Schreiber senior tells the tale of becoming a licensed driver


Main painfully long afternoons were spent in this car, in between dashing to Subway to get “dinner,” back to the car, and then off to practice. Some days I would jump out of the drivers ed car just to rush onto a bus, and be whisked off to a far away game.

Julia Bischoff, Features Editor

I began my journey to become a licensed driver on July 23, 2017.  It was the day I decided I would take my permit test, and no, I had done no prior research at all and did not even study in the slightest.  I pulled up in my mom’s snazzy 2012 Volvo CX90 (the car I drive to this very day) to the nearest DMV.  It was the wrong DMV as it was one that only handled commercial vehicle licenses and the like.  So we scurried over to a different DMV that administered the test and waited about three hours before I could even take the test.  Somehow, I passed with only two questions wrong.  Then it was another two hours before I could take my picture (when they made me redo my hair because the camera couldn’t focus on my face), but nonetheless I was beginning my long journey to become a licensed driver.

Next, it was time for me to actually learn how to operate my personal motor vehicle.  It all started in the Salem parking lot not too long after my permit test.  To get a feel for steering, my mother had me go around in circles without hitting the gas and just using the brakes and the steering wheel.  This would have been fine if it had only happened once or twice, but I did this at least four times before I was able to go around the whole parking lot using the actual gas.  

Gradually, I was able to move onto driving in our neighborhood, which was terrifying as I had not been near another car yet.  Needless to say, I did not truly learn how to drive until drivers ed started.

Drivers ed itself was not that bad.  Getting the opportunity to drive in a car filled with a bunch of other kids who had no idea what they were doing was terrifying, but also educational.  The classroom sessions were less than thrilling, since all we learned about were the horrific deaths that occurred with young drivers, but I managed.  The part that really got me was the overlap of drivers ed and the basketball season.  It is part of school policy that you cannot miss any part of practice for a drivers ed class.  So, naturally, I scammed the system.  All of our games were late on Thursdays, so I would go to the early class for maybe 30 minutes before leaving to run to the gym in time for the game.  I somehow made it to the end and received my certificate.

It was not until the middle of April (three months after drivers ed) when I took my road test.  This was where the real miracle work came in.  I drove the test site far too early, but I was thankful since there were so many people already waiting.  I gave my tester all of the proper documents, and we were off.  It started off just fine, I signaled and turned very well, and I even parallel parked perfectly.  

Then, we got to the three-point turn on just about the narrowest road in the whole neighborhood.  I began to backup and ended up hitting the curb (lightly), which caused me to turn to my instructor, horrified.  It was supposed to be an auto fail, but she told me to “just keep going.” My hands shook as I turned the wheel and began driving back to the test site.  I was so nervous that I forgot to signal to pull over to the curb.  This was dismissed, and so was the bump on the curb.  Yet again, I somehow made it through.  

At this point, things were going well, as I had my juniors license (which I still don’t understand the point of).  Finally, July came back around, and the first day I was able to drive alone quickly arrived.  I went to start my car, and the battery was dead.  A bad omen to almost anyone, but with no fuss I jump started it and went to go get gas.  I cut the engine (like an idiot), so it did not start again when I tried for the second time.  Another bad omen.  But my mother came and helped me jumpstart it, and then I was off to the races.  I have not stopped since.  

So here I am a fully licensed driver, somehow, someway.  If you are struggling on your journey to becoming a driver, I hope you can take comfort in my story.  If you are driven, motivated, and maybe a little lucky, you’ll be sure to make it here too.