Before you can be allowed to go behind the wheel of a car and drive it on your own, there is one course that you absolutely must pass. This is driver’s education. If you don’t go through it and pass the exam in the end, you cannot be granted a license. And without one, you can’t really go far with your car.
In the U.S., driver’s education is an integral part of becoming a responsible licensed driver. This is because it is believed that sending people to driving school results in better driving behavior and even reduces the likelihood of road incidents. This is especially the case when it comes to young and eager teen drivers. In fact, as a study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has revealed, young drivers who have not yet completed their driver’s education are 16 percent more likely to be involved in an accident. Even worse, they are also 24 percent more likely to become involved in a fatal or injury-causing accident. Meanwhile, 75 percent of teen drivers who also lack driver’s education are 75 percent more likely to end up with a traffic ticket.
On the other hand, the study had also found that teens who took and completed their driver’s education ended up with fewer traffic tickets and accidents during their first year of driving. Moreover, only 10.4 percent of students who had taken driver’s education ended up getting ticketed for moving traffic violations compared to 18.3 percent of teens who did not take driver’s education.
As you can see, going to driving school can certainly work to your benefit. When you attend one though, it is still best to approach everything with caution. That’s because, in some instances, sketchy things can happen in facilities like this. Just to give you an idea, here are some of the sketchiest events that have occurred in driving schools across the country so far.
23 Instructor fails student after an elderly pedestrian takes the crosswalk late
Especially when you are in the middle driving test, the last thing you want is to encounter an elderly pedestrian who seems unsure about taking the crosswalk. As one student told Car Throttle, this can cause you to fail your test.
Student Pieter Paßmann narrated, “I had 3 cars in front of me and they all halted at the crosswalk as an elderly man stood there and it seemed that he wanted to cross the road. Every car waited 15-25 seconds for the man to start walking across the road, but he stood there and did nothing. So all (the) cars went on and I rolled up to the crosswalk. I halted and looked the man straight in the face and waited for him to cross the road. I waited almost a whole minute and the man looked away and even turned his back to the crosswalk - I thought that he was waiting for somebody (a school is across the said road), so I continued my drive. OF COURSE the man immediately walked over the crosswalk as soon as I had driven over it. The test instructor started yelling at me for not letting an elder cross the road and stopped the test and failed me.”
22 Instructor falls asleep
As you can imagine, driving instructors also tend to work long hours. After all, they tend to teach more than one student on any given day and the lessons can go on for a long time.
Hence, it is possible for an instructor to feel exhausted to the point that he or she falls asleep while giving a lesson.
This is exactly what one student experienced who told BuzzFeed, “My instructor was around eight months pregnant, and ended up falling asleep while I was driving! The cars have a GPS system on them, so the system automatically failed me when I went off the 'guided route' that my instructor should have been reading out to me. Instead of getting her fired, the two of us decided to say there was construction and that I had to detour.”
21 Dogs coming out of nowhere
Ideally, the lot where driving students are having their driving lesson should be free of certain unnecessary distractions. This can include several objects that really have no business being on the road. At the same time, this can also include someone’s pets.
Unfortunately, there are times when pets seem to just come out of nowhere while someone is learning how to drive.
As one instructor recalled to the website Insure Learner Driver, “My student is rather nervous, but we are now ready to try the first ever short drive. We’ve gone through all the techniques and we’re ready for anything the road could throw at us. But, what we didn’t expect after setting off, and pushing to a shabby 10mph is- not one, not two but three tiny Jack Russell’s, that came flying under the bush, across the pavement and surround the car, followed by their owner who simply jumped through the bush in some type of X-Men style move, creating her own gate in the process.”
Fortunately, no dogs were harmed.
20 Instructor had to do some "personal business"
We all know that whenever you feel the urge to go, you just have to go. Even driving instructors don’t ignore this instinct and would interrupt a driving lesson if necessary.
This is exactly what happened to one student. As reported on Odometer, “I don't even remember my driving instructor's name, because on the first day he told us to call him by his nickname, which was 'Moose.' On my turn to drive the instructor had me drop him off at the condo he was staying at because he had to take a dump. The other student and I waited my entire driving turn for Moose to come back out.”
19 Student failed due to registration and insurance
In some driving tests, you can apparently receive a failing grade just because the examiner has some issues with your car’s registration and insurance. This is exactly what happened when a student took a driving test with a Trooper.
