A little while back, we asked what your most stressful driving experience was, and you definitely delivered. I wasn’t surprised at all, but the answers you gave are proof that we have some great storytellers in our comments section. After all, Opposite Lock thrived for years before it eventually met its unfortunate demise. Hell, I wouldn’t have my career if it hadn’t been for a few of my Opposite Lock posts getting front-paged back when that was still a thing. Depending on what you think of my writing, either the credit or the blame goes to Michael Ballaban (RIP) for giving me the exposure I needed to get started as a freelancer.
So, following up on that previous Question of the Day, I’d like to hear some more of your stories about driving with parents and other family members. I’m sure y’all have some great ones, especially ones that aren’t exactly positive. No matter how much you love your family, I’m sure most of us have at least one entertaining story about a time someone you were related to made you wish you could open the door and jump out of the car while it was moving.
Thankfully, I don’t have any relationship-ending driving stories that I can share, but the one that does stick out in my mind is from the first time I took my driver’s license test. I’d been annoyingly obsessed with cars for years at that point, so I was way more excited about getting my license than most 16-year-olds. Plus, I’d recently gotten a job as a busboy at Outback, and all of my other coworkers were college students or cool townies. Waiting on my parents to pick me up after each shift was always an embarrassing reminder that I was just a kid compared to all the cool 20-somethings I looked up to.
Since I already had my learner’s permit, my mom let me drive to the DMV appointment. Well, at least she did until it started raining. I could definitely have handled driving in the rain, but she wanted to take over just to be safe. Which was fine, I guess. Moms, am I right? Anyway, we got to the DMV, waited for my turn, and I took the test. It was easy! Parallel parking? I was in a compact sedan trying to park in a space big enough to fit a Suburban. There was no way I didn’t have it in the bag.
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Except that when we finished the test, the instructor told me I’d failed. I would have passed with flying colors, but she said I never turned my headlights on in the rain. I couldn’t believe it. I checked, and yep, the headlights were off. Which was surprising because my dad’s Spectra had automatic headlights. If they’d been left on the auto setting and just hadn’t come on because it wasn’t dark enough, that would have been one thing. But they were off. Who turns off automatic headlights?
As it turns out, my mom had turned them off without telling me. Because she didn’t want me to get dependent on technology. What if they didn’t turn off on their own, and the battery died? As an adult, I can admit that while she was worried about the wrong thing, she did actually have a point. You can’t assume automatic headlights will always turn on by themselves in the rain and should double-check just to make sure.
But as a 16-year-old car weirdo who had just learned he was going to continue getting rides to and from work from his parents for the foreseeable future? I’d never felt such betrayal. To this day, the drive home is still the most awkward, uncomfortable and emotional car ride I’ve ever experienced.
So what about you? What’s your worst story about driving with family? And since we’re asking for personal stories, if you can, please include a photo of either the car you were driving or the family member (or members) you were driving with that you don’t mind us using for Answers of the Day. Getty Images is great for a lot of things, but it probably doesn’t have a picture I can use to illustrate the time that, I don’t know, your mom flipped a Ford Pinto into a creek.