driver’s test story? Did you frighten the wee out of the aged instructor with a perfectly executed but unappreciated powerslide past the school? Or did you walk out of the DMV with a plastic card held high? And if I could offer a tip to the kids reading that other site: when the time comes to get your license, don’t simply memorize the route.

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42 Comments on “QOTD: Pass or Fail?...”

  • avatar

    Back when I took the driving test the Earth’s crust was near melting.
    First the examiner noted that the turn signal relay did not click loud enough for him.
    Towards the end of the drive he asked me to do a “turn-about”. Hunh?
    He said that everyone got instructed in that maneuver in Driver Training. Not in the course that I did in High School.
    He then described it, I did one and got a pass and a license.

  • avatar

    Oh boy.

    I did not grow up in the United States. Back home, I forged a birth certificate indicating my age as 18 years old when I was a few months over fifteen. Solely for the purpose of obtaining a driver’s license. Which was a precaution by my father, who had been told way too many stories by his friends seeing me driving on city streets my friends cars. I went through the school, passed the “start a manual car uphill without rolling back” driving test, and became the proud owner of a driver’s license. Moved to America, rented a bunch of cars totaling over a thousand miles worth of driving on American highways. Time for a NY State drivers license.

    Fail 1: Staten Island. Car: a friend’s Chrysler LeBaron, 10% braking capacity left, if that. Test occurred in an area with minimal marking, yet not a designated, closed course. The instructor gave me points for everything, and in the end simply printed the slip and said nothing. WTF? Apparently I stopped where there was no stop sign (there should have been hehe) so I left disoriented.

    Fail 2: Brooklyn. Car: a G6 rental. Executing a three-point turn, I forgot to put it in R from D. Car rolled forward an inch, before I coolly stopped to put it in R. Instructor panicked and shouted, and I couldn’t help laughing for a second at his panic. Well, that did me in. He actually realized I was experienced by the time we got back, explained he just couldn’t give me the license because of that “near accident situation,” but apologized anyway. Duuuude.

    Fail 3: Don’t remember where. Car: friend’s 2000s automatic Maxima. I don’t even remember why I failed it. Likely a bunch of points unannounced during the actual test. In the meanwhile, as the car guy for a bunch of friends, I have already become the butt of jokes.

    Pass 4: Brooklyn, same Maxima. I really didn’t expect to pass, but I knew I would the moment I pulled from the curb and reached the tricky 30mph nicely (they’d fail you for going too slow or surpassing 30). Went well. I thanked the instructor for her constructive demeanor even when she told me I deserved points for something.

    Because of this experience, I started training new driver friends on how to take the test. Three and counting, got theirs on first try after one or two 30 minute sessions of “how it works” beforehand with me!

  • avatar

    A small town in South Central Ontario, February 1970..A light freezing drizzle. The Minister of transport officer, looked at the few of us patiently waiting. The dude takes a peek at the sky, and makes his decision.

    “All right lets get started” says the uniformed dude.

    We walk out, and step into Moms 64 Biscayne, 6 cyl,Three on the tree, sans power steering, and power brakes. I go left, and right, stop at the unprotected rail tracks. Then the dreaded parallel park. The officer asks me “okay are you parked “?..”Not yet” says me. I hesitated then set the park brake. The dude opens the door, and eyes the curb, and scratched something on his clip board.

    He directs me up a hill. At this point the rain is picking up. Half way up the hill the Chevy looses traction. I push in the clutch with my foot on the brake, and back ever so slowly down the hill. “Okay now head back to the office”. I executed a three point turn..I remember thinking “maybe I should of backed into a driveway, instead of the three point turn ?”. I had left the shifter in first gear..”was that cool ? ” I guess I’m going to know soon.

    With the car parked, he shows me my test results. He didn’t fail me on the parallel park..He just pointed out “I was too far from curb”

    Being 16 years old, my focus was on was the check mark at the bottom of the sheet.

    Pass !

