Last year I decided that I was going to finally get my license. I took classes at a local driving school. Things seem to be going great. Whenever I would practice I had confidence on the road. Eventually I felt ready for my road test so the driving school went ahead and scheduled my test.
There I was on a lovely mid-August morning. Waiting my turn in what seemed like a line of cars that stretched around the block. All the student drivers looked terrified and excited at the same time. As for me, I felt a bit nervous but was feeling good about my novice driving skills. I just knew that “I had this”. After at least an hour long wait and waiting for the test instructors to come back from break I was next in line. As the test instructor approached I could tell that she was a tough cookie. She was an older woman with a disgruntled look. You all know the look – ‘the I hate my job because I work for DMV so I’m going to take it out on YOU!’ I braced myself for a bad experience and waited patiently in the car while she climbed into the passenger seat.
The next 20 mins of my life were hell! As soon as she got into the vehicle the lady was huffing and puffing. I said good morning and she didn’t even bother to acknowledge me. Immediately she barked at me to tell me to pull up the windows and turn on the A/C. Ok – I took a deep breath. I tried to convince myself that this was not going to be so bad. Oh I was right it was not going to be so bad, it was just about to get worse! She starts to inspect my driver’s permit and realizes that she picked up the wrong paperwork. She looks at the picture on the card and tells me in a nasty tone “this ain’t you” and rolls her eyes. My driving school instructor runs over and tells her that she grabbed the wrong card. At this, she sucks her teeth and rolls her eyes at my instructor as well. All of this and we still had not even left the curb.
Ok so the road test instructor “Jacki” and that is her real name, trust me I will probably never forget it, finally tells me to pull out and begin my test. So far so good, I stop at the stop sign and then she tells me to drive down two streets and make a left. No problem I made the left turn like a pro. Midway down the block Jacki barks “STOP the car miss!”. I stop the car making sure I don’t slam the breaks. I’m thinking “oh crap, what did I do?”, did I like run over someone or something and didn’t even notice? She pulls out her cell phone and proceeds to scroll through her contacts. She squints and starts talking to herself “Doctor….Doctor…” when I hear her murmur “doctor” I start to think “oh heck does she need medical attention? Did I just give her a heart attack or something?”. Innocent me asks her “are you ok? do you need a doctor?” She turns around (I swear it was like a Linda Blair moment from the Exorcist) and said: “No miss I’m FINE!”
She finds the number she is looking for and continues to make a phone call to schedule a doctor’s appointment. She was making a doctor’s appointment in the middle of my road test!!!! I’m just sitting in the car like an idiot thinking “is this really happening?” I thought it was a joke – like any minute now someone would tell me that I’m on the show PUNK’D. But sadly no, it was all too real. She finishes her call and then continues to talk to me like a dog and makes me complete my road test after she has wrecked my nerves. It goes without saying that she continued to yell at me and I made several mistakes that caused me to fail my road test.
When I got back to the test site starting line I was a mess. I got out of the car in a daze. I was still trying to figure out what had just happened. I waited with my driving instructor until the other students from the school took their road test as well. Of the four that went to take the road test from my driving school, only one passed the test. As we were leaving the test location I spotted the DMV supervisor. Very politely I approached him and reported my experience to him. He apologized and took my report and rescheduled my appointment for another day. When I got back to the car one of my driving instructors reprimanded me for whistleblowing on the road test instructor… I was even more confused. Maybe they had some sort of scam going on with the DVM, who knows.
After my experience, I couldn’t confidently drive for several weeks. But thanks to my husband I worked through it. I arranged to have my road test taken at a different location and my husband took me to the new site to get several practices done before my next road test. This story does have a happy ending. Last year I did finally get my license! It turns out that the nice DMV supervisor that took my report was the one that administered my second road test (I’m sure he didn’t remember who I was). He was very nice and patient and in the end, I passed the test.
Dear DMV road test instructors of New York City, please be kinder. I’m not sure what you think you accomplish by making an inexperienced driver nervous during a road test. Do you not value your lives? If you are nasty and make an inexperienced driver nervous you run a much higher risk of that person having an accident with you in the car. Most distractions and dangers to drivers happen outside of your vehicle, drivers have to pay attention to everything happening around them. Making someone nervous from inside the car takes the driver’s attention away from things happening in their surroundings. Be kinder, you don’t have to just give out licenses but there are better approaches to giving a road test than being nasty to someone for 20 minutes in a cramped car.
I’m just glad that I have my license and don’t ever have to go through that experience again!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Dalba – a newly licensed driver 🙂