Oopsie! (Open Thread)

Here’s an embarrassing example of driver error:

truck fail

I’ve been driving for a long time, and (knock wood) I’ve never had an accident, not even a fender bender. But I have done some embarrassing things as a driver.

Nearly two years ago, I took my daughter to get her solo driver license. She failed the test the first time. She had her learner’s permit and had been keen to drive everywhere we went together until then, but after failing the test, she wanted to cry in the passenger seat and eat Chicken McNuggets while I drove home.

Fine, I said, settling in behind the wheel. We were in the middle of the DMV parking lot, and there was no car parked nose-to-nose with mine, so instead of backing up, I pulled forward through the space. Only there was a parking stop there, so there was a horrendous scraping noise as the concrete came into contact with the car’s undercarriage.

Everyone gawked, of course. And I already had a license! As driving fuck-ups go, that’s small potatoes, I realize. But like I said, I’m an excellent driver.

What’s the dumbest mistake you ever made while driving a car? Or talk about other topics if you please — open thread!






136 replies
  1. 1
    Mnemosyne says:

    You mean like when I was pulling out of the parking spot after my (successful) driving test and locked bumpers with the poorly parked car next to me?

    I just pulled forward, unlocked the bumpers, and sped away. I was NOT going to walk back into the DMV and announce I had gotten into an accident. And there was no damage to either car, anyway.

  2. 2
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    Drove away with a pizza on the roof, and watched it get run over by the car behind me.

  3. 3

    What’s the dumbest mistake you ever made while driving a car?

    Driving home after having too much to drink. No bad consequences, but easily the dumbest mistake.

  4. 4
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Eleven Foot Eight

    Nothing but people not reading a clearance sign and getting the tops of their trucks and campers torn off. Way more amusing than it ought to be.

  5. 5
    Betty Cracker says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: LOL! That’s tragic, though.

  6. 6

    Oh, geez, nothing catastrophic. I have a nasty habit of backing into solid objects that I think are styrofoam (just twice, but… twice? really??).

    Now that I’m all epileptic and whatnot, no more driving mistakes for me!

    Also, I’m sick of people not knowing how delegate allocation works; or at least, being incurious enough to repost a link to Morning freakin’ Joe or whatever today’s “Hillary stole the election!!eleventyone” outrage is without ever looked up how any fucking primary or caucus works, and then having the gall to comment “one person one vote!” about a fucking caucus. UGH why do I check Facebook. (These are otherwise intelligent people.)
    forward slash rant

  7. 7

    @Roger Moore: Well, OK, now that somebody else has said it… that.

  8. 8
    p.a. says:

    That happened to our riggers’ truck when they were on the way to deliver us a job. The driver was new, ’bout 2 weeks on the job. He got out, handed his partner the keys, and walked off. They never saw him again.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Fascinating. Thanks!

  10. 10
    burnspbesq says:

    Happened not long ago in Flo-da. Got off 417 at a SunPass-only exit in a rental car with no transponder. Still waiting to see how Hertz is going to extract tribute for that one.

  11. 11
    JaneE says:

    Don’t feel bad. I did almost the same thing, dirt parking lot. Small boulders instead of parking stops. Too low to see when you are parked close to one, and I forgot it was there by the time I got ready to leave. Not too low to crunch in the bumper and push the fender out when I pulled forward to leave. Less than $1000.00 damage, for basically just a tap, so I guess I was lucky, at that.

  12. 12
    Yutsano says:

    Rear ended my first car ever at 43 last November. Had a perfect driving record up until that point.

    I did almost get T-boned on my way to the Seattle Balloon Juice meet-up, but fortunately the other driver saw my stupidity. I still have no idea where he came from.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    I was trying to get onto the highway but instead of using the on-ramp tried to use the off-ramp. Luckily I hadn’t even gotten onto it before I realized it was the wrong one.

  14. 14
    NYCMT says:

    About nine weeks after passing my road test, while driving to work on on a two lane county highway, I put a 1980s B-body GM station wagon into a sideways skid at thirty miles an hour. I thought that I could whip it around in a U-turn, but I’d never done a U turn even close to that speed. The saving grace is that there was no oncoming traffic. At that moment, my teenage ardor for speed died.

  15. 15
    Gravenstone says:

    Turned a split second too soon and hit the big concrete culvert that ran under the drive I was turning into. Blew out my right front tire, bent the hell out of the rim, locked up the brake caliper on that wheel, oh and bent the tie rod to boot. This was in the drive in, just up the road from my place of employment – whose uniform I was wearing because I had been tasked to go grab everyone’s call in orders for dinner. Awkward …

  16. 16
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    You mean like when I was pulling out of the parking spot after my (successful) driving test and locked bumpers with the poorly parked car next to me?

    @Mnemosyne: Friend of mine put her car through the wall of the DMV after passing her test. Lost her license on the spot. Never bothered to get it again afterwards.

    Me, personally, I backed a vintage Austin Healey up while holding the driver’s door open so I could see where to stop it. Didn’t think about the edge of the garage. Tore the door off and mangled the front quarterpanel real nice. That took me a few weeks to fix.

  17. 17
    Bg says:

    tore off my front bumper on the concrete thingy, backing out of a parking space that I had successfully pulled into with only a minor scraping sound.

