The Top Ten Driving Test Horror Stories Ever

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For an auto enthusiast, taking your road test should be a great day you look forward to for years but, sometimes, it doesn't quite turn out right.

10.) Hit A Car On The Way To The DMV


This story from JohnnyWasASchoolBoy has a happy ending, so it's only good for number 10 on this list but still a good one.

"We didn't have a DMV in our town so with my mom I drove our old Volvo to the next town for my test. We had about an hour to kill so we went to the mall to get some lunch. When I backed out of the parking stall (to go take my road test) I turned too early and creased the entire right rear quarter panel of the car next to me.

Horrified I looked at my mom, "What do we do now?". Mom says "We leave a note, put it out of your mind for the next couple of hours, go do your test, and we'll deal with the insurance later."

As I'm writing the note the car's owner shows up, and asks what happens. I tell him the whole story - including the bit about just having a learner's permit and being on the way to take my road test. The guy looks at me, smiles and says "It's a rental, it's insured, and I never saw the car that hit me. Go take your test."

I passed. I was a nervous wreck for a while. But I did pass."

Suggested By: JohnnyWasASchoolBoy, Photo Credit: sidkid

9.) Insulting Tester


Doctor-G-and-the-wagen got berated about his personal life. I've heard of crotchety people working for the DMV but this?

"The time I had a super conservative instructor somehow find out I came from a divorced family, who pretty much failed me for any excuse possible while making remarks about my "broken/problem family". Still the only time I've been discriminated for that, and I've done way worse things than have parents who hated each other. (And if anyone's wondering, no this person isn't giving out tests anymore.)"


Suggested By: Doctor-G-and-the-wagen, Photo Credit: Oregon Department Of Transportation

8.) Lighting Up Before You Go


No, I'm not talking about doing a burnout xequar had a road tester light one up in their mom's car.

"I got this crotchety old woman that was the exact stereotype of grizzled DMV worker as the test facilitator. We were in my mom's one-year old Pontiac Grand Am, and my mom had to ride along for the test (which meant she had to take a day off of work). It was pouring down rain, yet this grizzled crone insisted upon trying to find mechanical flaws with the car (any visible issues resulted in an auto-fail). She finally gets in the car, soaking wet, and proceeds to light a cigarette in my mom's reasonably new car! Of course, my mom put a stop to that straight away, then we started the test.

The parking skills portion was fine. I even parallel parked in one try. The crone did get out with a tape measure to see if I had gone past or short of the "stop line" (two cones, no visible marking). Then we got out onto the road. Test seemed like it went fine. I followed her instructions and directions and did a circuit around town. No commentary, no chit-chat, just a basic driving test.

We get back to the office, and this old battleaxe of a woman proceeds to berate me on what a terrible driver I am and berated my mother for not properly instructing me. I stopped at every Stop sign, then proceeded to the corner cautiously, stopped to verify it was clear, then actually went. She deducted points every time because she said my front bumper passed the physical sign and I did not spend enough time at the sign (apparently coming to enough of a stop to allow the suspension to fully rebound, looking, then proceeding wasn't long enough for her). She claimed I ignored a railroad crossing at which I stopped and looked both ways twice before crossing. Of course, I'm about to freak out because I'm thinking I did a fine job and now I'm not going to get a license and bla bla blah. My mother finally cuts the crone off and says in that tone of voice I know to mean that she's about two seconds from going over a counter, "OK, we get it. What's the score?"

I passed. She had deducted all the bullshit points she could think of, and I still passed. My mother's reply was something to the effect of "Apparently he's not nearly as bad of a driver as you think he is, then!" grabbed the paper from the crone's hand and walked away. Twenty minutes later, I had a freshy laminated driver's license."


Suggested By: xequar, Photo Credit: Michael Dougherty

7.) Only Took Four Tries


Fourth times a charm? For Joe Carbonfibre it was.

