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We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Before taking that road test, a word of caution

November 25, 2012

A lot can happen on the fateful day of the driving test. Photograph by: Getty Images, Vancouver Sun

By Steve Wallace, Times Colonist, November 24th, 2012

Over the years, I have witnessed several very strange driving-test situations.

Here are examples of some of the road tests never concluded:

A teen driver candidate was excited to take the road test. He approached the counter at the testing station and announced his intention. The clerk in the reception area pointed out the lineup for service, which the teen had not noticed, and directed him to get in line.

He was embarrassed and waited impatiently for counter service. When the necessary paperwork was completed, he proceeded to the vehicle that he intended to drive for the road test.

The driving examiner got in the car and they drove away. About halfway through the road test, the examiner began to experience chest pains. He was having a heart attack! The student driver was told to drive back to the office. The examiner could hardly speak and was in obvious distress.

As the student driver parked the car, the examiner told him to go for help at the testing office. The student ran into the office and was again admonished by the same clerk. He was told to get in line. He complied.

When the two people in front of him had been served, he approached the clerk and relayed the examiner’s emergency message.

The clerk was astounded and sprang into action, calling for an ambulance. The road test was not concluded, the examiner recovered and the rather shy student was again admonished, this time for not jumping the line.

Another road test that was never concluded involved a lack of judgment on the part of everyone concerned. A young man presented himself for the test.

His mother had assured him that even though the gas gauge read empty, there was ample gas left in the tank to complete a road test. The examiner said, reluctantly, that the test could go ahead. He told the mother of the student driver that the test would be registered as a fail if the car ran out of gas.

Sure enough, about three blocks from the conclusion of the road test, the car coasted to a stop in the middle of an intersection. The student was so traumatized, it took 12 years for him to attempt the next road test.

He was successful, and the whole episode remains the stuff of family friction.

To this day, he never lets the tank go below half-full.

In the most frustrating example of bad luck, a student driver was about to begin her road test when she was hit from behind by another driver who was parallel parking. The test ended there and then. Regulations of the day dictated an immediate termination in such an instance. Bad luck indeed!

Another student driver was unfortunate enough to have a citywide power failure take place while he was on the road test. Intersections were so clogged that the examiner and examinee could only walk back to the office. The test was rescheduled.

Before taking the road test, a young woman visited the washroom. She was nervous and accidentally flushed the car keys down the toilet.

Another young driver got trapped in the washroom and was unable to open the door. By the time he was rescued, the test time had long since passed, and he never got the opportunity to pass that day. Clearly novice drivers should be cautious of washrooms on test day.

When it comes to driving tests, Murphy’s Law is always a consideration.

Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island and in the Central Interior of B.C. stevedwallace@shaw.ca

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