How My Dad Never Passed A Driving Test

No, he did not get into trouble

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

I used to love it when I was in the car with my Dad. I used to think cars were on an invisible track on the road. My Dad was always calm and patient. He never had an accident all the years he drove.

He drove us to the beach on summer days, at around 4 PM. The water was warm then and people were leaving. He could spot birds of prey even while driving. My sister and I would struggle to see them.

When we moved to England, twice a year Dad drove us back to our home in Germany. It took twenty four hours with the ferry. My sister and I slept in the back, though I watched the street lamps as we left Brussels behind.

I went with Dad to fetch a car from the factory. I don’t know why, but it had to do with his being an army officer. I was five. I accepted what was and felt special. I never asked about why or how.

Whenever it was just me with Dad in the car, he loved to make me laugh. Once, on the downhill near our home, as no traffic was around, he braked to slow down and moved his foot away. I giggled.

My Dad cycled and walked a lot. The car was for family outings and going to Germany. We got driven to Brownies as it was after dinner time, and sometimes I was fetched from the stables four miles away. Otherwise I walked, and met Dad half way.

My Dad never took a driving test. He joined the army aged seventeen. One day, he was ordered to move a lorry. ‘I don’t have a driving licence, Sir’ my Dad replied. He was ordered to move the lorry and see his officer the next morning.

In the office, he was asked to sign his driving license. I mentioned this in comments to someone here who thought my Dad was in trouble. How does obeying an order get anyone into trouble? He was issued a licence.

I would drive anywhere with my Dad. And he made a great passenger too. My mother? She scared me to death. My daughter is a great driver.

My Dad drove us to beauty spots away from where we lived as where we lived would swarm with people on vacation. We visited my parents’ friends, so boring, but our walks at beautiful places were legendary.

As a family we drove all over Europe, then I did so as a single woman, a married woman, and a mother with my daughter. I gave up my car soon after my daughter passed her test. I want to lessen my carbon impact on the Earth in anyway I can.

My memories of journeying with Dad are many and so happy. 


The Uninsured Truck

A four-way stop

Photo by why kei on Unsplash

One day in southern California, I set out in the car a friend lent me to go look at a used vehicle for sale. I did not get there.

I came to a four-way stop and saw a truck in the distance to my left. I was definitely there first. I had stopped. I never rolled through.

I proceeded to go straight ahead. Suddenly, I felt so tired and sleepy. How odd. I drove on, and the car was making a clunking noise. I was worried so I pulled over and opened my door. But the door would not open. I must tell my friend. So I climbed over and got out through the passenger door. I walked round and saw a dent in the door.

I was really struggling to grasp this, but climbed in the car again. As I crawled over, I saw my long hair in the rear view mirror. It was red, and blue triangle at my hairline. I looked down and my shirt was red. I needed help. I drove on and saw some young people around my age. I stopped and asked if they would phone the house where I was living. Bizarrely, they did not come nearer until one girl asked for the number.

Then men were cutting me out of the driver door. I explained I could have gotten out the other side. Next I was lying in a big van and being asked what day it was. This bothered me. They should know? What year? Who was president? I told them Wednesday (it was Tuesday). And then I was in an ER.

Someone was touching my head and it hurt. Then I heard a pneumatic drill. I started screaming. They told me they had to shave along a cut. I could not stop screaming as my PTSD was triggered. They stitched my head and face. I lay there refusing X-rays, until a message came that my friend would not take me home until I had them. I don’t recall having them.

Three friends came to me. One was the owner of the car. She was wearing a shirt over a T shirt, and made me take off my shirt and wear hers. OK, chill.

The guy friend carried me to his VW bug. I was compliant.

It turned out my friend’s car was Daddy’s car and forbidden to be lending it. So no insurance. The police told me the woman in the truck had no insurance at all.

My friend told me her Daddy’s insurance went up by $200 so I had to pay it. I told her she had disobeyed Daddy and I was the victim of her deceit. She also wanted me to pay for new spectacles as hers had been in the car. I told her I did not borrow her spectacles.

I had been hit by the truck and the car was spun around. I have no memory of the collision. I either was knocked unconscious by the gear stick, or the box of CDs on the passenger seat. Friends who went to the pound told me they could not believe I was alive. The back of the driver’s seat was ripped off.

We discovered cuts on the back of my shoulder and my left ear. I had thirty six stitches over my scalp and twelve across my right eyebrow.

I had two black eyes and bruising that made my face resemble Adam, Frankenstein’s monster. The bruising took three weeks to fade, but I had blue ‘eyeliner’ for months.

I paid my friend’s Daddy in installments until I realised it was not my bill to pay.

To this day, I feel fear at certain junctions. I breathe in when cars are at stop lights on either side of my road.