"The first time was in McKinney, Texas. It's a small dump of an office and not a welcoming place. The instructor came out and I tried to be as nice as possible, but she was colder than an ALS ice bucket. I nailed parallel parking and the drive around seemed to go well enough. My only worry was there was a stretch of road between leaving a residential before going to the main road without a speed limit so I guessed it was 30, and the lady didn't say anything. We got back to the DMV and that's when she told me I failed because I broke the law "going 31 in a 30". I was pissed but I rescheduled the test. I talked to the police officer there and he couldn't believe it.

The second time I had to drive all the way out to Sherman, Texas which the building is even smaller and out of date. Again I nailed parallel parking and again I felt that the drive around went well until the end. There was a traffic light flashing red. I treated it like a 4 way stop and while I proceeded into the intersection a car coming from the other way was near, but not close, to us so the instructor pulled the e-brake on me and we stopped in the intersection while the car continued to come at us. She failed me because for some reason she felt I put us in danger (she was the one who pulled the e brake) and that I didn't assume the stoplight was working in the other direction. I was furious but I rescheduled for one back at McKinney. There was no way I was going to fail a third time (or so I thought)

By now I was an expert at what to do. I was not nervous until I saw who would be giving the test, THE SAME LADY WHO FAILED ME THR FIRST TIME. I tried to stay calm but I knew I was screwed. I nailed parallel parking yet again and because we took the same route, I knew all the speed limits. Except there was a detour at the end and I was on a busy road without a speed limit. I guessed 40 and went 39 (so if it was 45 I'd also be fine). Then in the mirror I saw a truck weaving through lanes and it started tailgating us. I stayed calm but did not speed up because I was not going to fail again. We returned and that's when she told me that I was going too slow because it was a 45 zone and that I was impeding traffic. I went ballistic and got a load of bs from her supervisor. Because I failed 3 times I had to re do all the paper work and I got my picture taken again, and talk about bad pictures. I seriously looked like I was about to burn the DMV down (something I had considered if I failed again).

My fourth time I went all the way out to Garland. It was the middle of June and I had been 16 since the beginning of February. I was defeated and considered giving up. The DMV in Garland was bigger and nicer but the weather was crappy so I was not feeling good. I screwed up parallel parking but she said I was good. The driving part was fine and she even told me I could speed up. I passed with no problems other than she wrote down I was a little slow. But I finally and my license.

Moral of the story, if you're in the DFW area, go to Plano or Garland if you want to pass."


Suggested By: Joe Carbonfibre, Photo Credit: Getty Images

6.) State Trooper Won't Buckle His Belt


Reader autojim had a state trooper that wouldn't buckle his belt. It only gets worse from there.

"On the morning of my 16th birthday in 1984, Dad took me over to Jenks to the driver's license testing facility in his shiny-new company car (1985 Chevrolet Caprice). Went through all the paperwork, no problem, now just had to take the driving test. I was prepped, including knowing what to do at the double stop sign (seriously, two stop signs on the same post) that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers liked to use to trip up new drivers.

Trooper gets in the car, asks to see the registration and insurance. I hand them to him. Because it's a company car, it's not in Dad's name.

Fail before we even get started.

I got the staple of shame on my permit, where they'd stapled the test slip to it. Now I was going to have TWO sets of staple holes, indicating a failed test.

Go home, get Mom's 1983 Caprice (which IS in our name, and was Dad's previous company car), go back. Get different trooper, this one easily well over 300 lbs.

Paperwork checks okay.

Nicely ask trooper to fasten his seat belt (this is before mandatory seat belt laws). He declines. Ask again, very nicely, explain it's a family rule. He begrudgingly fastens belt.

First test, parallel parking. Our driver's ed cars were Renault Appliances donated by the local AMC dealer, and this was a flippin' Caprice. Still, managed to nail it in one pass. Trooper actually exited the vehicle to verify placement.

And then gave me the stinkeye when I didn't move the vehicle until he'd refastened his seat belt. Oh, shit.

He ran me through every trap, every trick possible around the test facility. I managed to avoid them all. This only made him try to sweat me more. Double stop sign? Check. Stop sign so far back from intersection so you can't see well enough to proceed safely without making a second stop past the sign? Check. Inexplicable drop in speed limit to 10 mph (from 25) in a neighborhood? Check.

