A Canadian Reality Show which focuses on rehabilitating the worst drivers in The Moose And Maple, as nominated by their friends and family members. The object of the show is essentially to learn enough about proper driving in order to "graduate" from rehab, done in the form of different challenges meant to build specific driving skills. In other words, you don't want to move on to the next round. The "winner" (or should we say loser) in the end is crowned the titular "worst driver", and often receives an equally crappy looking trophy.While the show's goals are serious, a lot of it is mainly Played for Laughs. Yes, there are Asian Drivers. Yes, there are Women Drivers. And two contestants (Emily of Season 4 and Flora of Season 8) were both. They're no worse than the other contestants(unless, of course, that person "wins"). The show started in September 2005 and is still ongoing: its 8th season recently concluded, and its 9th season starts filming in June.
This series provides examples of
Adult Fear: On this show, there is plenty to be afraid of.
Season 8 uses a sky-blue Ford Mustang GT as the recurring vehicle. The season premiere revealed the state the car was in when the filming for that season concluded, and it's not pretty.
Appeal To Authority: Some of the worst drivers have used this as a defense against the show, saying that they can't be bad because their respective provincial Ministries of Transportation gave them licenses in the first place. A recurring theme in the show is that there are bad drivers who somehow slip through the cracks and get licenses when they shouldn't; in Donna's case, they tell the authorities about her heart condition, who then review and revoke her license.
Asian Drivers: Not that they're any worse than their fellow contestants.
Jason, Season 3 winner
Emily, Season 4 runner-up
Arun, Season 5's last graduate (who is from India, not the far east as per the stereotype)
With Season 5, this went straight to the realm of Domestic Abuse with Wil (who was indeed called "Canada's Worst Passenger" by Andrew Younghusband) and Melissa. Younghusband forced Wil to listen to a recording of himself. Wil was devastated.
Frank from Season 8 is another example and his constant interference may have resulted in Flora getting the CWD award along with Kevin.
Badass Biker: Paul from Season 6 and his nominator Tommy are the first to arrive at the rehab center on two, rather than four, wheels. Of course, Paul was sent to the show because he had a fear of driving 4-wheeled automobiles. He was able to quickly overcome his fears of driving, and was the first graduate of the season. Fittingly, he also had the most magnificent facial hair of any contestant too!
Badass Driver: Some of the contestants think they're this—which is why they are mentioned under Drives Like Crazy. Some of the judges are this, including:
Philippe Létourneau (high performance instructor from season 2 onward), former race car driver and professional diving instructor.
Dr. Louisa Gembora (psychologist for seasons 4 and 5), who is a race car driver and psychologist
Dr. Lauren Kennedy-Smith (psychologist for season 6), also a psychologist and race car driver
With all the demonstrations he's done since the start of the series, Andrew may have become one himself. *
In the FAQ before the season 8 premiere, he says he didn't even have a license until he was 26, and had never done any of the challenges shown until he was hired as the host. He also says he was an unemployed actor turned writer when he got a callback for an audition for some driving show, passed the audition and has been the host ever since.
Badass Longhair: Again, Paul. He had arguably the longest hair of any contestant from any of the seasons.
Belief Makes You Stupid: Played with in Season 7. Afiya tried to justify her dangerous habits by saying that angels were protecting her car. This became fodder for some of Andrew's narrations, but he and the experts never attacked her faith, instead focusing on the need for her to develop better driving skills and habits.
The Big Guy: Former police Sgt. Cam Woolley is a large man. His no-nonsense stare, intolerance of lawbreakers and his position as a former traffic cop make him a guy you don't want to piss off.
Paul and Tommy from Season 6 showed another side of this trope when they had troubles fitting in the cars.
Blind Without 'Em: Some contestants have a condition on their driver's license requiring them to wear adequate corrective lenses (such as glasses or contact lenses). The only time a point is made of this is when the contestant fails to do so—which is worryingly common.
Kevin from Season 8 is literally half blind even with his glasses: his right eye is glass.
Camera Abuse: Cameras are sent flying several times a season. The producers seldom let the resulting footage go unaired.
Canada, Eh?: Played straight in Season 7, where just about all of the challenges were themed around Canadian stereotypes. For instance, every other prop had maple leaves painted on them, moose were used as obstacles, there was a Car Curling minigame, and one challenge involved backing up a delivery truck full of beer cases through an obstacle course.
