"And That's How I Killed A Squirrel The First Time I Drove A Car"

"When I was 16 years old, my parents hired a driving instructor to teach me how to drive. His name was Bob.

My first interaction with Bob would come to set the tone for all of our adventures together. He pulled into my driveway with his red Camry and told me to get in. Now, for those of you who don't know-- and I, at the time, did not-- driving instructors have a second brake pedal installed on the passenger's side in case of emergencies. I didn't even know that was possible. To me, it just seemed like a weird footrest.

For the next few minutes, Bob tried desperately to get the car to move. It wouldn't budge. He stepped on the gas. He adjusted every possible gear and lever he had at his disposal. He cursed loudly. And, finally, he widened his eyes and snapped his gaze onto me.

'Are you pressing the brake?'

'No!... Yes. Yes, I am, Bob. I don't know why I said no. In my defense--'

'Get your foot off the pedal.'

'Okay, Bob.'

And then we drove away.

For the first time, I looked into the back and I noticed a quivering fat boy sitting there quietly. Naturally, I asked 'They, Bob, why is there a kid in the back of your car?'

'That's William. He's a student.'

'Hi, Will.'

(SILENCE)

And then we dropped William off at home. In spite of the fact that I always had my lesson at the same time on the same day every week, I never saw William again. To his credit, William was a master of stealth and camouflage and I often imagine that he went on to be a super spy.

Regardless, Bob eventually let me drive the car. I remember my first time driving with Bob very clearly. I remember it clearly because of one very specific moment. A moment that went something like this:

'Keep going. Nice and easy.'

'Bob--'

'Check your mirrors every five to eight--'

'Bob--'

'--Seconds and brake before you turn--'

'Hey, Bob--'

'WHAT?!'

'There's a squirrel in the center of the road, Bob. What should I do?'

'Just keep going. He'll move.'

'He's not moving, Bob!'

'He will! Just keep--'

'BOB! HE DIDN'T MOVE AND NOW HE'LL NEVER MOVE AGAIN!'

'PULL OVER!'

And that's how I killed a squirrel the first time I drove a car. I never trusted Bob again after that.

Bob taught me for a couple months and, honestly, I wasn't too terrible a driver. We had our disagreements on how certain things should be done. For example, there was that one time I was driving on the highway and Bob caught me sidling up to an eighteen wheeler and he asked me what I was doing and I replied 'the fast and the furious' and he yelled at me. And there was also the fact that every week he asked me if I watched hockey and every week he was unreasonably upset that I told him I wasn't some maple-syrup-drinking Canadian. But, generally speaking, things were going well.

I took the driving test 3 times and failed twice. The first time I failed, it was for no apparent reason. I did everything perfectly. I even managed to parallel park with the utmost precision in spite of the fact that my tester was a whale of a woman whose girth completely blocked both windows on the passenger side of the car. But she failed me. Her reasoning? 'You looked back when you reversed. You're supposed to use the rear view mirror.' To which I mumbled 'you were supposed to eat the salad not the bakery next door.'

The second time I failed with the exact same tester. This time I was 'too close to the cone.' Did I hit the cone? No. But I was within 6 inches of the cone and that was apparently 'too close.' I tried to reason with the behemoth, saying 'but, ma'am, the cone is supposed to represent the curb and, even if I did hit the curb-- which you admit I did not-- that wouldn't actually damage my vehicle or the curb!'

But she was unswayed by my words, as I imagine she was also unswayed by most things that sway people of average proportions.

The third time I asked for a new tester. I'll admit that I wasn't having the best day. I nudged one of the cones. And guess what? He didn't even give a crud. He just looked at me and said 'You passed and I gotta go to the bathroom.' And then he was gone...like some ethereal sprite that needed to pinch a loaf...

Which left me with Bob. I looked at him and held up the sheet that said I passed.

'Bob.'

'Yes, Mr. Jones?'

'We are equals now, Bob.'

'No.'

We went to the DMV and I got my provisional license. Two days later, while driving back from the mall on my own at night, a nutjob with no headlights on swerved into my lane as I was turning onto the road and I ended up driving onto the divider. Where I stayed for five minutes as I yelled 'oh noooooooooo!' and other drivers probably said 'what's that dude doing on the divider?'

And that's the story of how I got my license."

Flipped The Car On Her First Drive
Flipped The Car On Her First Drive

"A former driving teacher told us a story about a girl, first time driving, flipped the car on its back during the road practice with another student in the car. The girl was driving and another student was in the back seat. The car was on a low rise bridge and she hit the guard rail and the car came crashing down and landed on its back. The first thing my driver instructor heard immediately after the crash was the kid in the back saying --

'Well, I'm guessing I'm not driving today.'"