Eventually, he gave up. Back to the testing center, dings me 1 point for the parallel parking — I wasn't quite parallel enough, apparently, even though both right side wheels were within the allowable distance from the curb.

Oh, and the best part? The clerk who stapled my 2nd test slip to my permit did so using the existing staple holes. NO STAPLE HOLES OF SHAME! And I couldn't have been happier about that "Restriction Lifted" sticker on the back."


Suggested By: autojim, Photo Credit: SmartSign

5.) Failed For Parking In The Wrong Spot


Chairman Kaga failed his test before he even started! It was for a ridiculous reason too.

"Parked the family Taurus at Arkansas State Police Troop K headquarters in Hot Springs and walked inside for my driving test appointment.

Rang the bell at the desk and Officer Friendly (no shit, that was his name) ambled around the corner. He stared at me. Unblinking.

"I'm here for my driving test." Meekly.

No words. He picked up a clipboard and his jacket and walked around the corner.

"What the hell you waiting for? I don't have all day for this shit."

At this point I'm certain he'll "find" some weed in my mom's car, but I trot along behind nonetheless.

"Where you parked?"

I pointed to my mom's faded blue Ford across the lot.

"Goddammit boy, that lot is for State Police only. Did you not see the goddamn sign?"

Well no. And in fact, there was no sign.

"You fail. Come back in 30 days, and don't fuck up again. Jee-zus Christ, you kids are all a buncha goddamn fuckin' idjits."

It was another year before I gathered up the courage to retest."

Suggested By: Chariman Kaga, Photo Credit: Getty Images

4.) 'Wordlessly I Gave Him The Door Handle'


Reader sgtyukon took his test in an old Dodge beater that might have helped him pass by virtue of how crappy it was.

"I was 17 and in dress rehearsals for a school play, so I had grey hair. I took the test in the family car, a '56 Dodge that can most kindly be described as a bomb! No steering wheel cover, no horn ring, no inside door panel on the passenger side, passenger door banged in, and the muffler was going, so it resonated inside the car rather obviously, even worse if I had the windows up. I had them down, all of them, in November, in New York.

Inspector gets in the car, checks my paperwork, looks at me and says, "How old are you? I told him I was 17 and since he didn't ask why I had grey hair, I didn't tell him. But he shoved his clipboard toward me and said, "Sign this!" so I did. Then, he noticed the steering wheel and asked if I could blow the horn. I said I wasn't sure because I never had to. I blew it though, so he had to look for some other excuse. He noticed the absence of the passenger door panel and consequently the door handle. He asked, "How do you get out of this thing?" Wordlessly, I gave him the door handle. He didn't ask for the handle to roll up the window, so I didn't give him that. As I said, you could hear the bad muffler better if the windows were up.

I passed the first time I actually took the test. I always thought it was because the instructor wanted to be sure he never had to ride in that old Dodge again."


Suggested By: sgtyukon, Photo Credit: Dodge

3.) 'It Was An Awkward Ride Home'


Jalopnik's own Mike Ballaban has an absolutely cringe worthy road test story.

"So, being the person that I always have been, I was all excited to get my driver's license as soon as possible. In New York, the minimum age for a license is 17, so I made sure that I'd be good to go on my 17th birthday, and scheduled the test ahead of time, just to leave nothing up to chance.

A few days after that, my then-girlfriend at the time cheerily informed me that she, too, had scheduled her test not only at the exact same day, but the exact same time. Hooray. Really what you need, when you need no distractions, and you're 16 – a girl, who may or may not be interested in you (doesn't matter if she's dating you at the moment, when you're 16, you never really know for sure), watching you at what might be your greatest achievement, or your greatest tragedy.

But because the test was scheduled already, and re-scheduling meant a delay of approximately two months, I gritted my teeth, smiled, and said "hooray."

Fast forward a few weeks, to the day of the big test. I've put on a nice shirt, and some nice pants, and some nice shoes, and some nice hair, because I want the road test examiner to like me. Like me so much, in fact, that my overwhelming charisma would make her give me a shiny, brand-new license, by sheer force of will.