  • avatar

    I started driving when I was at least a year too young to have a license in New York State. I was able to drive because the junker car my parents let me have, a 54 Chrysler New Yorker DeLux, had a non-functioning automatic transmission. I was able to fix the transmission, and when my parents weren’t around, I used to go out and drive. No license, no registration.

    One night I got stopped by one of the 2 cops in the small town. The cop was outraged. “I could take your license away on the spot” he shouted. I refrained from pointing out that I had no license, so it would be hard for him to take it away. Finally, not knowing what else to do, he told me to go home and not to drive around any more.

    I got my learner’s permit the day I turned 16, and took the driver’s test a week later. The inspector flunked every hot shot 16 year old guy who took the test for the first time. I took it a week later and passed. Life has never been the same since.

  • avatar

    Took the driving test in a smallish college town a few miles south of Lake Ontario. In March. In a lake effect snowstorm. Nothing else moving, no cars on the streets, no K-turn lest we get stuck. Parallel parking couldn’t really be graded as neither the instructor or I could see the curb due to the snow. I’m not sure there was a curb. Didn’t skid through any stop signs and no drifting, although a Pontiac with a 389 V8 was certainly capable of it, as I well knew because my Dad had made sure I had some practice on skid recovery beforehand.
    So given that I didn’t get stuck or hit anything, and I returned the instructor in one piece, I passed.

  • avatar

    I grew up in South Dakota at a time that you could get your learner’s permit at age 14, then had 6 months & 3 driving test attempts before having to start the process over again on a new permit. A successful test meant a restricted license (driving alone 6AM-8PM, with supervision overnight) till age 16.
    IIRC on test #1 the instructor failed me because I was turning right from a broad 2-lane road onto a side road at a T-intersection, & had moved a car’s width to the right because there was a car behind me going straight through.
    #2 I think the fail was stopping too deep at an intersection with an obstructed view. (Which I’d seen my parents do at that same intersection a thousand times.)
    I passed on #3.

    When I got my motorcycle endorsement I got the motorcycle learner’s permit then took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, to avoid needing to do the state test on my own bike that I hadn’t even bought yet.

  • avatar

    I worked on the dairy farm of family friends all through the summer of my 14th and 15th years – and everything I drove was manual (unsynchronized) transmissions, manual steering and brakes, and everything I drove had something being towed, either on a three-point hitch, like a farm implement, or a regular ball hitch trailer, with plenty of backing up and tight maneuvering mixed. And 90% of my driving was on unpaved, low-traction surfaces with lots of hidden obstacles. The other 10% of my driving was on regular paved roads, to go to the farm supply place, feed store or gas station.

    My road test came after 2 summers of this kind of thing, in a 1973 LTD with power steering and brakes and automatic transmission, on a paved road, with no trailer behind it. I felt like I had nothing to do with my hands…

    The examiner sat in silence except for telling me where to turn and to do a three-point turn and parallel park.

    After we stopped, he looked at my learner’s permit again…”you just turned 16 three weeks ago?” he said. “How did you learn to drive?”

    When I told him, he laughed. “Me, too. Lots tougher than this, right?”

    The measure of how difficult it is to get a drivers license in the U.S. can be summed up in one question: do any posters here know anyone who is legally entitle to hold a license, who wants a license, who does not have a license?

    Yeah – I didn’t think so. So we have a test that basically 100% of applicants can pass. Some screening device, huh? And the quality of driving skills we see on the roads every day reflects that.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Took my driver’s test in Scarborough the eastern suburb of Toronto. Bypassed the regular ‘G’ license and went for the now defunct, upgraded ‘chauffeurs license’ (being an arrogant SOB at the time). Took the road test in a then brand new early 70’s Lincoln Town Car that The Old Man lent me. Black with a red tufted velour interior. The ‘tester’ spent nearly all his time talking about the car. Knew that I was going to pass when he walked to the car and said “wow, I have always wanted to drive in one of these”. If you could parallel park one of those boats, then they were probably going to pass you anyway.

