Tag Archives: maryland

Failed it!

31 Oct

So, I know it’s hard to believe with all of those fabulous forehead lines (*note to self: ask dermatologist “how much is botox?”) that I’m not 16, but nope, I’m 38 and taking my driver’s test… again.  [because remember this]

This is me in line, ready… or not… to go.  I passed the written portion with Jaxon, my 16 year old son, with flying colors a couple of weeks ago and spent a few hours prepping for my 2 point turn.  Maryland no longer requires you to do a 3 point turn or parallel parking, so yay, me… this is cake, right?!  Not so much.  2 point turns aren’t that easy, especially when you don’t have giant cars on either side of you to judge your side mirror distances.  I kinda sucked at it when practicing, but finally became more comfortable and decided it was now or never to take the test.  Of course, I was nervous.  I don’t often drive and when I do, I basically concentrate on the important things like stopping at stop lights/signs, using turn signals, checking my mirrors, not hitting cars or pedestrians and defensive driving tactics, so that I’m prepared for all of the idiot drivers making illegal maneuvers around me.  It’s a lot harder than you think (or remember from 22 years ago) to focus on turn signals (in empty parking lots), proper speeds, making sure to look over your shoulder and in all of the mirrors at all times, counting your trailing distance from the car in front of you, reading signs, following every minute traffic law possible, etc.. etc.. etc…  Though these things do come naturally over years of driving, you get into a comfort zone and stop focusing on 30 things at one time… and for good reason to be honest, because who can focus on 30 details at once and not be missing something critical because your focus is literally everywhere all at once?

Well, apparently it is critical to keep your hands gripped to the steering wheel with your palms facing away from you.  Seconds after the test started the instructor told me to stop and said “watch the position of your hands”.  I assumed that she was trying to tell me that I wasn’t keeping my hands at “10 and 2” and simply replied “ok” and resumed motion focusing on braking, signaling, mirror checking and her instructions on what to do next.  The 2 pt turn was straight out of the gate, as I started backing into the spot I immediately got flustered because those darn flags are just not visible in the mirrors until your turn is in place.  I noticed the instructor nodding in disapproval from the corner of my eye as I was backing up, so I doubted my position and decided to pull forward and reposition myself.  She nodded again.  Clearly, I was screwing up, so I sighed and thought “screw it, just back in”.  I had overcompensated when I pulled forward and readjusted.  Apparently, I was actually good to go on my first attempt and should’ve ignored her nodding.  Though close, I was still inside the cones and just continued on my way backing in.  She asked me to pull out of the space and pullover.  Focusing on blinkers and mirrors and cones and looking over my shoulder all the while, I pulled out knowing that her tone meant I failed even though I cleared the cones.  After I pulled to the side she said, “remember when the test started I asked you to watch the position of your hands?  As you turn your steering wheel, you turn your hands and grip the steering wheel with your palms facing you.  You can’t do that.  I had to give you a point every time you did that and you did it 6 times during the 2 pt turn, so you failed.”  She continued to say that it happens all of the time with drivers with expired licenses.  Us, more experienced drivers, get into a habit of gripping the steering wheel wrong or using palms to turn or letting our grip go of the wheel, so that the steering wheel slides through our hands (palming) as we turn.  Though, I never lost my grip of the wheel and didn’t palm it, I was turning my hand and gripping the steering wheel subconsciously from the wrong side.  She said she even does it all of the time and when she drives she thinks to herself “I would fail my own test”.

So, that was that.  38 years old and Failed it!  Though, I didn’t wreck the car or hit a pedestrian or run a red light… this failure sucked almost more… I mean, that’s a really obscure fucking technicality.  The instructor wished me luck next time and told me to go ahead and schedule a retake tomorrow, but as I drove home Mike and I noticed that this “moving my hand” thing is a pretty bad habit that is going to take a lot more practice to shake.  Poop.  I’m not going to lie, I did cry afterwards because what’s more embarrassing than failing a test that you easily passed 22 years ago… that your 16 year old son is getting ready to take?!  But that’s just it.  I have to take a deep breath and show my son that it happens.  Whatever.  Try, try, again.  I think I’ll try again after a bit more practice this time, though.  And who knows… since I technically didn’t get to drive the course at all, maybe there are a couple of more habits that could fail me that I don’t even know about?  Stay tuned for “Failed it: Part 2“.  In the meantime, watch out for a dangerous white minivan roaming the streets with a seriously old female student driver who dares to turn her grip when she turns risking the lives of anyone who is in and around her vehicle.

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