Conquering the Course MAG

By Chris M., So. Plainfield, NJ

     My dad stepped out of the car, and it was then that I realized exactly what was happening. A woman walked behind my car and shouted, “Left blinker. Good. Right blinker. Good. Tap the brakes. Good.” She spoke sternly, but I was not intimidated. She proceeded to make herself comfortable in the passenger seat and introduced herself as Carol, or Caroline, something like that.

“Should I put the car in drive now?” I asked.

“Well, if you intend to drive, perhaps that would be best,” she responded sarcastically. That irritated me. Now I wanted to pass not only for myself but also to show her I knew what I was doing. Looking back, that seems kind of stupid since I doubt I’ll ever see her again.

I pulled out of the parking space and began driving through the course. My eyes were all over the road, but, at the same time, focused in front. I saw stop signs, crosswalks, cones and everything else they were throwing at me. I started up a small hill and she told me to pull over and park. I tried to remember everything I had learned in Driver’s Education, but it had been such a long time. I flicked my blinker, pulled over and put the car in park.

“Is that all?” she inquired.

“I guess so,” I replied. As I put the car back in drive, I realized I had not used my parking brake. She’s going to fail me, I thought. Everyone at school is going to laugh at me. No more mistakes, flawless driving from here on out. We proceeded into a small square area of road with cones lined up on both sides.

“I want you to drive to the back of the box, do a three-point turn and drive back to the front,” she commanded. I executed my K turn with absolute perfection. There was no way she could take any points off.

“Now, I want you to reverse to the back of the box, pull forward, and then parallel park between those cones,” she ordered next. This sounded a bit tougher, but I reversed perfectly straight and proceeded to pull forward. I put on my left blinker. A drop of sweat fell from my brow. I pulled the tail of my car into the space and then straightened out.

“You can measure it if you’d like, but I think that’s six inches,” I said with a smug smile. She let out a small chuckle. I was not sure if it was because she thought I was funny or because I was so far away from the curb. She told me we were done and to drive back.

“You did well with your stopping, turning and parking,” she said, and I let out a sigh of relief. “But you did not put on your parking brake when you parked on the hill,” she continued, and the relief I had just felt vanished. “Despite that error, I think you deserve to pass,” were the final words she uttered to me.

“Thank you! Thank you!” I nearly screamed. I drove over and picked up my dad, then walked triumphantly into the DMV building to get my driver’s license.

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