As told on Jalopnik, “On the morning of my 16th birthday in 1984, Dad took me over to Jenks to the driver's license testing facility in his shiny-new company car (1985 Chevrolet Caprice). Went through all the paperwork, no problem, now just had to take the driving test. I was prepped, including knowing what to do at the double stop sign (seriously, two stop signs on the same post) that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers liked to use to trip up new drivers. Trooper gets in the car, asks to see the registration and insurance. I hand them to him. Because it's a company car, it's not in Dad's name. Fail before we even get started.”
18 Instructor unusually hard on student
That same student who was failed by one trooper had decided to take a driving test again. This time, a personal car was used. Everything looked okay except the trooper gave the student an unusually hard time while in the middle of a test. This might be because the student insisted that the trooper put a seatbelt on.
The student recounted, “Go home, get Mom's 1983 Caprice (which IS in our name, and was Dad's previous company car), go back. Get different trooper, this one easily well over 300 lbs. Paperwork checks okay.
Nicely ask trooper to fasten his seatbelt (this is before mandatory seat belt laws). He declines. Ask again, very nicely, explain it's a family rule. He begrudgingly fastens belt.
He ran me through every trap, every trick possible around the test facility. I managed to avoid them all. This only made him try to sweat me more. Double stop sign? Check. Stop sign so far back from intersection so you can't see well enough to proceed safely without making a second stop past the sign? Check. Inexplicable drop in speed limit to 10 mph (from 25) in a neighborhood? Check. Eventually, he gave up.”
17 Instructor hitting on student
Even while in the middle of a driving lesson, there are some cases when a driving instructor might decide to start hitting on a student. This was exactly what happened to one student during a lesson.
As one student posted on Reddit, “He called 20min before the appointment, and I said it was good that he called because I had completely forgotten about it. On the phone, he stated that it had "been a while since I've gotten a 25 year old out of bed." I should have just picked up on that and canceled, I had homework due in a half hour anyway. I second guessed myself and figured he didn't mean it in a sexual way, but I also couldn't figure out how else he could have meant it.
I was not dressed provocatively when he picked me up. I wore a t-shirt with skinny jeans, glasses, no make up, and my hair was pretty messy. He immediately started saying how pretty I was and complimented my skin and figure. I thanked him at first because it seemed like a relatively benign awkward comment, and tried to bring the conversation back to driving related topics. I made sure to mention little things about my boyfriend, just to gently make it clear that I wasn’t interested.”
16 Instructor demands McDonald's
Although rare, there are some stories of driving instructors demanding their students that they bring something for him or her to the lesson or they would automatically fail. This can be the case especially if the student is already late for the lesson.
One student had said that a driving instructor would demand that late students get her a meal from McDonald's.
As told on Jalopnik, the student explained, “Our instructor was infamous for making students buy her a McDouble meal if they were late. Seriously. Tardy students quickly found how just how serious Wendy was about her McDoubles. She would not give them keys if they didn’t get her a McDouble meal. I don’t know how the drivers’ ed company never found out from an upset student or parent. For me, drivers’ ed will always smell like pickles and mustard.”
15 Instructor gets too close for comfort
Typically, a driving instructor would be situated right beside you during a driving lesson or test. That’s because they have to close enough to give you instructions and later on, evaluate you.
However, one instructor seemed to have shifted too close to a student at one point.
As the student relayed to Car Throttle, “I’m holding my line on what seemed endless at the time entrance ramp and suddenly I feel something brush my ear. I continue to drive checking my left shoulder for the traffic and to my alarm, the driving instructor is leaned over onto my side of the car peering down the tunnel that encloses my gauges. Startled by the sudden close proximity of the white haired stranger, my hands jerk on the wheel and we begin an ungodly wiggle in the entrance lane which I was sure would end in failure.”
14 Instructor asks a series of awkward questions
For one student, the situation immediately awkward that moment they got in the car. That’s because the instructor started firing off a series of questions that are completely unrelated to driving.
As the person narrated on Jalopnik, “We got in the car, he asked me to start the car, and the horror began.
5 minutes in...
“So, are you going to ferry your girlfriend around now that you have your license?”
“Yeah I guess.”
“Oh... I knew you had a girlfriend. I could just tell.”
“Oh yeah? How’s that?”
“A good looking guy like you would have no trouble getting a girl! I think the real problem would be keeping them, with all that temptation around...”
5 minutes later...
“So do you and your girlfriend get along well?”
“Yeah not bad.”
“I guess now that you have your license you can take her to a nice quiet place in the car and do something sneaky!!”
