A Licensed Disaster This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I always pictured the day I got my driver’s license as the beginning of the glory days when I would be free to roam the roads. On the very day I got my license, however, I found that driving is often very stressful.

My driving-test experience started as expected. My mom picked me up at school and I drove us to the test site. Things started to go wrong when my mom discovered that our proof of insurance was out of date because my dad had put the wrong form in the car.

We ran into the testing building and asked if I could still take the test. They said they would not put an officer in an uninsured car. After explaining that the car really was insured and doing some begging, we were allowed to go home to get the right form, but there was a catch: we had to be back before the site closed, a nearly impossible feat.

We hopped into the car, my Mom driving, and she floored it. We weaved, sped and swerved our way home in record time. We probably looked like someone trying to have a stock car race on a crowded street.

After grabbing the right forms, we set off again. If there had been a policeman on the road that day, we would have undoubtedly been stopped. It would have been quite amusing to hear my mom explain that we were speeding to get our insurance forms. It is funny that the day I was supposedly proficient enough to be trusted on the road was the same day I experienced the most dangerous driving ever.

We made it back just in time and the examiner, clearly bitter that she had to test another teenager, told me to wait for her in my car. When she came out, she made sure my blinkers and lights worked, and we began the maneuverability section.

Almost everything that could have gone wrong did. Backing up, I didn’t turn far enough and my car ended up outside the cones. I panicked and cut the wheel the other way too much and ended up outside the cones on the other side. Again, I turned sharply, barely clearing the finish cones.

Next came the road test. I was so nervous that I only recall two things: First, the terror I felt when I came around a bend to find a pedestrian in the street. She was easily avoided, but the incident made me nervous. Second, when I pulled in after the test, I realized I couldn’t remember using my blinker once during the test. When the examiner told me I passed, I felt a great deal of relief.

All that was left was to go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get my photo ID. This should have been easy, but nothing was that day. We pulled in at 4:30 only to find out we needed my birth certificate, and the office closed at 5 p.m. My mom drove home again, with me staying behind. I waited nervously, hoping my mom would make it back in time. The way I hovered by the door, examining each car that passed, I probably looked as though I were expecting the President himself to show up. As I waited, I had to listen to the desk attendant yell at me that she had told me to bring a birth certificate six months ago when I applied for my permit. Then she said that it was my fault and warned me not to blame my mother.

Mom did make it back, and I finally got my license. Since that hectic day, I have enjoyed many of the pleasures of driving. Due to all the problems I had just getting my license, I learned that driving is a major responsibility. It’s important to be prepared and careful when dealing with matters of the road.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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