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Driving Test

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A character has to get a driving license or get one renewed.

However, they have a difficult time with a picky driving tester who will not accept any errors and makes the character nervous. As a result, the character fails the test and is despondent. With a pep talk and some tips from friends, the character gets the gumption to retake the test.

Often, during the test, a danger occurs that forces the character to make emergency maneuvers to escape the danger. The character is successful and the Tester is impressed enough to give bonus points in the evaluation for successfully dealing with a dangerous situation which means the driving test was completed successfully.


In a car-driving society, getting one's driver's license is often seen as a milestone in the process of growing to adulthood. So the Coming-of-Age Story will often deal with this; there are plenty of "deeper" themes of growing to adulthood, but if the show has time to deal with the lesser ones, getting a driver's license is surely one of them. Similarly, an adult who has never gotten a license may be portrayed as a Manchild (or perhaps he has a disability making it more difficult), and, if the story is making him develop out of it, the driver's license can easily be part of this.



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  • This commercial for the 1969 AMC Rebel bragged that the car was used more by driving schools than any other models by showing it being driven by a series of less-than-competent learning drivers: a woman who crunches the gears, a man who constantly stops and goes ("How am I doin'?" "A lot better than yesterday!"), a woman who turns on the median, a man frozen by nervousness, a Dumb Blonde oblivious to traffic ("Look out for the truck!" "What truck?" "Behind the bus!" "What bus?") and a man who crashes into a fire hydrant ("Should I turn the windshield wiper on?").

    Anime & Manga 
  • Parodied in Dragon Ball Z, where Goku and Piccolo try to get licenses. Their competitive personalities result in much mayhem. The fact that they can (and do) fly anywhere too far to walk means neither has even the slightest concept of how to drive in the first place.
  • Subverted in the You're Under Arrest! manga. Natsumi (an utterly reckless driver) already has a motorcycle license, but not a car license. Upon deciding to obtain one she's eventually required to take a driving test. Her driving is so utterly reckless that the tester passes out almost immediately and doesn't wake up until Natsumi parks back in the lot. She passed.
  • In season 2 of Aggretsuko Retsuko takes a driving class, as an adult, she's actually good at it but there she meets Tadano, who doesn't really care that much.

    Comic Books 
  • The Marvel Adventures version of Spider-Man has to take a driving test in one issue. He does very well - the Spider-Sense apparently does wonders on the road - until a villain attacks, and he has to "panic" to get away so he can put on his suit and fight. Naturally, he fails. In a mild subversion, he doesn't retake and doesn't actually mind all that much (probably because he lives in New York City).
  • In Robin Tim is surprised to learn his friend Ives had turned sixteen, taken his driver's test and gotten his license since he last saw him, (Tim is notoriously bad at keeping track of birthdays). Then once he gets in the car and he and Ives start driving over to Gotham's Chinatown to hang out he quickly becomes loudly incredulous that Ives actually passed his test since Ives is heavy on the brakes and refuses to go over 20mph.


  • Terry Pratchett's Pyramids showed the Assassins' Guild School final exam - here "driving" is replaced with "killing someone for money and getting away with it". It is presented as a close pastiche of a driving test, though, with a verbal section that includes questions on "stopping distances" (of a thrown knife) and identifying signs (the hidden marks used by thieves and rogues to warn of noisy dogs and similar), and a practical section that includes the Emergency Dropnote 
    • Though in a driving test it isn't rumoured to be an immediate pass to kill the examiner. If you try and fail, there will be a loss of privileges. Breathing to start with.
    • Also notable because the protagonist decides to fail, shoots his crossbow wildly, and hits the target. He passes but the examiner criticises the "modern flashy techniques".
  • In Fire Season, Stephanie Harrington gets to take her driving test (in this case, in an Aircar). The test has two portions, one using an autopilot assist, and one using manual-only controls, analogous to a 20th century driver having the option to test while Driving Stick. The book's intro has Stephanie's friend Karl letting her surreptuously practice flying his car, and almost plowing into a tree when she gets distracted by something.

