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Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?
This is when someone who is inexperienced in driving cars must, for reasons of the plot, drive a car or boat or plane or... flying alien tank. Often Played for Laughs, and/or with someone in the backseat yelling "Slow down!" or "Eyes on the road!" Someone might also ask the character "Are you sure you can drive this thing?". The ride may or may not end with a car crash (which certainly answers that question).

A subtrope of Drives Like Crazy, this differs in that erratic driving is not a habit (or, usually, enjoyable) for the character.

Contrast: Universal Driver's License


Examples:

  • Delilah uses this phrase when Julius tries to drive a subway train in Delilah And Julius. When the tunnel starts to get flooded, she Verbal Backspaces and asks "Are you sure you can surf this thing?"
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy wants to drive, even though she failed her driving test. When the adults start behaving like teenagers Joyce lets her drive, and Buffy is far more interested in this than the fact the adults are acting wonky. We quickly find out that there was a good reason she wasn't allowed to drive before, as Snyder lampshades.
    "Woooh, Summers, you drive like a SPAZZ!!!!!!"
  • In Trinity Blood, Sister Esther tries to drive, and almost gives Abel a heart attack. It results in Radu finding them.
  • Sigrun of Stand Still, Stay Silent claims she knows how to drive (...how hard can it be?). When she tries to, however, she manages to destroy part of Danish machine park before Tuuri takes the wheel. Luckily, she was driving The Catmobile and not one of the Danish mega-tanks. Tuuri is also inexperienced behind the wheel. But, being The Engineer and Wrench Wench she is, at least she's got the theory to work with; Sigrun was running on chutzpah fumes alone.
  • Subverted in the Simpsons episode "Bart the Daredevil", where Homer is dangling in a gorge and Marge asks Bart to drive the car, to pull Homer up using a rope attached to the bumper; Bart at first acts nervous about it, but then reveals he has his own set of keys.
  • Sneakers has a scene where Whistler has to drive a truck. Whistler is blind, and has to receive instructions via walkie-talkie. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Jerry Reed (Snowman) asks Burt Reynolds (The Bandit) in Smokey and the Bandit if he can drive a forklift. "I can drive any forkin' thing around." Hilarity Ensues as we see that he can't.
  • In the Dirty Harry film Magnum Force, Harry pretends to be an airline pilot in order to thwart a hijacking. After seeing his incompetence as a pilot, the co-pilot says to Harry, "Excuse me, Captain, but can you fly?" Harry then says, "Nope. Not a bit," and disables the first hijacker who was in the cockpit.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dr. Jones Sr. and Jr. find themselves trying to escape from Nazis in a plane Indiana is piloting. Indiana has never successfully landed a plane in his life.
    Jones Sr: I didn't know you could fly a plane!
    Indiana Jones: Fly, yes! Land, no!
    • Truth In Film. Driving a plane around a mostly empty sky is really easy. Landing often ain't.
  • In Atlantis The Lost Empire, Milo is asked if he knows how to drive a truck. "Sure I can drive a truck. You have the break and the clutch and this lever... thing... All right, it was the bumper cars at Coney Island, but it's the same basic principle." Turns out it's not, and he has to be towed behind the rest of the way.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Piece of the Action", 23rd-century Captain Kirk drives a 1920s-era car on the gangster planet, guided only by fuzzy memories of the history of automobiles. He always successfully arrives at his destination, but Spock expresses strong displeasure with his driving skills.
    "Captain, you are an excellent starship commander but as a taxi driver you leave much to be desired."
  • In Persona 2, Tatsuya is perfectly capable of driving Mini-Mecha, Zeppelins, and submarines. All before having a normal driver's license.
  • An alternative version in Independence Day with David Asking Steven about flying the Alien Craft.
    David: You really think you can fly that thing?
    Steven: You really think you can do all that bullshit you just said?
  • When Jim applies for a job as a cabbie in Taxi, Louie genuinely doubts that he could drive a cab taking in mind the drugged-up hippie he is.
  • Averted: In ''Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Agent Washington asks Caboose if he knows how to drive, much to Wash's confusion Caboose answers "Yes but not an automatic, only stick." We'll just assume that somehow makes sense to him. Caboose seems to be quite capable of driving.
  • This happens in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and Ron do a fair job, but they have added complications: the car in question flies, must avoid suspicion, and crashes into a sentient tree.
  • In Red vs. Blue Wall, Simmons steals and attempts to pilot the blue team's Falcon, this ends as disastrously as expected with the resulting crash accidentally destroying the wall Sarge had been attempting to destroy throughout the miniseries.
  • The Adventures of Tintin, on commandeering a plane:
    Haddock: You know what you're doing, eh?
    Tintin: Relax, I interviewed a pilot once!
  • In Madagascar 3, Marty has to drive a van while the Penguins are occupied. Alex is adamant he can't because "Only people and penguins can drive!" Marty does so anyway with hooves, and he doesn't really do any worse than the penguins, although that's not saying much.'
  • Bubi Bear of The Hair Bear Bunch seems to think he can drive a taxi in "No Space Like Home." He can't, so Hair Bear yanks him in the backseat, leaving the taxi the bears are in moving with no driver (Square Bear: "How 'bout that...relax and leave the driving to nobody!")
  • In the pilot for Galactica1980, Lt Dillon takes over for the scientist driving during the get-away, despite the fact he never tried it before. Of course, he is an ace pilot, but Lt Dillon Boxey, grown-up chastises him about it.
  • Though he's not exactly inexperienced with cars, Rory has this exchange with Amy in the episode 'Let's Kill Hitler' of Doctor Who, when he hijacks a motorcycle:
    Amy: Can you even drive a motorcycle?
    Rory: I expect so. It's been that kind of day...
  • In True Lies, while Tasker has flown a Harrier before, it has been 10 years since he was last in a cockpit when he decides to take one to rescue his daughter. His teammate is quick to point this out - and he proves him right by crushing a car on takeoff...


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