    Remember that back then, there were regarded the same way that an S-class would be regarded now.

  • avatar

    I failed my first test in January 1994. The lady said I failed to notice the snow plow in the parking lot of the testing centre, even though the plow was parked.

    Second time (March 1994) I got a different tester and there wasn’t much snow. Passed without a problem that time.

    I heard from other people at school that they also were failed by the unpleasant lady that tested me during attempt one.

    Oh yeah, my test vehicle was Ste. Therese’s finest model built at 4:55 on a Friday, an ’87 Chevy Celebrity.

  • avatar

    I failed my driver’s test the first time. I mean, I was really an excellent driver (as 16-year-olds go). I’d been driving on my own, late at night after my parents were asleep, since I was 13. But still I failed.

    The problem was that I lived in Alaska, and took my driver’s test in the winter. As any Alaskan knows, in the winter you get massive snow berms from the plows at every intersection. So if you stop at a stop sign, you can’t see anything; you have to pull a few feet past the stop sign to be able to see around the snow berm.

    So I did what every licensed driver does. I stopped where I could see traffic, which was a few feet after the stop signs, checked for safety, and then proceeded. And, while obvious in hindsight, the scorer would have preferred that I stop at the stop sign, then creep forward a few feet, and then continue.

    On the bright side, she was impressed that I parallel parked my dad’s mid-80s 3-speed Suburban in one try, and with my flawless merge onto the highway.

    Second attempt I aced it, by driving like nobody with a license would ever drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      I regularly butted heads my first driving instructor regarding the “stop LEVEL with the stop sign!” requirement. In addition to making zero sense when you can’t see oncoming traffic, stopping more than once seemed like an invitation to get rear-ended by traffic behind you.

  • avatar

    No real problems actually passing my driver’s tests (although the first portion to get my motorcycle license took two tries because I wasn’t great with the low-speed control), although the union that handled licensing went on a two-month strike the week before my 16th birthday.

    That said, on the drive home from getting my full license, I stuffed my car into a ditch doing a three-point turn. as it was so full of snow, it looked like a flat piece of land, and my Intrepid had roughly the same turning circle as the aircraft carrier that shares its name.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a motorcycle certification also, but never took the test, because of an oddity in Florida law. New laws go into effect on either January or July 1st. Getting my license in late June, I just asked to be certified. They would do it for anyone who asked, but couldn’t give the test yet.

      • 0 avatar

        Three-stage here – there’s a written permit that lasts for 90 days, the parking lot test is good for up to 5 years, and then the road test gets you your full license. Considering both driving tests are more thorough than for car drivers, it’s weird how much easier it is to be allowed to drive the thing that stands a better chance of harming others.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    Parked my brother’s 92 cavalier with tires turned towards curb in the road test waiting parking line to impress the instructor. all lights etc. worked, but when it was time to pull out forgot to straighten the wheel and climbed on curve. Needless to say automatic fail. Got the license in the second try.
    My sister failed, because she got points first time around for being overly defensive, taken to be not confident and the other time for speeding and not waiting enough. Third try she got the balance and barely passed with a frowning instructor.
    My wife lucked out in that it was snowing so she could be completely defensive without appearing nervous.

  • avatar

    Passed on first try – nothing too exciting really. June 1970 in Titusville, Florida. The examiner had me drive around in the couple of neighborhood blocks surrounding the license office. The only tricky part was parallel-parking a massive 1968 Mercury Marquis coupe.

  • avatar

    I passed on the first try, and it was pretty uneventful. I remember that I got a few points for missing a speed limit sign (in my defense, it was obscured by some very low-hanging tree branches) and for not signaling when I was pulled to the curb in a neighborhood, but otherwise nothing major.

    When I moved to Utah (granted, there was no driving test involved), I was pretty blown away by the fact that they handed me the manual to use on the written test.