    Live Action TV 
  • Subverted in the Married... with Children episode "Driving Mr. Boondy". Al has to take a driving test and discovers that his son, Bud, will be administering the test. Al passes by threatening Bud. Same episode, airhead daughter Kelly has no problem passing her test.
  • Mama's Family: Mama has to get her driver's license in the season 2 episode "Mama Learns to Drive", since the other family members aren't always there to give her a ride (and as stated in a scene cut from the syndicated reruns, there's a bus driver's strike, so she can't take the bus either at that point). While there's some chaos, she succeeds.
  • Spoofed in Malcolm in the Middle when Reese, annoyed that his driving instructor did not give him any time to take his driving test, usurps the driving seat from the other girl so he could at least drive back to the DMV. Suddenly, a lady accidentally bumps into the car. Reese, panicking (thinking he messed up), drives off and eventually gets involved in a low speed chase with several police cars. You have to watch the whole episode just to know how hilarious it is. The chase ends when Reese returns to the driving school and completes the course PERFECTLY. He even parallel parks in his time behind the wheel, prompting a cop watching the chase at Malcolm's home to remark "That's impressive!"
  • Played painfully straight in Hannah Montana where Miley messes up her test and uses her secret identity to retake it. Naturally she gets caught, spends a night in the slammer and gets humiliated by Robbie Ray to drive the point home.
  • Part of the pilot episode plot of $#*! My Dad Says.
  • The Big Bang Theory features an episode where Sheldon is forced to get his license because Leonard can't drive him around and no one else will. He manages to annoy the DMV clerk past the point of endurance by analyzing the learner's permit test so much that she gives him his permit without him actually taking the test. Later, he attempts to practice via a realistic simulator rigged up by Howard. It does not go well.
  • The Everybody Loves Raymond episode "Driving With Frank" has Frank renew his driver's liscence.
  • Partially inverted in the episode "Wheelers and Dealers" of Mash. Potter is send to traffic school, conducted by Rizzo. Rizzo wants to pass Potter without Potter having to do anything, but Potter wants to play it by the book. After initially failing, he just passes the written test, but still needs to do a driving test. Again, Rizzo wants to pass Potter, but Potter insists doing the test. He gets an accident, but Rizzo passes Potter, because of how well he steered around the danger. Potter initially doesn't accept that, but reveals he's open to the rationalization. However, after all that trouble, at the end of the episode Potter is departing to attend a meeting riding his horse, Sophie, instead.
  • In an episode of Adam-12, Pete Malloy is forced to let his partner Jim Reed to drive the patrol car when he finds out his licence is expired.
  • Sue's efforts to pass her road test and get her license are an ongoing arc in the fourth season of The Middle. Late in the season, in "Hallelujah Hoedown", we learn she's failed it six times and must wait a month before trying again.
  • In the inevitable boys-vs-girls driving test episode on The Brady Bunch, Greg and Marcia tie their scores on the combined written and road tests. They have a final drive bet to see who is the better driver. Marcia navigates the course and comes to within an inch and a quarter to a final cone holding a raw egg (as the final test). Greg also makes it through the course but over thinks the ending and guns the car engine at the last minute, breaking the egg. Peter later wants to challenge Jan to a similar contest, but backs out when he see Greg doing Marcia's chores.
  • In The Pilot of Doogie Howser, M.D., Doogie is taking his in the Cold Open and becomes first on the scene of a car accident with injuries he spotted several blocks from the test route.
  • On The Facts of Life, there was an episode where Tootie was taking her road test. The hilarity comes from the fact that she's taking the test in a hearse (long story).
  • On The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy was competing in the Miss Tri-County contest. One of the events was a car race - but her license had expired. To get a new license, Bo and Luke have to take her to the DMV in the next county. Since leaving Hazzard County is a violation of their probation, they have to drop Daisy and keep driving to stay away from the local sheriff who's chasing them, then pick her up AND get back to Hazzard in time for the race.