Captain Crash: The drivers sent to rehab for recklessness or obliviousness tend to be this. A number of them have wrecked so many cars that they've lost count. Andrew will sometimes comment that these drivers are lucky to be alive.
Car Meets House: Occasionally played straight by contestants in their past experience. And in Season Four, which was held at a closed jail, there was an onscreen case of Laundry Truck Meets Prison.
Dale managed to do this with a garage—specifically, she drove through the door. Not the doorway, the door, which was closed at the time.
Censor Box (Parodied): a stop sign appears over the contestants' mouth whenever they swear (along with accompanying bleep). Punk rocker Jakob from Season 5 got an anarchy symbol instead.
Cerebus Roller Coaster: The show has a serious point, but most of it's Played for Laughs. And if you think it's really funny—meet Aaron, or rather, what's left of him after a serious car crash. Photos of him in the hospital were in every episode of Season 7.
Cherry Tapping: The Water Tank Challenge course on Season 7 has a car that randomly backs up out of the row of parked vehicles. Of course, the point is to notice this, and smoothly slow to a stop. Guess what happens next.
Clip Show: Season 1 has the aforementioned Canada's Worst Driver vs. The World special (which featured clips from international versions of the franchise), while Season 3 was accompanied by a clip show detailing some of the top 101 problems on Canadian roads, as demonstrated by that season's contestants.
The premiere of Season 8 was preceded by the "U Asked!" special the night prior, which featured answers to frequently asked questions about the series.
Clothing Damage: An interesting variation. In Season 6, Lance started out as dapper as could be. At the end, he looked like a slob, wearing a torn wifebeater and some face stubble.
Cluster F-Bomb: Diane gets to spout one off right off the bat for Season 8 (censored, of course). She's arguably the biggest potty-mouth of the Season 8 contestants. Azim from that same season is not too far behind her. Of course, they weren't the only ones to ever do so...
After Flora breaks the rear bumper off and almost rolls over the Mustang in the Eye of the Needle challenge, Andrew declares it necessary to do so as well.
The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Dale (Season 6's runner-up) had an extensive history of ignoring traffic rules and bumping things despite her husband being a driving instructor.
Com Mons: The metallic rims often littered around certain challenges. They're loud when knocked over, and can cause some vehicular damage in certain scenarios.
Completely Missing the Point: While the show's point is making bad drivers better, "Let us graduate and we promise we'll never drive again" was a line often heard on the first season. Not so much later seasons, though.
Father Giles in Shopping Cart Hockey — the intent is to teach control while moving fast. Father Giles barely got above 10 km/h. he also was the only one to score a goal, aside from Andrew Younghusband himself.
Cool Car: Many challenges (often ones that require the use of speed and control) will often use fancy cars, mainly of the classic variety.
This got to the point where people pleaded with the producers to stop using classic cars on the show. So for Season 6, they instead bought a nice shiny new Camaro! You can guess what happened to it.
For the 2011 season, they instead bought a used 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, customized with a Canadian flag paint job to go with the Canada, Eh? theme of the season
For the 2012 season, they brought in a Ford Mustang. They were hoping to use it as part of their Final Exam Finale, but given the poor condition the Mustang ended up in, they rented another for the exam. During that test, Kevin hit something with the rental, although we don't know what or how.
Creepy Crossdresser: During Amy's final drive in Season 4, Bob decides to play tourist by snapping lots of photos, including one of a man in a woman's dress.
Occasionally averted entirely when one candidate does way better than all the rest (and all agree that the candidate should leave), or when only one judge dissents (in Season 5, all judges agreed that Angelina should be the worst driver, save for Cam Woolley who named Mike Butt instead), and sometimes no one can agree, so no one graduates.
Also Averted in the finale of Season 8 where Andrew (as the tiebreaker) cannot decide who is the worst driver, Flora or Kevin, with equally bad performances. They both end up "winning" the award.
Distracted by the Sexy: When Andrew asked one contestant how she passed her driving test (she was, amongst other things, unable to parallel park), her answer? "Flirt!" He really hoped her instructor was watching the show.
Donna from Season 4 turned out to have a heart ailment and had to leave the show.
Crystal from Season 5 was permitted to leave after her brother-in-law was killed in a driving accident.