  • avatar

    After getting my learner’s permit (written test) at 15 in the mid 1980s my parents taught me to drive in my mothers Dodge Omni hatchback. Where I lived at the time was a brand new small subdivision (maybe 30 houses total) that was still under construction. Our house was number 6, so nobody really lived there yet leaving the streets empty. There was a T-junction, one stop sign and two dead ends. So I practiced driving around and around in this micro neighborhood learning to shift and getting the general feel of things. Then when traffic was light after school I would drive myself to work with my mother instructing me. I learned to deal with traffic and various signaled intersections. My father would pick me later but I couldn’t drive back home since “learners” weren’t allowed to drive after sunset.

    After about year of this it was time for the much feared road test required to get my full license. At the DMV that test consisted of doing various parking lot maneuvers in mom’s little 5 speed hatchback. The instructor had me drive around the block on a busy-ish 4 land road in a commercial / retail area. Her only question was if I knew how to shift out of 3rd and into 4th, I told her I did but that would require going faster then posted speed limit. So it was more like a moving slowly around block and thru a parking lot test. I never went on any highway, never had to merge or change lanes. The whole thing seemed like a joke. Since the Omni was small with a large rear glass hatch visibility was excellent which meant parallel parking was breeze. Thus I had no trouble passing on attempted #1. I found getting all gold in Gran Turismo’s brutal license tests on the PlayStation many years later a much greater challenge, plus I actually learned something related to car control.

  • avatar

    It was (significantly) harder for me to get my racing licenses in Gran Turismo. That’s problematic.

  • avatar

    I failed on my first attempt to get a learner’s permit. I didn’t even get to take the test. I failed the vision exam. After 15 years, someone finally figured out that I’m half blind.

  • avatar

    My smallish town had one hated examiner and a few decent ones – and I got the despised one. Rumour had it that he would immediately fail anyone who stopped before exiting the parking lot onto the busy adjacent street. (No stop sign so no reason to stop if traffic was clear.). His favourite route was down a street with electricity towers in the middle and disappearing lanes as the road went around the towers. (A quick fail if your driving instructor had not taken you down this obstacle course.) I managed to pass but he deducted marks for “uncertain acceleration” – which really was the crappy driving school car hesitating on its own accord.

    Still not as bad as my dad’s test, where the instructor encouraged him to go through a red light as there was no traffic around! (I doubt there was more than a handful of traffic lights at the time.)

  • avatar

    Never failed or had anything interesting happen during my license test, but I failed my graduation test of Drivers Ed when I failed to signal every single time I made a move during the 3 point turn, IE, signaling to start it, signaling the opposite direction when backing up, signalling again when moving forward and then signaling to go back into traffic, I think I only the first and last ones, like most people do. That was the first and last time I drove a Chevy Optra. I then went to a different town and redid the test in a Yaris sedan and a 3 point turn wasn’t even involved, and never had to do one to get my license either.

  • avatar

    My test was criminally easy. Right out of the parking log, u-turn in a cul-de-sac, left back into the parking lot. This was in an already urbanized area, although most of the state is rural so maybe they just make it easy. Years later I happened to be working at the HQ of our motor vehicle department and saw a guy “reading” the test to his friend because the person taking the test did not speak English.

  • avatar

    I sorta failed before I ever took the car out of park. S/he had me do a demonstration of hand signals. S/he said I did them all wrong. I went into the licensing center and looked at the manual. I was doing them correctly. Next try, I miraculously did them right, despite having done them exactly as I did the first time. Eye rolling aside, I was permitted to continue the test.

    I had points deducted for driving too slow, but nothing else, and so I passed. That instructor can rest assured that I never made that mistake again (driving too slow), certainly not in the years immediately following the test. Ha!

    You know, in about 20 years of driving since that test, I’ve never encountered a situation where I had to back around a street corner into a parking spot. Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I never took a driving test as such. Just drove the driver’s ed car around for a few hours, got a form to take to the DMV, and traded that in for a license.

