Let’s face it, driver’s ed in America is a broken system. It’s a true, cold hearted fact that car accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teenagers ages 15-19. After reading these ten awful driver’s ed stories, it’s not too difficult to understand why.


10.) “Good luck”

Right here. This is right here is just about everything that is wrong with the American driver’s ed system.

In Virginia the driving section was done through a private company which charged hundreds of dollars for (mandated by law) five sessions and a test at the end. The owner of the school picked me up on day one and we drove around for a half hour then took me home. He handed me a signed paper and said, “It’s been nice getting to know you over the past five days, good luck to you.”

I crashed my car a week later.

Suggested By: Mike


9.) No McDouble Meal? Forget It.

Presenting a fresh apple to your teacher in an academic setting is known to be a gesture of attentiveness and kindness. Now this whole McDonald McDouble meal thing, I’m not so sure about.

Our instructor was infamous for making students buy her a McDouble meal if they were late. Seriously. Tardy students quickly found how just how serious Wendy was about her McDoubles. She would not give them keys if they didn’t get her a McDouble meal. I don’t know how the drivers’ ed company never found out from an upset student or parent. For me, drivers’ ed will always smell like pickles and mustard.

Suggested By: RealRoadNews


8.) No Manual For You!

If the technology and apparatus are there, why not let the students benefit from it?

My drivers’ training class consisted of time in a simulator, then actual driving. The simulators were like amusement park cars all placed in a trailer, with a movie screen at the far end of the room. The controls of the simulators were pretty accurate, but quite out of date. There was a column shifter for the automatic transmission, AND A STICK SHIFT NEXT TO THE SEAT! The manual transmission was “activated” by releasing and lowering a clutch pedal that swung down from under the dashboard. This was going to be the best class in high school, ever. Except not.

MONDAY - Me: “Can I lower the clutch pedal and use the stick shift?” Instructor: “No.”

TUESDAY - Me: “Can I lower the clutch pedal and use the stick shift?” Instructor: “No.”

WEDNESDAY - Me: “Can I lower the clutch pedal and use the stick shift?” Instructor: “No.”

THURSDAY - Me: “Can I lower the clutch pedal and use the stick shift?” Instructor: “No.”

FRIDAY - Me: Can I lower the clutch pedal and use the stick shift?” Instructor: “No.” Me: “PLEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEE???” Instructor: “NO!”

This went on for an agonizing three weeks.

Suggested By: west-coaster


7.) Awkward...

When I went to get my G2 (Secondary license test in Ontario), just after my 18th birthday, I had a creepy in-the-closet gay guy instructing me, and hitting on me, asking weird questions the entire way.

We got in the car, he asked me to start the car, and the horror began.

5 minutes in...

“So, are you going to ferry your girlfriend around now that you have your license?”

“Yeah I guess.”

“Oh... I knew you had a girlfriend. I could just tell.”

“Oh yeah? How’s that?”

“A good looking guy like you would have no trouble getting a girl! I think the real problem would be keeping them, with all that temptation around...”

“Uuuh... Thanks...”

5 minutes later...

“So do you and your girlfriend get along well?”

“Yeah not bad.”

“I guess now that you have your license you can take her to a nice quiet place in the car and do something sneaky!!”

“Uuuh... maybe...”

“Not that you need to! I’m sure you two are sneaky already!”

“Hahaha... (*awkwardness overload*) yeah.... sometimes...”

“Does she like being sneaky with you? You seem fun... I bet she really likes what it looks like you have to offer...”

*I have the instant urge to change subject*

“I noticed you have a ring - are you married?”

“Yeah! Three daughters, and my wife and I have been together for 8 years.”

“That’s awesome.”

“So does your girlfriend like to be sneaky with you?”

.... and I basically tried to evade every question after that, until we got back to the DMV office. He was just too creepy. I was very lucky that he didn’t try to make a move or something.

On the plus side, I did get 100% on my test. I guess he liked me.

Suggested By: The-Ever-Socially-Apathetic TBAL


6.) Doug: The Trauma Victim/Driving Instructor

It sounds like Doug never really fully recovered from that motorcycle crash.

For classroom instruction we had this dude named Doug who was a victim of severe head trauma after a motorcycle crash smashed his helmetless head into the side of a station wagon. He had a picture of the impressive dent his skull made in the car. He was also a martial artist of some kind and he would tell stories of how, during his time as a truck driver, he would get out and beat on the truck tires with his nunchucks.

If kids were disruptive in his class, he would do a sudden side kick and stop his foot about an inch away from the offender’s face. Doug once had a full court spaz when someone interconnected all of his dry erase markers. He went to grab one marker and they all fell on the floor. Complete meltdown. Someone also broke one of the pencils he provided to the classroom and we all had to stick around until every single pencil in the pencil box was re-sharpened. His industrial park classroom smelled like an old shoe.

Suggested By: jwwm


5.) “Feels Oddly Warm And Moist”

This drivers’ ed story comes from the passenger side of the car. Is driving really this scary for some beginners?

I would pick the kids up for two hour sessions each at their home. If they were comfortable enough, I’d take them on a main road, then a highway. If they were uncomfortable, I’d leave them in the housing development where they lived to go around until they felt comfortable enough handling the car through turns and low speeds. Most kids were fine, a few were not, but one was the worst.

This girl was already on her seventh lesson (a clue right there). I picked her up, and could tell this would be a long two hours. She was shy, timid, and could not handle the car even at parking lot speeds. In fact, she never said two words to me aside from answering my questions or commands. Keep in mind we are right by her house the entire time.