Screaming In A Parked Car
Screaming In A Parked Car

"I was the student here. My mother was too scared to teach me to drive, so my first time behind the wheel was literally at drivers' ed. The three student cars were parked side by side, and I was assigned to the one in the middle (this is important). My instructor was slower than the other two, who promptly got their students in the vehicles and began taking off. Simultaneously, my instructor is slowly having me go through all of the checks (seatbelt, mirrors, etc). As soon as I turned the key, both cars on either side of me began pulling out, giving me the sensation that we're rolling backwards. In that 1-3 second time frame, I begin furiously stomping the brake and screaming 'OH MY GOD I CAN'T STOP!' While the other two students, along with the instructor look at me like I'm a freaking idiot. The instructor just looked at me and said, 'You know you're in Park, right?'

Luckily, I somehow still managed to pass drivers' ed, and went on to get my license on my first try."

Her Sister: The World's Worst Driver
Her Sister: The World's Worst Driver

"My sister is the WORST driver I have ever seen, ever, in my entire life. I tried to give her lessons, but she just either refused to listen to me or took nothing away from my lessons. She took months of driving lessons with a private teacher, plus multiple lessons with AAA. Nothing helped. She tailgates all the time, whether she's driving 25 mph in a residential area or doing 45 mph on the highway (and I'll get to that one in a moment...); she will always be exactly one car-length behind the person in front of her. She also has this habit of not even touching her brakes until it's almost too late. Instead of coasting to a stop when she comes upon a red-light and gently braking over as much distance as possible, like normal people do, she waits until she's nearly at the damn line to just slam the brakes. I have definitely gotten whiplash from riding in a car she's driving. She also does this in traffic, but it's even more maddening; she hits the gas and jolts forward when the person in front of her moves forward and then slams the brakes and ends up inches from their bumper, instead of just releasing the brake pedal and letting the car roll forward on its own and then gently pressing the brakes to stop.

On top of this, she refuses to drive faster than 45-mph, even on the highway where 45 mph is the minimum speed limit and everyone else around her is going 65 or faster. She won't even stay in the right-most lane of the highway, which is the safest lane to travel slowly in. She causes traffic every time she goes on the highway, and then complains that there's either always traffic on the highway or always people driving 'way too fast'.

She initially took driver's ed when she was 16, and I kept recommending to our mom to reschedule her driving test to a later date so she could take more lessons and get more practice and maybe figure out she's an idiot driver. She didn't end up getting her license until she was 20. She's going to cause an accident. I can't be in the car with her when she's driving. I'd have a panic attack and die."

Attack On The DMV
Attack On The DMV

"Not a driving instructor but when I was leaving the DMV a young girl was taking her driver's test and was pulling out of the driveway to make a right onto the street. She made a right that turned into a U-turn and drove up the curb and crashed into the DMV building. Thankfully no one was hurt and after the firefighters made sure she was ok she was on the curb crying. I'll never forget the image of her on the curb crying with the car crashed into the DMV behind her.

Once me and my dad got back in the car I started laughing so hard cause you seriously can't make that stuff up."

At Least He Knew He Was A Bad Driver
At Least He Knew He Was A Bad Driver

"I am not a driving instructor but I did take driving lessons and I am pretty sure I was one of the worst students the teacher ever had. I didn't plough into a crowded market or anything but I used to sit there in the turning lane and he would be like 'uh, are you are going to turn?' and I would say 'there is a car coming so I have to wait' and he would say 'that car is 300 metres away, you can go' and I would say 'but what if he speeds up all of a sudden?' and the instructor would say 'why would he do that?' and I would say 'how should I know, I can't read minds!' Anyway, it was like that for everything. I lived in constant fear that other drivers were going to make bad choices and so was paralyzed with fear.

The instructor finally turned to me one day and said 'You know you are never going to pass the test right?' and I said 'Thank God! because if people like me do pass the test then I am right to fear the other drivers!' So at least I don't worry so much now as a passenger."