13 Instructor runs errands during a lesson
In some situations, there are driving instructors who feel that they can get away with running a bunch of errands while they are in the middle of giving a student a lesson. According to the website Clever Dodo, there are some cases where an instructor would consider making a quick run to the bank during lesson time.
At the same time, some instructors would even make a student drive to drop off his or her family members or friends who are in the back seat of the car.
As you can probably tell, this is quite unprofessional. And if you happen to encounter an instructor who is trying to make you do these things, you should report it immediately.
12 Student is failed because of parking spot
You might think it could never happen, but it is possible to fail a driving test even before it has started. As it turns out, there are some instructors who can easily find fault in the spot where you had parked your car.
This is what happened to one driving student who told Jalopnik, “Parked the family Taurus at Arkansas State Police Troop K headquarters in Hot Springs and walked inside for my driving test appointment.
Rang the bell at the desk and Officer Friendly (no shit, that was his name) ambled around the corner. He stared at me. Unblinking.
"I'm here for my driving test." Meekly.
No words. He picked up a clipboard and his jacket and walked around the corner.
"What the hell you waiting for? I don't have all day for this shit."
At this point I'm certain he'll "find" some weed in my mom's car, but I trot along behind nonetheless.
"Where you parked?" I pointed to my mom's faded blue Ford across the lot.
"Goddammit boy, that lot is for State Police only. Did you not see the goddamn sign?"
Well no. And in fact, there was no sign.
"You fail. Come back in 30 days, and don't fuck up again. Jee-zus Christ, you kids are all a buncha goddamn fuckin' idjits."”
11 Instructor berates student’s personal life
Unfortunately, there are people who feel like they have the right to express their opinion about another person’s life. Unfortunately, some of these people can be driving instructors and they can end up berating you and your life while you are in the middle of a lesson.
As one student has told Jalopnik, “The time I had a super conservative instructor somehow find out I came from a divorced family, who pretty much failed me for any excuse possible while making remarks about my "broken/problem family". Still the only time I've been discriminated for that, and I've done way worse things than have parents who hated each other. (And if anyone's wondering, no this person isn't giving out tests anymore.)”
10 Instructor touches student unnecessarily
As you can imagine, there are rare instances that would require any driving instructor to physically touch his or her student during a driving lesson.
However, it turns out that there are instructors who can’t seem to help themselves.
One student who posted her experience on Girls Ask Guys wrote, “Me and my instructor get along really well, he is really charismatic and funny but…. The thing is that I think he might be flirting with me but maybe I just overreact and misinterpret his actions? (He is in his 50’s and I’m 18) He always touches my arm when he talks to me, but I think he does that to everyone cause he is a very ‘touchy’ person. He also rests his hand on my leg (thigh). He puts his hand on top of mine on the gear stick, to show me how to do it I guess, but he does that very often. I don’t know if it’s normal for driving instructors to touch their students so much?”
9 Passing test by virtue of a beater car
At the moment, it remains unclear what kind of cars are allowed for use in a driving test. As you can imagine, a car can get pretty beaten up over time. And without proper care and maintenance, it would stop running efficiently and can even cause accidents on the road. This is exactly why it is weird that an instructor would decide to pass a student because they are driving a beat-up car.
As the student told on Jalopnik, “Inspector gets in the car, checks my paperwork, looks at me and says, "How old are you? I told him I was 17 and since he didn't ask why I had grey hair, I didn't tell him. But he shoved his clipboard toward me and said, "Sign this!" so I did. Then, he noticed the steering wheel and asked if I could blow the horn. I said I wasn't sure because I never had to. I blew it though, so he had to look for some other excuse. He noticed the absence of the passenger door panel and consequently the door handle. He asked, "How do you get out of this thing?" Wordlessly, I gave him the door handle. He didn't ask for the handle to roll up the window, so I didn't give him that. As I said, you could hear the bad muffler better if the windows were up.
I passed the first time I actually took the test. I always thought it was because the instructor wanted to be sure he never had to ride in that old Dodge again.”
8 Driving school doesn’t give the student the lessons that were paid for
In some states, driving lessons are done through a private company. If this is the case, you would most like be charged a few hundred dollars for a particular number of sessions as well as a test afterward. Unfortunately, as one student has discovered, not all driving schools would give students their money’s worth.
As told by a student on Jalopnik, “In Virginia the driving section was done through a private company which charged hundreds of dollars for (mandated by law) five sessions and a test at the end. The owner of the school picked me up on day one and we drove around for a half hour then took me home. He handed me a signed paper and said, “It’s been nice getting to know you over the past five days, good luck to you.”
