What Failing My Driving Test in 10 Minutes Taught Me About Myself


Pretty much my face when I hit the curb.
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A few weeks ago, I took my practical driving test. And, I failed. In the first ten minutes, to be exact. Because, I messed up my three-point turn (something I’ve done properly a hundred times before) and then hit (hit, went up, same thing) the curb.

In all honesty (and without any modesty), I am a good driver. I’ve had weekly professional driving lessons, plus spent over 100 hours driving (and fighting in the car) with my parents. I can do the three-point turn easily, and there was no way I would have gone for the test if my parents, my driving instructor and I didn’t think I was ready — partially because I really don’t like failing, and partially because I was paying for the test myself and that’s $50 I would never get back.

Yet, I still messed up my test. Which was partially contributed to nerves, and partially because I freaked out somewhat before the test. My test got pushed back an hour, when I found out (surprise!) that my car’s registration hadn’t been put in my name, and I had to frantically call my father at work so he could come down and sign the piece of paper saying that if I freaked out, the driving instructor had permission to take over the car.

It started off okay. The driving test supervisor was lovely. We chatted about how it was her 13-year-old son’s birthday, and how I had just graduated from high school. I did a hill start, all was well. I even started my three-point turn well it wasn’t until I was exiting the three point turn that I didn’t turn the wheel enough, and ended up hitting the curb. It was a small street, and I thought I was pretty much stuck - I tried reversing back and driving out of the curb about five times, then I finally turned to the supervisor and said, “I know I’ve failed, but how do I get out of this?”

She told me to turn the wheel the other way in reverse. Well. Of course it had to be that simple.

Then I drove back to the testing center, and it was all over.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t cry as my Mum drove me home, because I did. Ugly tears which seemed to sum up my frustration on messing up something which I had done well so many times before, annoyance that I’d be stuck walking to work in Brisbane heat for longer, and the feeling of embarrassment that I’ll have to explain to my friends and family that I failed when they ask how I went, and that I was crying at my age.

Mixed in with all those other feelings though, was determination. Determination to take my test again, as soon as possible. Yes, I failed. Yes, it’s embarrassing, and frustrating and annoying, and I’m probably going to beat myself up over it for the next few days, because it’s no one’s fault but my own that I failed, but it’s not the end of the world. I’m disappointed in myself for sure, but disappointment is a part of life.

I’m glad I took my test. I’m not glad I failed, but strangely enough, this experience has made me realize something about myself: I’ve grown as a person. Two years ago, failing my driving test would have made me want to crawl up in a hole and make up some excuse about how failing was totally, completely, utterly not my fault. I would have blamed it on the car, on traffic, on anything I could. Two years ago, I would have refused to drive again, I would have only considered re-taking my test if someone had tried to persuade me to. Two years ago, I would never have written this blog post, and I would have never wanted anyone to know how I failed in ten minutes.

So, there’s that, at least.



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