Drives Like Crazy: Seriously, what part of "Canada's Worst Driver" do you not understand? At least two in every season, and waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too many to count these days.
In the show's opening, the Chevrolet Camaro that weaves through traffic and speeds past construction zones has a license plate that reads "XLR8N".
In Season 1, Faith Ann Stone was a speed freak nominated by four people—all acting independently.
In Season 2, Sean's vanity plate literally read "SPEEED". Boy did fellow contestant Michael get some mileage out of that.
In Season 3, Thomas Hobbs was an aspiring street racer. Street racing is a criminal offence in Canada.
In Season 4—speaking of street races—Ashley and Ken actually got into one on the way to the rehab center! Remember what was said about this being criminal? They nearly got the show shut down.
In Season 6, Scott and Dean both drove 50 km/h (30 mph) over the limit and were ordered by the camera crews to stop the trip altogether. Note: Getting busted for doing 50 over the limit means a mandatory court appearance and an automatic license suspension.
In Season 7, Afiya had to pull over for going over 50 km/h over the limit while Jon would have been stopped if there had been a crew member in the car.*
His car was too small to fit both his nominator and a cameraman.
Season 8 has Klyne, who constantly speeds, texts while driving, and as a result, has had ten accidents in just two years as a licensed driver.
Driving Stick: Stick shifts are brought frequently. This trope is played as straight as you please every time, with ground gears, burned clutches, and the works.
Paul from Season Six, who completed a challenge involving balancing a stick-shift car on a teeter-totter almost as quickly as Andrew did and with not a lick more damage to the car.
Paul: (from almost completely level car) How's that?
Andrew (narrating): "That" is perfect!
On the other hand, everyone else did so bad that all five of the cars they brought out for the challenge had their clutches burned out — the last person had to be exempted because they didn't have a sixth!
Perhaps this is why there was no manual transmission challenge in Season 7. The manual transmission teeter-totter did return for Season 8, however. Only one car had a confirmed clutch burn this time around, but someone else popped a tire, and most of their performances left much to be desired.
Drunk Driver: Sadly, some of the contestants have indeed done this.
Colin from Season 2 took none of the show seriously. It resulted in him getting expelled, his car towed, and his keys destroyed.
Andrew knew about the street race mentioned under Drives Like Crazy, as the drives are always filmed. He was pissed.
In Season 6, Scott found his own bad driving amusing. Danny, his nominator and the guy who paid for Scott's insurance, didn't, and his disgust is quite visible. In the second episode, Danny finally got fed up, tore Scott a new one and cancelled the insurance policy. This meant Scott was no longer a valid driver, which caused him to be expelled from the show—the first time that a contestant has been effectively expelled by his own nominator.
Later during the same season, Dale's idea of a joke was to attempt to run Andrew over. This got her a real yelling at from Andrew and her nominator, and she unbelievably tried to accuse them of having no sense of humor over the issue (though she later apologized for her actions).
A subversion: Crystal stopped finding her own driving habits funny after her brother-in-law Tom Stagno died in a traffic accident.
Season 8's Klyne has a tendency to hit a lot of things, with his mother Maureen (also his nominator) giggling throughout the entire process. During the Bus Reverse Challenge, Maureen kept cheering him on and giggling while Klyne was trashing the course. Andrew was not happy and called Maureen an enabler for Klyne's bad driving habits. When she gave him a 10 "for effort", Andrew chewed her out royally.
Dumb Blonde: Just about anyone with fair hair can qualify, but especially Angelina, the Season 5 champion. Dale, from Season 6, thought a sign forbade a U-turn. She was being shown a sign that meant "Tourist Information Ahead", which is a brown sign with a question mark — which she then thought represented a road and the dot at the end the actual information center.
Dumbass No More: While many of the drivers aren't stupid, this is pretty much the point of the show.
Early Installment Weirdness: Two things stand out for Season 1: First, it was held during the winter, not the summer. Second, no Cam Woolley, who joined during Season 2 and has been there ever since. Third, they confiscated the nominees' car keys until season 3, when they started taking their licenses (they legally can't keep them).
Scott and Dean from Season 6 weren't allowed to finish their drive to the rehab center, which is the very first challenge in the series.