7 Instructor insists on taking hands off the steering wheel
As you might know, one of the basic rules of driving is to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times. It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in traffic. It doesn’t matter if you are feeling lazy. It just doesn’t make sense to take your hands off the steering wheel while the car is moving because this can result in you losing control of the car.
Oddly enough though, one instructor was insistent teaching a student to drive without any hands on the wheel while having trouble staying in the middle of a lane.
As narrated by a student on Jalopnik, “This frustrated my instructor. The way he responded with it, was to grab the wheel from the passenger seat, and I was told sternly to take my hands off the wheel. I nervously complied.
“SEE!? It’s not that hard! I can do this from the passenger sea...” At this point he noticed that I had moved my left hand back to the bottom of the wheel, which I had put there because not holding on to the steering wheel is crazy. The way my instructor responded to this was: “Boy? What are you doing? I told you to take your hands off the wheel and stay on the gas!”
6 Instructor engages in road rage
Typically, driving instructors are expected to take to the road with a certain air of calm. After all, the last thing you want is to encourage a student to be hot-tempered while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, there are still instructors who cannot reign in on their own temper. In fact, they went as far as engaging in some road rage while with a student.
According to the student, the incident occurred after a vehicle cut them off. What happened next was bothersome. As told on Jalopnik, “Next thing I know, my instructor is yelling scheiß out the window hitting his little horn button and laying on the gas. He was chasing this man down. Not knowing what to do I just sat there as a passenger in the drivers seat watching the Jimmy swerving around and then pulling into the back lot of my school.”
5 Instructor gets physical
Driving instructors can get pretty annoyed with students, just like other teachers. Nonetheless, it would still not be right to try to threaten a student physically regardless of their behavior in class. After all, this is almost equivalent to bullying.
As told by one student to Jalopnik, “If kids were disruptive in his class, he would do a sudden side kick and stop his foot about an inch away from the offender’s face. Doug once had a full court spaz when someone interconnected all of his dry erase markers. He went to grab one marker and they all fell on the floor. Complete meltdown.”
4 Instructor doesn’t refund money
Perhaps for the sake of convenience, there are some driving students who would simply opt to pay for the cost of several driving sessions during enrollment. This just seems easier than paying the instructor right before you start a lesson each time.
However, according to Clever Dodo, there are some instructors who end up failing to honor their teaching commitments with their students.
In some cases, they would just tell you that they can no longer teach at the agreed schedule. Meanwhile, in other cases, a student may also realize that he or she can no longer continue driving because of a health issue.
Either way, there are instructors who refuse to give a refund.
3 School gets robbed
Sure, you can experience some adventures (and misadventures) while attending driving school. However, the last thing anyone expects is to encounter anyone with a gun.
Unfortunately, this was exactly what happened in 2016 at the Safety First Driving School in Milwaukee.
According to a report from Fox 6 Now, a class had been in session and a masked man reportedly came in with a gun. At that time, there had been eight students present in the classroom. Fortunately, police managed to catch the suspect before he could hop into a car and flee the scene.
Following the incident, the school decided to put in more security measures.
2 Instructor goes on too many "holidays"
Typically, we like to think of driving instructors as always ready and willing to educate a new driver to make sure that they are safer and more confident on the road. Unfortunately, there are some instructors who would rather cancel several lessons than perform their job.
As one student has said in The Student Room forum, “My first instructor was a complete idiot. He would take me around the same couple of streets over and over again. I never learned anything. Also, he was "on holiday" every couple of weeks for I couldn’t have a lesson half the time. At its worst, I had 1 lesson in 5 weeks. He even canceled a lesson because it was raining a bit. He was a bit like that with my friend and her older sister but not as bad. So I got rid of the robbing idiot and got another instructor.”
1 Instructor screams at student
Just like other professionals, instructors can also have a temper. And sometimes, they fail to get it under control so that they end up screaming at a student while in the middle of a lesson.
As one student has explained to BuzzFeed, “I made a complete stop at a stop sign and my instructor turned to SCREAM in my face that I 'wasn't making the passenger feel safe' because I was very slowly braking, because apparently 'If the passenger can't feel you braking, he doesn't feel safe.' So at the next stop sign, I waited until I was right at the stop sign before I slammed on the brakes. He was not wearing a seatbelt, and shot forward and slammed his face into the dashboard on the passenger side.”
Sources: newsroom.unl.edu, odometer.com, jalopnik.com, insurelearnerdriver.co.uk