  • In the Touched by an Angel episode "Deconstructing Harry", Tess has to go to the DMV to take her driving test, even though she's an angel ("Render unto Caesar", etc). She gets a very aggressive driving instructor who keeps making up mistakes and telling Tess to do illegal or physically impossible maneuvers. The test ends with the instructor stealing an urn from a funeral-in-progress and forcing Tess to be her getaway driver... for a 14-hour journey!.
  • What is Canada's Worst Driver if not an entire season of this trope? It's essentially a driving boot camp where Canada's worst drivers gain some practice and break their bad habits. The spirit of this trope is played arrow-straight in each season's final challenge, where remaining students have to take host Andrew out onto public roads for a driving test. Not surprisingly, since this places each driver in real-world conditions, it's what largely decides who is named Canada's Worst Driver.
  • In the Jessie episode "Driving Miss Crazy", Jessie takes Emma to take her driving test and is also forced to take the test herself since her liscence since her Texas liscence doesn't apply in New York.
  • In an episode of Kenan & Kel, Kenan wants to get his drivers license, despite his parents not allowing him until he's 18. After working out a plan to take his driving test, Kenan ends up staying up all night to work on a science project and is too tired to take the test the next day that he ends up crashing the car.
  • Kamen Rider Drive had an episode that revealed that Chase, the Third Rider and a reformed Roidmude, didn't have a license for his Cool Bike; since he's affiliated with the Tokyo Police Department, that just won't do so he takes the test. Naturally a Roidmude attacks in the middle of it and Chase steps away from the learner car to fight it, though he does apologize to the instructor beforehand (and transforms right in front of the poor confused guy). He does eventually go back and pass the test, though. And when he dies in the final battle, his damaged license becomes a Tragic Keepsake for Gou (Kamen Rider Mach).
  • The New Adventures of Beans Baxter: In "Beans Gets His Driver's License (and It Isn't Pretty)", UGLI agents Jack and Henry attempt to stop Beans from getting his driver's license.
  • Out of This World: One episode revolves around Evie trying to get her driver's license; she cheats via her powers when it comes to parallel parking, and subsequently has an accident and knocks the bumper off the car when she tries to parallel park without using her powers.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • One of the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls digital shorts has Sunset Shimmer trying to earn her driver's license in "Driving Miss Shimmer". She's already failed her driving test once, and is told that her next try is her last one. Sunset learns about cars from either Applejack, Rarity, or Fluttershy, depending on which ending the viewer chooses, in an attempt to pass on the retest. Fluttershy annoys Sunset with a long lecture on safety, Applejack's old farm truck breaks before Sunset can drive it, and Rarity has Sunset try to drive a rented limo.
  • Doug has him watch his sister Judy trying to pass her driving test by extensively practicing. While she's got almost everything right, parallel parking is a nightmare for her.note 
  • Sabrina: The Animated Series (one of the aunts), which humorously resulted in everyone getting a license. Even the Cat (Salem).
  • Kim Possible (only without danger in the re-test, but there is some in the mission involving the car she used in the re-test)
  • Subverted often in Spongebob Squarepants, where Spongebob tries (and fails) to get his Boat Driving License every few episodes. He always fails because he panics and smashes the gas pedal down hard, ramming the boat into a brick wall at top speed. Every. Single. Time. Always accompanied by Mrs. Puff, who administers his test, blowing up into huge size.
  • Parodied in Drawn Together. When Ling-Ling tries to get his license, his instructor pulls out a huge protective gear strong enough to protect a Formula 1 driver. Ling-Ling then turns the key, shifts to drive... and a big mountain of cars, airplanes, motorbikes, trains and ships suddenly lands on the car. This is later explained by Wooldoor Sockbat, claiming those who have Asian eyes see danger everywhere and can't speak English (which is why Ling-Ling speaks Japanese-sounding gibberish).