Never, Ever, Get Onto A Plane Without Knowing If the Pilot Can, Well, Pilot
Never, Ever, Get Onto A Plane Without Knowing If the Pilot Can, Well, Pilot

"A cub reporter gets his first assignment covering real news (as opposed to kids parties and obits). His editor tells him to hightail it to the local general aviation airport where a pilot in a Cessna is waiting for him. They are to overfly a brushfire currently burning out of control and threatening homes a few miles outside of town. The reporter grabs his gear, hops in his car and drives like a madman to get to the airport. He parks his car and rushes into the airport office, which happens to be empty. Near panic, thinking he had missed his flight, the reporter looked out the window toward the flightline. He sees an aircraft sitting just outside the door, a pilot in the seat, with the prop turning. He runs out to the ramp, around to the passenger side of the plane. He opens the door, tosses his gear in the back seat and hops in. As he's buckling his seat belt he glances at the pilot and says, 'Let's go!'

The pilot taxis the plane to end of the runway and executes a perfect takeoff. They climb out into a clear blue sky. The weather is beautiful, and visibility is easily 30-40 miles. As they continue upward the reporter notices they are heading away from the smoke. He looks at the pilot and asks, 'Where are you going?'

The pilot says, 'Uh, I don't know.'

The reporter says, 'What do you mean you don't know. Didn't they tell you I was covering the fire?'

The pilot says, 'Fire? What fire? Aren't you my instructor?'"

Literal Language Can Be Dangerous When Driving
Literal Language Can Be Dangerous When Driving

"My driving instructor told me about a student he had who wrecked his car. They were approaching a 4-junction roundabout, one of the built up ones with small trees and shrubs in the middle, and he told her to go 'straight over', meaning the second exit straight ahead.

Instead she took his words literally and ramped the car onto the middle of the roundabout, crashed into a sapling, spun out, and hit a van on the other side."

The Terror Of Teaching His Daughter To Drive
The Terror Of Teaching His Daughter To Drive

"My Dad was the driving instructor, and for some reason, he decided to start me off on small winding back roads - I guess because there would likely be no traffic. I'm approaching a sharpish uphill turn on a narrow gravel road and oh god there's a car coming down in the other direction. Will we be able to pass? Should I slow down? How much? If I turn the wheel too far will I crash into the hill? If I don't turn the wheel far enough will I crash into the other car? While my brain cycles through these pressing questions, it fails to actually instruct my body to do anything except emit a faint but continuous high-pitched scream. Our car glides forward, uninfluenced by me but only by physics, losing momentum on the uphill, until we gently plunge into the ditch on the far side of the road, cushioned by roadside weeds and honeysuckle, and stall out.

The people in the other car jumped out, concerned, and my Dad, beet red with embarrassment, had to inform them that it was just his daughter learning to drive.

We switched places, he drove us home, and that was the last time he tried to teach me to drive."

"I Was Putting It In 'P' For Pass"

"When I was in Driver's Ed on the first day, the owner of the driving school went up and told a story about a girl who he had been instructing a couple years prior. They were on their first highway drive behind a semi who was going the posted 55 or 60 mph, so she asked if she could pass. He said that would be fine, but he grabs her hand when she immediately reaches for the gear shift. He asked what the hell she was doing. She looked me right in the eye and said--

'I was putting in in 'P' for 'Pass'!.'"

To Be Fair, Driving A Humvee Is More Difficult Than A Driving A Toyota
To Be Fair, Driving A Humvee Is More Difficult Than A Driving A Toyota

"When I was in the Army Reserves, we spent about three weeks in Latin America doing a training mission. Our job was to teach students how to operate two of the most common military vehicles, the LMTV and the Humvee (pictures attached for reference). I was sitting in the middle seat, teaching a young female soldier who was fairly nervous about operating such a large vehicle with another student in the right seat. We had just finished the offroad portion of the training course and were on the hard road. I hear a bang and see the Humvee (which was another instructor's course) swerve in front of us after passing us. The heavy armored window was ripped off by the impact, hits the pavement and bounces right up toward the glass of my LMTV. It was like something out of a movie. I thought it was going to smash through the windscreen and take my head off, but it hits right below and we run over it. I had to calm down my student and get her to pull over.

I guess the other instructor had told his student to pass us, and she did not realize that an armored Humvee was a lot wider than her Corolla. She probably would have made it if not for the mirror and armored windows that stick out."

Kid Goes 'Fast And Furious' In The Schoolyard
Kid Goes 'Fast And Furious' In The Schoolyard

"My high school had two driving instructors. One of them was kind of a jerk who liked to yell. I'm pretty sure this was that one. He told my class the story of a kid who wasn't taking his abuse too well. Kid finally snapped, stomped on the gas, jerked the wheel hard and started driving full-throttle Crazy Taxi-style across the school yard of the junior high. Instructor stomped on his brake pedal and finally got the car stopped just inches in front of a metal pole that they would have hit head-on.

The kid was still standing on the gas, and staring straight ahead with a look of madness in his eyes."

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