That's not how road tests entirely work, however, so I was forced to line up in my dad's car, with all the other cars, early on the morning of the test. And just a few cars behind me was the then-girlfriend, along with her dad, who really still is just one of the nicest guys I've ever met.

Before the test began, some official came by to just make sure everything was on the up-and-up.

And that's when they informed us that the registration on my dad's car was expired by two days. Two days. And my dad and I would have to go back my home, since an unregistered car couldn't partake in the test, and we'd have to wait another two months to re-schedule, and I would thus be forced to wait a few weeks of being 17 and not having my license, and the world was surely about to end, my life was over, everything was terrible.

My dad turned the car around, while I dejectedly slumped into my seat. As we were turning back to go home, we stopped by the then-girlfriend and her dad, still waiting on line so that she could take her road test. We explained to them the situation, and why we had just turned around.

"Why don't you just take it in my car?" her dad offered.

"Wait, seriously?" I asked. This was huge. I would actually, seriously, really, finally be able to take my road test, something I'd looked forward to for years.

"Of course," he said. Suddenly, the Curse of the Distraction had turned into the Blessing of Destiny.

We checked with the adjudicators, who looked a bit perplexed as to why someone would be switching cars just for their road test, but they said it was alright.

When my turn came, I hopped in the then-girlfriend's dad's Pontiac Grand Prix. I had never driven a Pontiac Grand Prix before, so I asked the test evaluator if I could have a minute to get my bearings in the car.

I adjusted the rearview mirror, and before I could do anything else, I heard a noise come from the passenger seat.

"You DONE?" she asked.

Well, I suppose I was.

The test was remarkably easy, and I think I passed with flying colors. They never really told me. When it was over, she just printed out what appeared to be a receipt like you get at a corner bodega, handed it to me, and said "this is your license for the next 20 days."

No congratulations, no nothing, but it didn't matter. I was now a driver, a real driver, and nobody could take that away from me.

Next up was the then-girlfriend.

She failed.

I knew she failed immediately, because when it was her turn to get out of the Grand Prix, she was hysterically crying.

It was an awkward ride home."

Suggested By: Michael Ballaban, Photo Credit: Pontiac

2.) Turn Now!


Being from Massachusetts I've heard many retired State Trooper road test horror stories. This one from Volvomaniac is particularly good.

"When I was taking my test, I was being evaluated by a retired MA state trooper. Towards the very end of the drive, I needed to make a left turn across a 2 lane road back into the school's parking lot, but there was an ambulance flying down the oncoming direction with its lights and siren going about half a mile away. Even though I had a green arrow, I decided to wait for the ambulance to pass since it was flying. The officer had a different idea and told me to turn. I pointed the approaching ambulance and said that I was going to wait for it to pass, to which he responded "if you don't turn now, I'm going to fail you". Not wanting to get a fail, I went for it. At that point the ambulance was really close and turned on its super loud wailers as I entered the intersection. Having just cleared a collision and entered the lot the officer looks back and says "perhaps you should've waited, but I won't fail you now."

I needed new pants."

Suggested By: Volvomaniac, Photo Credit: Mister Falcon

1.) It's Worse In Japan


Jezebel's Kat Callahan lives in Japan and had to get a license there. I'd have probably given up if I were her. Read her full story here.

"It took me four tries, $700, three months between testing attempts while riding my bike hours each way from my apartment to my school because of waiting on paperwork in two languages and notarised at an embassy, one surly instructor who acted like he was some sort of movie character with a comment like, "Oh, you think you can drive? You've driven for ten years? NOT IN JAPAN, YOU HAVEN'T." I'm not even kidding. To pass I had to do everything in this ridiculous pantomimed, exaggerated manner, and then I had to mimic that gesture style in Japanese verbally explaining everything I was doing for the entire test.

It was awful."

Suggested By: Kat Callahan, Photo Credit: Getty Images

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Top Photo Credit: AP