  • avatar

    I successfully completed all of the required elements of the driving test (eg:, parallel park, 3 point turn, etc.) on my first try but failed the test due to deletions on more subjective things like “failed to check mirrors” (even though I did do so). When I was done and went to undo my seat belt I noticed that I had neglected to engage it in the first place. I was too busy checking my mirrors to notice the seat belt warning light blaring away on the dash.

  • avatar

    My wife watched her younger brother blow a stop sign and he still passed.

    When I went for my motorcycle license I took a dual sport Yamaha XT 600 and was admonished for not slowing enough for a the speed bump. I just shook my head.

    • 0 avatar

      You should have jumped it.

      • 0 avatar

        I could not find a buddy to go with me to my motorcycle road test. I loaded the bike in my utility trailer and parked in the adjacent dirt lot with the ramp down on the paved portion of the driving test lot. The examiner, once he realized that I was alone was going to fail me for riding un-escorted to the road test. He was part way through his rather long rant and I held up my arm and pointed to the end of the lot. He finally looked. His face turned as bright red as the colour of my trailer. He signed off and I reloaded my bike and went on my merry way.
        That same day I got pulled over by the police for speeding. I sheepishly fessed up that I was over exuberant about passing my road test. The constable recognized me ended up giving me a warning.

  • avatar

    I took my test in 1995 in my 1988 Ramcharger, passing on the first try. The totality of the driving test was the closed course adjacent to the MVA parking lot. Completed everything despite the bollards within which I had to parallel park being well below the beltline of the truck and set narrower than the truck’s width. After completing the parallel park the “officer” conducting the test started to say something, ostensibly my next instruction, then froze.

    Blinking, fidgeting, but without stammering, she sat there for what seemed an eternity. I’m guessing she forgot where she was in her script, or realized she was about to tell me to proceed without checking how far I was from the white line. She opened the door, checked I was close enough, closed the door. then sat staring straight ahead again. I sat there staring at hear in a near panic. She cleared her voice and was back on script. The rest was uneventful.

    My driving instruction class had an actual on-road portion I had to complete prior to taking my license test. The last drive of that class had me and a classmate split a round-trip drive from our town to the beach town about 35 minutes away. We were supposed to alternate turns driving first and it was my turn but the instructor, a genial grandfatherly fellow, flatly stated I was to take a backseat and let my classmate go first. The classmate was a cute, petite latina who was exceedingly uncomfortable behind the wheel. I suspect the instructor wanted to get her session out of the way while there was ample daylight and/or to manage his stress better. We weren’t halfway back to my high school when I noticed he was sleeping in the passenger seat. I felt I had to politely waken him before making the turn off the highway.

  • avatar

    I got 96% on my driver’s test. 80% was a pass.

    BUT…it was an automatic fail if you did one of a handful of things. Which I did. I was supposed to make a left hand turn. I did. But the tester said I should have allowed a car that was coming towards me to go first. I will swear to my dying breath, that the car was plenty far away, and I made a perfectly safe left hand turn. But he didn’t see it that way. So I failed the test with a 96% score.

    And then I took it again 2 days later and passed with a 91%.

    Government at its finest!

  • avatar

    Almost exactly 10 years ago at the now-closed North Attleboro RMV…I pulled into the intersection yielding and waiting to make a left on a solid green, exactly as I was instructed by literally everyone (including my driver’s ed instructor!). Light turned yellow, and a gap finally appeared…it turned red before I made it out of the intersection. No law was violated, IMHO, since I entered the intersection on a green…yet I still failed because I “could be cited for running a red” according to the examiner. I was apparently supposed to wait behind the line the entire time…

    Thankfully, the second time went better. I messed up the parallel parking part, but still passed.