Likewise, Afiya from Season 7 sped so much that the cameraman ordered a stop. Not only that, she hit an obstacle even before leaving the parking garage where the drive began. Jon would have been stopped if he had been accompanied by a cameraman (the Corvette he drove to rehab didn't have enough seats to seat a cameraman).
Being the first contestant to be kicked off of anyWorst Driver show in the world: (Colin from Season Two)
Getting kicked off the show — in the second episode (Scott from Season Six set the record for fastest expulsion.)
Getting kicked off the show — by your own nominator (Scott from Season Six, when his nominator Danny cancelled his insurance.)
Angelina from Season 5 passed only one out of 23 challenges on her way to "winning" the show. As an indication of just how terrible that is, bear in mind that Colin from Season 2 deliberately tried to fail every challenge during his time on the show... and still managed to pass two challenges prior to getting ejected half-way through filming. Even worse, Andrew even named Angelina "Canada's Worst Worst Driver" in a special episode prior to season 8.
The Water Tank Challenge usually floods the interior of the car. Dean from Season Six, however, managed to flood the car's engine with a hard stop after the first straightaway. He didn't even get to the precision driving parts.
In some challenges, obstacles are carved and painted styrofoam. On at least two occasions, they've run out of obstacles before the nominees can complete the challenges.
Being named Cream of the Crop (or in this case, the Sludge of the Sewer)—Angelina was named the Worst Worst Driver Andrew had ever had.
Everybody Laughs Ending: Father Giles and Guy—his brother and nominator—walked away from the Water Tank Challenge laughing after Father Giles stated he thought he did fairly well. He did: although he got soaked, he didn't collide with anything.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "The Longest Reversing Challenge Ever" in Season 8. The drivers had to reverse for a full kilometre, which as the name suggests made it the longest reversing challenge they'd ever done on the show.
Flawless Victory: Arun (Season 5) and Diane (Season 8) completed their Final Exam Finale road tests without any infractions and drawing praise from the judging panel, their status as the final graduate all but assured.
Friend to All Living Things: Lauri from Season 7 ... when it's not affecting her performance of course! (She was shown driving with a car filled with additional "passengers", mainly pets.)
Full Name Basis: Mike Butt was the only candidate who was consistently referred to by his full name on the show.
Genius Ditz: Arun, who was a mechanical engineer—but on this show for a reason.
Ghost Town: Season 3 was held in Edgar, a ghost town in Ontario.
Gilligan Cut: In Season 8, Andrew made it clear there could not be a tie. After the commercial break, who wins the trophy: Flora or Kevin? Both.
Hypocritical Humor: In the first episode of season 5, Father Giles recites a prayer for safe driving that explicitly ends with "so that we may concentrate on the road". Cut to the good father being distracted by a sign indicating the "World's Largest Pumpkin".
During Sly's final public drive in the season 7 finale, someone tried to take a picture of the test car with a cell phone camera while driving.
In Harm's Way: Andrew Younghusband, though he hasn't gotten hurt by the drivers yet (though he did hurt himself once).
Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Aaron from Season 7 is a Type C, as he does have a positive influence on the other nominees. He even Invoked it by refusing to graduate so that his condition (he has to walk with a cane and has difficulty speaking, amongst other things) would continue to remind the other candidates of the dangers of bad driving. He happily subverted Too Good for This Sinful Earth with his graduation in the last episode. He also subverted it—Aaron was an absolutely terrible driver himself and wasn't certain if he'd be able to drive anymore. Andrew later said he was the most effective teacher the rehab center ever had—have a look under In-UniverseTear Jerkers for the rest of that story.
Killer Outfit: One of the many, many lessons of this show is do not wear high heels while driving! These shoes can become wedged under pedals and generally lessen pedal control. People who wear high-heels often end up having flats purchased for them for driving.
When Diane from Season Eight said she never wore high heels because she couldn't feel the pedals, Andrew praised her for having the right idea.
Cam Wooley pointed out that the wrong driving shoes can be considered a contributing factor to an accident.
Laser-Guided Karma: Scott's insurance was yanked by his roommate, who got fed up with him. And in 2010, he was arrested for drug trafficking.
Loophole Abuse: A running gag in recent seasons has been to point out how many different vehicles a standard driver's license allows its owner to use. This was taken to logical extremes with the "Cool Bus", a school bus that was modified to skirt the driving restrictions on standard driver's licenses. Not even Andrew can believe that taking out most of the seats, painting it so it doesn't look like a school bus (it was painted purple), and altering the sign on it (as demonstrated) is enough that anyone with a standard license can drive it, and it doesn't even have seat belts!