  • The Pixar short Lifted replaces "driving" with "Alien Abduction".
  • One episode of Rocko's Modern Life has Rocko re-taking his driving test after getting his license revoked. Throughout the episode, he's constantly warned about taking his test with "the fat guy". Rocko ends up with a fairly rotund elephant who gives him his driving test without any car. Rocko passes, and then finds out that wasn't even the fat guy.
  • The Simpsons contributes two: Once when Homer takes his limo driver's test and a second when Otto needs to get his license. Otto has trouble initially.
    "Alcohol increases your ability to drive..." Pages through book to answers. "FALSE!?!"
  • In Megas XLR Coop has to endure the trials of the DMV after his giant, bipedal war machine from the future gets towed. You did not misread that.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Gwen takes her driving test, but who cares? Ben's getting a video game made about him!!
  • Phineas and Ferb has Dr. Doofenshmirtz taking his driving test in his home country of Drusselstein. The ensuing test can basically only be summarized as "hell on Earth", involving several dangerous jumps, repeated bouncing, the car flipping a few times, smashing through a wall, hitting kittens...
  • The Batman has Batgirl get kicked out of driving school after she sees Batman drive by in pursuit of the Supervillain of the Week and tries to join the chase.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: In one episode, a magical creature turns Jake into an adult and he decides to take a driving test. His driving is so lousy the tester only passes him because he threatens to request the same tester for all next times he takes another driving test.
  • One episode of TaleSpin involves Baloo having to retake his piloting test. Unfortunately, he gets an instructor who has caused problems for him in the past, and whose teaching method (using the alphabet to illustrate his points) invariably puts Baloo in a panic. It gets worse when Baloo attempts to work other jobs, only for the instructor or his granddaughter to show up and try to instruct Baloo on the finer points of the job (which he seemed to do fine up to that point), only to cause Baloo to panic again.
  • One episode of Uncle Grandpa revolved around the title character helping a girl to get her license. One mishap with the car and an angry baby gets loose. Eventually Uncle Grandpa's RV gets stolen and the girl he's helping attempts to drive several different things instead, including Giant Realistic Flying Tiger and Uncle Grandpa himself. In the end she gets her license because of how well she parked.
  • In The Looney Tunes Show, one episode focuses entirely on three characters taking their driving tests. Porky's license expired, and Daffy and Lola were both so clueless, they didn't even know they needed licenses. Porky "fails", because his written test gets swapped with Daffy's (maliciously) and Lola (accidentally) both times he tries. Then, for different reasons, Daffy and Lola wind up grading themselves on the driving test (Sam was administering the test. He was too short to see out the window for Daffy's significant-but-slow errors, and while he got a booster seat for Lola's test, she Drives Like Crazy, and he was in shock at the end of it.)
  • In The Loud House episode "Driving Miss Hazy", Lincoln decides to help Leni get her driver license after getting tired of having to beg Lori for rides. Given that Leni has failed her driving test 13 times and can't even drive the lawnmower, Lincoln has to resort to "speaking Leni" in order to teach her.
  • Kaeloo had an episode where Stumpy and Quack Quack try to get their driver's licences. Both of them fail. Stumpy fails not only because he Drives Like Crazy, but because Kaeloo didn't do a very good job of teaching him how to drive. Quack Quack, on the other hand, is able to do everything perfectly well, but his driving instructor is Mr. Cat, who not only gives him negative points for ridiculous reasons, but actively tries to make him fail by doing things like shining a flashlight in his eyes and ripping out the steering wheel, finally causing him to drive off a cliffnote .
  • One episode of X-Men: Evolution has Kitty get her learner's permit, and the other X-men trying to avoid having to supervise her because she Drives Like Crazy and makes liberal use of her Intangibility.


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