  • avatar

    It was a very cold January day in Cambridge. January 17th, of 1970, or maybe it was January something else and 17 degrees. My father had recently bought the ’62 Falcon, with 90k on the clock, for $200 (around $1000 current dollars), to tide us over until the following fall, when we’d be going on Sabbatical at Stanford, and they’d be getting a new car. Anyway, Dad and I had had to wait for the test for 45 minutes or something, and the Falcon had sat out in the cold, freezing. So, when we finally got into the car, it was running rough. I got her out onto the main road, Concord Ave., and I was having trouble keeping her from stalling out. Finally, she lit, and I gave her the gas, and soon we were doing 30. At which point the guy giving the test asked me if I knew the speed limit. I think I knew that it was 25. Anyway, he gave me my license despite that glitch. And the following late summer, I drove the Falcon to Stanford.

  • avatar

    I took my test in a 1968 Galaxie 500 running bias ply tires. It had disc front brakes and drums in the back. I recall being rather nervous. My dad let me drive so as to get the jitters out of my system. I approached a major intersection and did not notice that it was a really stale green light. The light turned red and I locked up all four wheels and promptly skidded to a dead stop in the middle of the intersection. Fortunately there was little traffic. I “sh!t” myself due to that boneheaded move and was expecting my dad to chew me out. I nervously looked at him. He laughed out loud and said, ” Just don’t do that during the driver’s test.” I passed with flying colours. Thanks dad.

  • avatar

    Failed on my first attempt, and knew it was going to happen as soon as I realised which person was going to administer the driving test.

    The driver testing centre in Wicklow town, Co. Wicklow, Ireland had a female tester who – quite literally – hated men. This attitude was not one that she displayed only in the course of her official duties: she was well-known for it outside of the testing centre as well. If nothing else, she was at least consistent.

    In any event, as soon as I saw her walking over to the passenger door of the driving-school Daihatsu Domino I had brought with me for the test, I knew that I was completely screwed. Things did not improve when she got in, sat down, closed the door, and didn’t make eye contact or say a word, but did start scribbling notes on her clipboard before the car was even started.

    (Side note to kei car enthusiasts: the Daihatsu Domino is not a kei car you should, under any circumstances, wish to own or drive because they’re truly horrid little shitboxes.)

    Eventually she got on with instructing me to pull out of the car park. After some more instruction from her involving where to go and what to do, we ended up going down a narrow two-way street, lined on both sides with parked cars and only just wide enough for the Domino to make it down. Having spotted two gaps that were more or less opposite each other in the lines of parked cars, she instructed me to do a three-point turn.

    I pointed out that there was one car behind us, another car coming the other way, and that I didn’t feel that this was a suitable place to perform that manoeuvre. Her response: “I don’t give a f***, do the f***ing turn.”

    Knowing that I was pre-failed, a certain amount of insouciance regarding the situation crept into my being. “Not a problem,” I said, as cheerily as possible while generating as much uncomfortable direct eye contact as I could.

    Approximately 27 turns later, the Daihatsu was halfway through its 3-point-turn manoeuvre and completely blocking the street. Angry motorists on both sides of the car were now leaning out of their vehicles’ windows and quite loudly questioning the copulative identity of the person who would decide that making that particular manoeuvre in that particular location was in any way, shape, or form a good idea.

    I put the car in neutral, set the handbrake, switched off the engine, and turned to the tester. “Well, that appears to have gone well. Would you like me to finish it?”

    “GOBACKTOTHEF***INGTESTCENTRERIGHTF***INGNOW!” she roared. “Fine,” I replied, “but I need to take care of something first.”

    With that, I got out of the car, explained to both of the other drivers exactly what had happened complete with making sure that they saw exactly who was administering the test, and apologised to them for the inconvenience. Both of them completely understood once they saw who was in the passenger seat, one even making the rather astute observation of, “ah, not that miserable auld hoor. Jaysus, yer f***ed.”

    Eventually, with the Daihatsu finally pointed in a direction that would allow it to actually use the road rather than block it, traffic managed to work its way around itself, and I headed back to the testing centre – as indirectly as I possibly could with my foot mashed to the floor the entire way, and the tester in complete and utter fear of her life every inch of the way.

    It’s interesting how fast 23mph can be perceived to be when the tachometer needle is perpetually buried 700rpm into the red and you’re flinging a tall and narrow car around like it’s a Ford GT40.