Malaproper: Angelina from Season 5 did this a lot. Near the very end of the season, after being repeatedly told that she should never, ever drive again, she repeatedly and angrily told Andrew that "I'm not not driving!"
Medal of Dishonor: The title "Canada's Worst Driver" and the crappy trophy the "winner" gets at the end.
Ms. Fanservice: Margherita, Season 8. Though her continuing to apply her makeup after she hit a berm during the Distracted Driving challenge isn't this; it was a requirement of the challenge.
My God, What Have I Done?: Father Giles, in a panic, hit the throttle instead of the brake, sending the car careening off the course. Upon looking at the results, he stated "What a disaster" in honest dismay.
Mike Butt had an even bigger moment of this in the last episode of the season, when he nearly ran over an old lady who was crossing an intersection (she chewed him out for it, "No wonder you're Canada's Worst Driver!"). It eventually led to him concluding he didn't deserve to drive, and cutting up his license in front of the experts' panel.
Wil (Season 5), upon hearing the abuse he heaped on Melissa, his nominee. At the Confession Cam, he just broke down and cried.
Nervous Wreck: These show up a lot. They're just as scary as road ragers and ditzes.
In Season 6, Lance had a panic attack during the final challenge (drive through Niagra Falls), and was taken away in an ambulance.
Season 2: Colin Sheppard deliberately performed so poorly in every test that he was expelled from Driver Rehab in the fourth episode. All participants relinquish their car keys upon arrival and are returned when they graduate; Colin's keys were destroyed and his vehicle towed back to his hometown. Host Andrew Younghusband remarked "Let's all hope Colin loses his license before his life."
Season 4: Donna Hicks was sent home in the fourth episode after exceptionally poor performance coupled with an angina attack. Donna was convinced that she could drive, despite all evidence to the contrary. The province of Ontario reviewed her driver's license after the show, revoking it shortly afterwards. She sent the show a letter that the Ministry of Transportation took away her license "because of your damn show".
Season 5: Crystal Hubley-Fararo left in the fifth episode after learning that her brother-in-law had been killed in a vehicular collision. A video retrospective of the rest of the rehab subjects revealed that they consistently failed to yield, the same behaviour that got Crystal's brother-in-law killed.
Season 6: Scott Shurink was expelled in the second episode after revealing on-camera his numerous undocumented vehicular crimes: more than just excessive speeding (which ended his first test in the first episode), he drove while drunk, while suspended, and used his friend's license. Said friend immediately cancelled the vehicle insurance Scott needed to drive, while resident traffic law expert and retired OPP sergeant Cam Wooley contacted the Calgary police with this information.
After Angelina destroys half the obstacles and almost melts the truck's engine on season 5's Eye of the Needle challenge:
Andrew (narrating): For the millionth time, (the words "Real Driver" appear on screen) Angelina is not an actor.
During a "You Asked" episode, Andrew said that, if this WASN'T real, then the writers deserved awards, asking the audience "who could have come up with these characters?"—and also pointed out that no actor could shake like Tab did.
The contestants first have to drive themselves to the Rehab Centre using written directions (sometimes while running errands too, which was the case during early seasons)
The Assessment Course - A grab-bag of obstacles designed to measure how bad the bad drivers really are.
Book Ends - The second-last challenge is the 'Mega Challenge': a obstacle course designed to test everything the bad drivers have learned up until this point. It also looks rather a lot like the Assessment Course, but also adds a few more elements incorporating tasks from previous challenges.
Final Exam Finale: The Final Road test takes place in the city where drivers must navigate through a series of turns and other things such as driving on a freeway. For the most part, this test usually determines who is stuck with the unfortunate title of Canada's Worst Driver.
The "Eye of the Needle" challenge, a slalom course where the contestants must drive through a series of arches at a minimum speed. The aim is to teach the drivers the recurring moral of their story: look where you want to go.
Another annual challenge is the "Shoulder Check Challenge"; the driver must drive down a road at 75 km/h and shoulder check to see signs indicating which lane they must use to dodge an obstacle in front of them. Season 8 decided to troll the drivers further on each of their first runs by marking both lanes in red, requiring them to come to a stop instead.
