Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Theme: License to Drive

By Julie Cross

This month, the amazing teamTEENauthor members are telling stories relating to our constitutional right to operate motor vehicles, which may vary considerably depending on the home country of the author. I'm a US resident and lived in Illinois at the time I reached driving eligible age and here it's 16. Though I turned 17 before I was able to complete my driver's ed course requirements and own a vehicle that the DMV was willing to get inside and go for a ride in.

Okay, so I'm journeying back in time....all the way back to 1997 when I got my drivers license. I had purchased (with my own money from nearly 2 years of working) a 1986 Oldsmobile for a whopping $2000. After scoring a perfect score on my road test and receiving my license, which, let me tell you, is an amazing feeling, I said goodbye to my nice friend who had driven my car to the test and I was on the road alone for the first time in my life.

Realizing I only had a quarter of a tank of gas, I pulled into the gas station and it was already dark because December in Illinois means darkness at 4:30pm. I felt like a rock star, pumping my own gas, going inside to pay, and then pulling out of the station. Well, the lights over the gas station were so bright that I forgot it was dark and turned onto a busy road will my headlines off. I literally drove about fifty feet before seeing blue and red lights flashing in my rear view mirror.

So yeah. Less than two miles into my first solo journey as a licensed driver and I was getting pulled over by a cop. My hands were shaking, I fumbled around for proof of insurance, then he knocked on the window and said, "Did you know your headlights are off and it's illegal to drive in the dark without headlights...blah, blah, blah..."

I remember slapping a palm to my face and then switching the lights on. Of course that didn't stop him from asking for my proof of insurance and license. He looked at the driver's license and then at me and said, "You just got this today?"

And I was like, "Yeah, like thirty minutes ago."

He gave me this look that said, "I can already tell you're going to be in for a lot of tickets in the future." But luckily he didn't give me a ticket, just handed back my license and told me to keep my lights on.

That's my story and I don't think I ever told my mom or any of my friends because I was so humiliated, knowing that I'd nearly gotten a ticket within an hour of exercising my right to operate a motor vehicle.

Anyone else got a good license to drive story to share in the comments section?  

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