I Failed My Driver’s Test

Ray Bardo, staff writer

SCREEEEECH! The sound of my car stopping as my driving instructor told me that it’s a red light. I knew I failed right then and there as I watched her jot down points for trying to turn into the intersection. I faulted when I didn’t look up at the tower to see it wasn’t just a two-way intersection, but a red traffic light. “Awe man,” I said to myself. “This can’t be happening.”

All my life I’ve waited for this moment. The moment where I can gain new freedom. To take my turn for my driver’s test and walk out the DMV as a new driver. It was something I dreamt of. As dramatic as it sounds, it was a reality. Throughout the year I was in foster care, my license felt like it was the only thing I could look forward to. The thought of it being all mine and no one being able to take that away from me was something I wanted so bad. Having to wait an extra nine months after my sixteenth birthday because my social worker couldn’t find my birth certificate made it even more of a dread. So when the moment came and I failed, it was heartbreaking. I never thought that the excitement I had would turn this whole experience around, but it did.

Even though I was disqualified in the first five minutes of my driver’s test, the instructor still took me throughout the city to complete the drive. I was so scared of something else going wrong and wondered why she still trusted being in the car with me. The rest of the drive was smooth. I stopped at every stop sign correctly, took my turns slow, and stayed at a consistent speed. Knowing I did everything right other than not looking up at the red light on the tower really got to me. I sort of beat myself up over it but continued to show that I could drive throughout the test.

When we arrived back at the DMV, I got the big news. “So you didn’t pass,” she said. “You’re going to have to reschedule.” That was the last thing I wanted to hear after the horrible experience. I mean, of course, I knew I wasn’t going to pass, but hearing the words come from the instructor made it so much more real. She explained how I shouldn’t be in such a rush next time and to just take it easy. I began to cry. Now, I’m not one to cry when I fail, but the fact that I have worked so hard to get to this moment and show my driving skills killed me. I had nothing to show for my hard work and that I knew how to be on the road.

I walked out of the DMV that day without my license, crying, but knowing the next time that sneaky light wouldn’t get past me. I thought that after this incident I would never get my license and would be too scared to come back and test. Because I did have my permit, my mom let me drive home and I got some of my confidence on the road back. I told myself to take this as a learning experience. I now have this new belief that you can’t always succeed the first time and that the second time is really a charm. I didn’t walk out of the DMV as a new driver, but a more confident one because of my mistakes. I yelled out the window as I left the DMV and said “I’m coming back and getting what I deserve. That light isn’t going to get the best of me.”