The lesson finally over, I drop her off and get back in the drivers seat, which feels oddly warm and moist. I attribute it to the nervous girl who I just dropped off, thinking she was just a sweaty wreck. But about a mile down the road, I felt my jeans getting soaked. I reach down and feel the seat. Yeah, she had peed her pants while driving.

Needless to say the car got a full detailing that day, courtesy of my boss.

Suggested By: SoManyBlueCars


4.) “The Teacher Was A Loud, Potty-Mouthed War Veteran”

Gross, man.

I took drivers’ education as an elective my freshman year of high school. The teacher for it was a loud, potty-mouthed war veteran far past retirement (and, probably, sanity) age. The absolute worst part was that during quizzes and tests, without fail, he would sit at his desk in the front of the room, take off his boots and socks, and CLIP HIS YELLOW OLD MAN TOENAILS. To say it was a distraction is such an understatement. I can still picture it perfectly.

The girl at the front of the class swore that a rogue toenail once flew and landed on her test. No idea how she didn’t freak out.

Suggested By: Berger Meister


3.) “He Also Had A Drinking Problem”

This goes for any sort of teacher or instructor. Please, please do not bring your issues with you into the classroom. Especially if your classroom happens to be a car and you’re teaching teenagers.

I grew up in an Oklahoma college town. No surprise that the drivers’ ed teachers were all off season coaches, except one. The “primary” teacher had been in the job for decades, and still has many admirers even today.

But he also had a drinking problem.

So it wasn’t bad enough that our Driver’s Ed cars were a Plymouth Horizon and a Dodge Aspen (rare 1979 square headlight edition), we also had to deal with his irrational and unpredictable behavior.

One day I’m driving along one of the major streets - four lane with a shared central turn lane - and all seems well. He may have been asleep at this point, as he hasn’t given me directions for several blocks, and I’ve been driving for years (rural roads, natch) so I’m doing ok, when he suddenly comes to, shouts “LOOK OUT” and grabs the wheel, sending me into the center lane.

There is no other traffic anywhere near me, except - of course - in the center lane, where a car is sitting waiting to turn. But I can smell the booze on his breath, so I know he’s bombed.

I have to wrench the wheel away from him, then back into the regular lane, all while he’s blathering away about something like “youneedtopayattentionwhereyou’regoingpublicstreetsblahblahblah”

I pull into the Safeway parking lot and refuse to drive any more, get into the back and let the other guy drive the rest of the hour.

When we get back to the class, the other teacher/wrestling coach asks me what’s wrong, and I just say in an unusually steely voice for the meek 15 year old that I was: “I will never get in a car with him again. I only drive with you, or you can flunk me - I don’t care”. He didn’t even bat an eye, just made a note that he had apparently made many times before, and I never had to drive with the drunk again, as they brought in more off season coaches the following week.

Suggested By: abgwin


2.) Three Hands On The Wheel? How About No Hands On The Wheel!

When learning how to drive, it can take a while to get used to the car you’re learning in and achieve a solid level of spacial awareness. That seemed to be something this driving instructor just didn’t understand.

I was behind the wheel and we were on a country road that had a ton of long sweepers. I was having trouble staying in the middle of the lane, drifting slightly back and forth without going over the yellow or white lines.

This frustrated my instructor. The way he responded with it, was to grab the wheel from the passenger seat, and I was told sternly to take my hands off the wheel. I nervously complied.

“SEE!? It’s not that hard! I can do this from the passenger sea...”

At this point he noticed that I had moved my left hand back to the bottom of the wheel, which I had put there because not holding on to the steering wheel is crazy. The way my instructor responded to this was:

“Boy? What are you doing? I told you to take your hands off the wheel and stay on the gas!”

While he said this, he not-so-smoothly removed his left hand from the wheel, and slapped my left hand off of the steering wheel. This left a grand total of zero hands on the wheel while we were driving at probably 50 mph on a road that wasn’t straight.

He grabbed the wheel again, and we continued driving like that for probably another 30 seconds with him in control from the passenger seat. Eventually he let go and told me not to drift anymore.

It was terrifying.

Suggested By: willkinton247


1.) “My Instructor Is Yelling Scheiß Out The Window”

Road rage fisticuffs on just the second lesson? Wow this instructor really must’ve liked to move through those lessons quick.

I ended up partaking in road rage fisticuffs on my second lesson - I’d just turned 16 and had driver’s ed. It was with an older man, European, from the land of BMW’s and Mercedes. It was my second lesson, I was finally allowed to put my foot on the pedals and I was psyched feeling like a king in a 2000 Camry!

After about 5 minutes, we were driving through the town centre. As a small town the road is just three blocks long and a driver in a early 90s jimmy passes us over a double solid in a 15mph zone and cuts me off, forcing the instructor to slam the brakes and jerk the wheel.

Next thing I know, my instructor is yelling scheiß out the window hitting his little horn button and laying on the gas. He was chasing this man down. Not knowing what to do I just sat there as a passenger in the drivers seat watching the Jimmy swerving around and then pulling into the back lot of my school.

My instructor ordered me to keep driving and pull next to the guy and I do. He starts hitting the man’s vehicle from outside and the man steps out. He’s the janitor.... great he knows me. My instructor steps out and starts swinging, and so does the janitor. Even at 16 I was bigger than most adults so I got out and started to separate them and ended up having to throw some extra punches to prevent myself from being hit.

In the panic I had forgot to put the car in park and it had rolled into the dumpster, two guys grown men sitting on the ground banged up with me standing above them. At that point the principal had come out and the police were called. It was my first time in handcuffs and all I could do was panic as I was one of the “good kids”.

In the end everything was just dropped and I found a new driving instructor.

Suggested By: Moves-Like-Senna

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: Bellevue Police via Jalopnik

Click here to view this kinja-labs.com embed.