Then of course, the infamous Water Tank Challenge, where the contestants must drive a course in a vehicle with a tank of water on its roof. The point is to drive as smoothly as possible, since the water conveniently sloshes right through the sunroof!
Two episodes occur where no-one graduates. Of course, no-one ever graduates in the first (since obviously, its only the first episode), but there has always been one other where the judges decide to make everyone stay (sometimes because the graduates don't want to go!) This has resulted in three people being in the final episode of each season.
One Judge To Rule Them All: Near the end of season 7, Afiya is unanimously chosen by the experts to graduate, but Andrew is unconvinced. During the narration, Andrew implies that as the host who gives the drivers their licenses back, he might overrule the experts and not give Afiya's license back. Whether or not he has such a power (if he does, there are times where he hasn't used it), he relents and Afiya graduates.
In Season 8, Andrew used his influence to allow Dallas to graduate over Diane which 3 of the 4 judges initially voted for. Cam only changed his opinion after being persuaded by Andrew.
On The Next: Of course! (Andrew even uses that exact wording!)
Overly Long Gag: Flora on the mini-golf challenge. As if golf couldn't get any more boring...
Parallel Parking: Goes about as well as you'd expect, especially when the drivers have to parallel park a Winnebago.
Shannon from season 2 provided a surprising subversion in a different challenge where she was driving down a narrow dirt road and faced an ambulance, then performed an S-curve to get out of its way. After the challenge was over, she was proud of her S-curve, and then Andrew pointed out that she was actually parallel parking.
Point-and-Laugh Show: To a certain extent, but the point is quite serious: Take bad drivers and make them better.
Preacher Man: Father Giles from Season Five is a Roman Catholic priest. He considered his time on the show a spiritual journey as well as a learning opportunity, and was genuinely happy to have gone through all this.
Precision F-Strike: Some of Donna's more colorful language in the Season 6 finale was left unbleeped.
Also, Andrew has sworn only once in eight seasons: after Flora lost control at over 140 km/h. For you Americans, that's more than 85 mph!
Prison: Season 4 was held on the site of the defunct Guelph Correctional Center (which had been closed in 2001). Four drivers who had committed literally criminal driving offenses were locked up for a few hours:
Ashley and Ken, for engaging in a street race on the way to the show.
Redemption Rejection: Two contestants (Colin from Season 2 and Scott from Season 6) were thrown off the show for not taking things seriously enough and refusing to learn. Colin was the first to be expelled from any Driver Rehabilitation Center in the world.
Shocking Elimination: Colin getting the boot caught the rest of the candidates (as well as the audience) off-guard.
Small Reference Pools: Season 8 has, as is becoming usual, a right hand drive car used to teach drivers to reverse in any vehicle. The car in question was an imported/Japanese market Toyota Celsior (right hand drive), which Andrew refers to as a British car. In the UK, the Celsior was sold under the Lexus brand, just like in North America.
Step Up to the Microphone: Mike Butt from Season Five was the one who introduced Shopping Cart Hockey (introducing himself as Andrew Younghusband). One presumes he was given a script to memorize.
Stop Helping Me!: Sometimes, a bad driver's biggest problem is the nominator, who must learn this lesson. In Season 8, Flora's husband and Nominator Frank constantly insisted on "helping", which ultimately led Flora being named co-winner of that season along with Kevin.
Stylistic Suck: Believe it or not, Colin's driving. The season 2 contestant deliberately failed the challenges, getting him booted off the show—and his keys destroyed.
Sure, Why Not?: Season 5's Mike Butt talked about a driving game called Shopping Cart Hockey, where you pushed a shopping cart with a car. It was used as a challenge. Season 6 had something similar with a soccer ball, Season 7 used oversized curling rocks, and Season 8 used a large "mini-putt" course.
Colin (Season 2) and Scott (Season 6) were expelled from the show (and therefore did not graduate). Scott, as mentioned above, set the record for fastest expulsion: he was thrown off in the second episode.
Donna (Season 4) was sent home due to medical reasons.
Crystal (Season 5) was sent home out of sympathy after her brother-in-law was killed in a car accident (there was no graduate that episode).
