DMV Nightmare Continues: Junior encounters more problems in driving test

November 9, 2016 — by Julia Miller

Junior talks about hardships of driving.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m an anxious test taker. If you refer to my earlier article, “One girl, one test: How I acquired my driver’s permit,” you will quickly realize that while under pressure, I usually crack.

Crack is an understatement; I crumble.

Now, rewind to about two months ago, the day of my scheduled behind-the-wheel driving test, which also happened to be the day of my first near-breakdown.

Walking up to the DMV for the second time in my life, I once again experienced the sweat, the stress and the Driving 101 information rapidly flashing through my mind. It all felt like my permit test, unfortunately familiar: until it didn’t.

Because my mother thought it would be best to arrive early to my appointment, we were left with about an hour of free time before my test. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that I could now squeeze in some extra driving practice before my 2:30 p.m. appointment.

After practicing behind the wheel and hearing criticism from my mother for 45 minutes, I felt worse about the test than I did before.

At the DMV check-in counter, the man at the desk chuckled to himself as he watched me drum my trembling fingers against the countertop. He and my mom laughed at my supposed “melodramatics” together as I gave them a fake smile, secretly wishing they would stop. My nervousness wasn’t funny.

Finally, it was time to take my test. I jumped into my car with my mom and drove into the designated line of cars, where I would await my fated test distributor.

Suddenly, my mom insisted that I must know every single windshield wiper function in the car. She then proceeded to turn on each of the wipers as the line grew closer and closer to the front. She successfully turned on and off every windshield wiper, except for the back window.

With my stress levels skyrocketing and my reserves of patience now extinct, I began to yell at her to turn the back window wiper off. But she didn’t know how.

As the front of the line came closer and closer, I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate. I repeatedly shouted “Turn it off!” toward my mom as tears burned my eyes. With my voice intensifying, and the car creeping slowly forward, I nearly had a panic attack.

The person who gave the test, someone they call a “test distributor,” was a tall, older man with wide-rimmed glasses. Unfortunately, when he knocked on my car window, I was shocked and jumped slightly. Frightened, I rested my head on my hand, regaining control of my breathing.

My mom, trying to lighten the mood, joked about my back window wiper and how my panic attack never correlates with my behavior behind the wheel. I wanted to puke.

Attempting to pull myself together, I didn’t notice the test distributor trying to get my attention from behind my car. Eventually, he had to scream my name for me to even raise my head up from my hands.

Embarrassed, I half-heartedly followed his protocol as he checked my car’s safety. At this point, I thought I had failed the test for sure, since I kept pressing the wrong buttons and even messed up the order of my shaking hand signals. I was a mess.

But, as it turns out, I lucked out in terms of test distributors. He saw my stress as a temporary episode and took me out on the road for the actual driving portion of the test. I successfully passed the test with flying colors (aside from my breakdown) and am now a licensed driver.

Sadly, this will be my final DMV nightmare story —unless, that is, I manage to stress myself out enough to end up in traffic court.

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