    On the next attempt I went with the South Dublin testing centre and had no such issues, walking out with a pass.

  • avatar

    I aced my regular license exam the first time, my motorcycle license exam the first time, my class-A CDL exam the first time, and my rough terrain forklift certification the first time. They were all very easy and boring. Driver education is a joke in this country.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I got a DUI in my Roaring Twenties. I obeyed the strictures and didn’t drive a car for an entire year, though I did fire up my old 944 once a week to keep it running. In truth it wasn’t that bad: I lived and worked downtown and, as a country boy, thought that taking the bus/train was awesome anyway. I had to take a driver’s test to regain my license and showed up early with all the paperwork in perfect order. The examiner and I got into some OldsmoBuick and he went over the documents. He then mentioned my last name and asked if I had a brother. I said, “I had two brothers but the youngest one was killed last year as a result of a car crash. He was thrown from the passenger seat, though – he wasn’t driving.” The examiner looked at his papers and said, “I taught him to drive.” After an uncomfortable silence he said, “Well, let’s make it look good and go for a drive. You passed.” We went around the block once in complete silence.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I didn’t take my road test at the DMV. I took mine at drivers ed. It was quite interesting. I was on a major 4 lane road with a turn lane where I needed to make a proper left. In Florida at the time, inside to inside or outside to outside was the law in regards to turning. At any rate, I came upon my left turn in the turn lane and signaled properly. The light was “Yield left on Green”. I stopped seeing that a car was about to come through. As soon as I stopped the instructor asked why I didn’t take the green, as the car coming was still 100 yards from the intersection. I said I wasn’t sure if we’d make it. He scoffed.

    4 people loaded up in a a mid-90’s escort would NEVER have made that left with the car coming, and still maintain inside to inside. I could have swung out at a higher speed, but that would not have been lawful. He didn’t dock me on points or anything because I didn’t do anything technically wrong.

  • avatar

    My own personal driver’s test story is nothing exciting, minus the stress of driving around a city with one-way streets versus the small suburb where I had taken my lessons. The only point I got off was “too fast for conditions” when we turned and headed into the sun and I fumbled with the sun visor on the instructor’s K-car trying to pull it down.

    My wife on the other hand… Failed her first attempt after stopping at a pedestrian crossing because someone was standing there. She waved them, they waved her, etc… A Canadian standoff… Finally she realized they weren’t intending to cross and went through. Ding! Fail.

    I also recall my mother telling me a story of her test. Rather than drive on actual streets, the testing centre in Toronto actually had a course set up. During her test, she stopped at a traffic light. Instructor said she wasn’t supposed to stop, because there was sign that gave hours the light was non-functioning. In reality the sign had so much printing that she stopped to make sure she read it clearly and didn’t drive through a red light and fail.

  • avatar

    Passed mine on the first try, but do have a couple stories to relate.

    I worked for a year as a driving instructor (not examiner, different functions in Ontario). As part of their tuition, we took the students to their road tests and they used our cars. One day, it was a full-on winter blizzard, when we arrived at the testing centre (despite almost getting stuck in a snow drift) I fully expected to be informed that testing was cancelled for the day… but no, they were still working. So, out comes the examiner, of course the one with the reputation for passing nobody, and she asks me “are you sure you want to do this?”. I say sure, I have confidence in my student. I’m sitting in the near-empty waiting room (I guess most of the candidates had cancelled) when they return from the test, and the examiner (who normally wouldn’t say anything to the instructor) comes in and announces to the world “well, she only spun out twice!” and hands me the paperwork: Pass. (Student says there were no spin-outs, btw.)

    Second, I relate the story of my mother. Taking her testing in 1950-something, she rear-ended a bus. Not too hard, I guess, no substantial damage to either vehicle, no police required in those days, etc. For some reason, the examiner then continued the test, but she was sure she had failed. At the end of the test, however, the examiner said that anyone who could drive as well as she had after a traumatic event like that deserved a license: Pass.

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