If nobody does well enough to graduate, the judges may decide to make everyone stay. This happens once a season, but has itself been subverted twice. In both Seasons 5 and 6, when the contestants were asked if they deserved or wanted to graduate, each one said no. The Season 5 requests was the first time it had happened in any of the Driver Rehabilitation Programs (there are several similar shows in other countries). Both times, their wishes were honoured.
In the sixth episode of Season 2, there came about a fourth option: both Sean and Jodi were considered to be fully rehabilitated (Sean of his speed addiction, Jodi of her fear), and both graduated. To be fair, nobody had graduated in Episode 5 (It would have been Sean, had he admitted that slower was safer).
In the Season 8 finale, somehow, both Flora and Kevin ended up doing so equally bad overall after the final challenges. Leaving Andrew with the final decision, he decided to declare the first ever tie for last place in the series' history.
Take That: Andrew has stated that in the show's early seasons, many were nominated out of spite. Things have changed since.
In the Season 5 finale, right before Angelina was to go through the Mega-Challenge, there's a pixelated image of the "Start" sign with an image of Angelina slid over it such that the "S" was covered.
When introducing the Canada's Worst Parking lot challenge in Season 7, episode 5:
Andrew: ...what they don't know is that...other annoying cars will be getting in their way stealing spots, honking horns, and generally carrying on like, well, Americans.
Tear Jerker—In-Universe examples: While many contestants break down in tears quite frequently, there are other times when they've been struck by truly tragic events.
For Wil from Season Five, it was learning just how verbally abusive he was. Melissa, his nominee, later stated he cried for a quarter of an hour.
Aaron, from Season 7, was nearly killed by a distracted driver six years prior to the taping. Every year one of the challenges is a distracted driving course, where the nominees must drive a simple course while distracted (from eating, drinking, smoking, texting, et cetera). The purpose is to show them just how dangerous distracted driving can be. In Season 7, the drivers (excluding Aaron) had to do this course, and after seeing just how bad distractions make them, they had to look Aaron in the eye and promise to never drive distracted again.
Tears of Fear: Several drivers are absolutely terrified of driving, to the point where a few broke down and cried.
Tears of Joy: Amy-Lee of Season 4, cried with happiness when she became the last graduate.
Tempting Fate: Andrew Younghusband has allowed his own vehicle to be used from time to time (for example, Teagan drove it to the rehabilitation center). Subverted in that Fate hasn't shown up to collect...yet.
That One Level—again, In-Universe: The most disliked challenge of all is the water tank challenge. You have to skillfully drive a car with a large tank of water (200 liters or about 50 gallons) fastened on top, with pipes that will direct any sloshed water onto the driver. The idea is to drive as smoothly as possible, to avoid getting drenched. It is pretty much impossible to complete the course without getting some water dumped on you—even Andrew always gets some water dumped on him and in season 4 he took a hazard too fast and got drenched. He also got too cocky in season eight and... yeah.
In Season Six, there was a challenge that involved maneuvering a trailer with a boat on it through a narrow laneway of rims and then launching it. Much profanity ensued.
In fact, when Andrew was doing this challenge, he found that the course was too narrow nearly knocking over an obstacle himself, which prompted the producers to widen the course. Despite this, the test was still difficult for all those who participated in it.
84, to be exact. 19 of which were complete write offs.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Andrew will chew out a contestant or even a nominator for bad behaviour or not taking the "rehabilitation" part of the show seriously. The panel of judges are specifically tasked with pointing out all the flaws in a driver's performance and Cam can be particularly merciless with his criticism.
There Can Be Only One: In previous years, Andrew insisted the judges had to pick the worst driver, as in one worst driver. Subverted in season 8 when Flora and Kevin were so bad, even he couldn't pick just one and declared a tie.
There Should Be a Law: Andrew Younghusband and Cam Woolley have stated that they think it's silly how much a standard driving license covers. Cam Woolley has stated he's amazed that someone can get their driving license in a Smart Car (which is very tiny) and immediately hop into a motorhome several times a Smart Car's length. Note Loophole Abuse above to see what else is legal to drive.
The foreign versions have been brought up from time to time; the first season featured the Clip ShowCanada's Worst Driver vs. The World (which featured clips from international versions of the show), and during a season 7 cold opening, Andrew mentioned the time when the Dutch host got hit by a contestant.
Watch the Paint Job: They never do... About the worst example would be the contestants burning out the clutches of five cars. The last contestant was exempted because the producers were out of cars.