How I Almost Lost My License

It’s Leap Year and my birthday, so it must be time to renew my license! Isn’t that a great birthday present? That you have to go renew your license? It seems like they should choose a random day that’s NOT your birthday as the deadline for a license renewal. Happy birthday, you have to go to the BMV! Woo hoo!

Actually, this time my time at the BMV was pretty painless. Thanks to some local traffic for an annual tourist attraction, I actually spent more time driving to and from the nearby BMV than I did waiting there. There was no line! At noon! Happy birthday to me!

The ease of the BMV this time did not erase the memory of the last time I had to renew my license and almost lost my license indefinitely.

Don’t worry. I didn’t do anything that could hurt anyone. I just procrastinated.

The day after my birthday four years ago, I went to the Ohio BMV with my Indiana license in hand and asked to renew. I had failed to get an Ohio license when we moved here the year before. I’m a big procrastinator like that. My Indiana license was still valid, so why should I bother to renew until it expired?

I’ll tell you why. If you let your out of state license expire in Ohio, they make you retake the written AND manual driving tests before you can get your license. Oops.

And you can’t just take those tests that day. You have to schedule the test for a week later. For a full week, I did not have a license. I did not respond kindly to the BMV employee when this happened, which is never a good idea, but SERIOUSLY? My license had only been expired 24 hours! It was absolutely ridiculous that they wouldn’t give me a new one. Of course, when I showed up for the exam, the employee I had basically told off was the person doing my manual driving exam.

I studied for the written exam, but didn’t worry too much about the manual exam. I had been driving for 13 years when this happened. I knew how to drive and drove well enough to be trusted to tote my baby around with me all over town. I was a little rusty on parallel parking, but I knew how to do it and wasn’t too concerned.

I should have been.

In Ohio, instead of doing a parallel parking test, you are expected to somehow back straight through four short cones and then out past a fifth cone at a 45 degree angle without tapping the brakes. Every time you tap the brakes, you lose a point on your test. Obviously in real life you never tap the brakes while you are parallel parking! I mean, that would totally be unsafe, right?

Not at all. I don’t understand this test at all. In what world do you drive like that? In what world is braking while backing up bad? When I back up, I almost always have my foot on the brake so I can do it slowly and accurately. Also? You can NOT see those stupid cones when you are backing up. They are in your blind spots. If you hit a cone, you automatically fail the test.

I know every time I drive the car, I have to back through cones I can’t see and if I hit one PEOPLE WILL DIE.

Seriously, Ohio, this has no real world application!

I almost hit a cone, but pulled forward just in time.

After 13 years of driving, my score on the Ohio manual driving test was just shy of failing. I came very very close to losing my license despite the fact that I’ve never caused an accident that didn’t involve slowly backing out of a parking spot and had at that point never gotten a ticket (I only get those when I’m 9 months pregnant and having contractions).

The BMV makes so much sense, doesn’t it?

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