    After I got it fixed, my husband got me a beeper device that goes under the bumper to prevent driving over parking space concrete thingies that are too high.

  18. 18
    Betty Cracker says:

    @burnspbesq: With any luck, it was a toll-by-plate situation and they’ll just ask you for the $5 or so to square it up. Used to be if you blew through one of those you were subject to a $100 fine.

  19. 19
    Ajabu says:

    When I was moving back to the states 5 years ago from the V.I. (big mistake, but that’s a whole nuther story) I was delivering my old Ford Aerostar to my mechanic as a gift before leaving and backing out of our lot I went straight back into the metal dumpster thus delivering it sans rear window – but, hey – I was GIVING it to him so the price was still right…

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    Drawing a total blank on the question.

  21. 21
    cckids says:

    When I was 17, a few weeks after getting my license, I was at work & a delivery truck parked in back of me- not right up to my car, but close enough that I couldn’t back out normally. I very carefully did a semi-circle back-out around the truck, watching so, so closely that I didn’t back into anything or anybody. Watching so carefully out the back that I caught my front bumper on a light pole & bent it out at a 90 degree angle. (Picture a 1975-ish ginormous Buick LeSabre to get a picture of how big that old land barge was, the bumper from the license plate over to the driver’s side was sticking straight out.)

    Drove home in terror, showed it to my dad, who came out, laughed for quite a while, then sort of kicked at the bumper until it was more or less back in place. Dad had 7 kids, any cars we got to drive were very old & as far as he was concerned, disposable. Safe, but he didn’t care what happened to them as long as we didn’t hurt ourselves or anyone else.

    He told that story for 20 years. How I damaged the front of the car while backing up.

  22. 22
    Trollhattan says:

    “Yumped” my first Saab in the wrong spot of a very wind-y Goldrush-era road in the Sierra foothills. Became airborne on a whoop-de-do and the landing spot happened to be on a sharp corner that I had zero chance of navigating, instead going straight across the other lane and onto the shoulder, knocking over a reflector pole and coming to a stop inches from a stone abutment. The reflector pole popped up and thwacked the side mirror into the door, creasing the back of the mirror and denting the door. That, and shaving probably a year off my life due to the fright, were the only actual damages and that ended any thoughts of becoming a rally driver.

  23. 23
    Shana says:

    In Davenport, IA, across the river from where I grew up, there are two major streets – both one way – leading up and down the hills from the downtown area. There are lots of railroad bridges going over streets throughout the downtown. Once I saw a semi that had gone down the hill and got stuck under the railroad bridge crossing the street. Sheared off the top of the truck for about the first 15 feet, doors at the back of the truck flew open dumping cases of Snickers bars all over the road. Lots of people got out of their cars and picked up a case or two on their way around the truck.

  24. 24
    Miss Bianca says:

    Well, back in my Chicago days, I made the mistake of trying to turn into a street that had been blocked off by the cops for some reason. Rookie #1 stops me, is apparently dissatisfied by my out-of-state driver’s license, and insists that I accompany him to the local station. My “WTF??” reaction was apparently shared by one of the more senior cops, because they decided to let me go. That’s not why I ended up in traffic court. I ended up in traffic court after I got back into my car, looked behind me once, didn’t see anything, put the car and into reverse and started backing up without checking twice, and backed -yup-into a cop car that had, in the ten seconds between my first and non-existent second peek in the rearview mirror, pulled up right behind my bumper.

    At that point, with both the young cop who had brought me in and the old cop who had let me go watching fom the station door, I lost it completely, jumped out of the car and started yelling, “Yes, I did it – arrest me!!” They both regarded me with pity and horror, wrote out the ticket, and then I heard the old cop say to the younger one, “you *will* be there in traffic court”. Bottom line – charges were dismissed, but I was still liable for “damaging city property”.

    I laugh now, but I shudder to imagine how it all might have gone down if I hadn’t been a lily-white college student…

  25. 25
    Shana says:

    @burnspbesq: If my daughter’s experience is any indication, the state will track you down and send you a bill, or Hertz will get the notice and charge you for it, probably at a marked up rate.

  26. 26
    quakerinabasement says:

    A driver in front of me entered a low-clearance parking garage with their expensive bike on a roof rack. The bike was destroyed, but the rear wheel was held fast by the rack, so the wreckage crashed through the car’s rear window.

  27. 27
    Barbara says:

    I am obviously not a good driver and have a lot to choose from . . .

    With a Volvo station wagon completely packed to the gills with Christmas related stuff, on the way to visit my mother, I stopped at a convenience store and did not notice that someone had parked in a non-space against the back wall. As I backed up to leave, I looked out the side view mirrors but had no way to see out the back, and I rammed the passenger side door of that vehicle. It did not leave even a scratch on my own car. It was being driven around by the owner’s boyfriend (not in the car at the time) and he thought it was hilarious. She, not so much. If you remember the scene in Annie Hall where Woodie Allen thinks he is going backwards and goes forward instead full stop in to the wall — it wasn’t quite that bad, but really, I just hammered that car.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I had three accidents, minor fender-benders, all while in reverse, in my first year as a driver. Nothing in the last thirty years

  29. 29
    Barbara says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: I did that once too! But you have nothing on the guy who did approximately the same thing with his baby strapped in the baby seat — on top of the car! People were speeding up to gesticulate at him wildly to stop. Baby unhurt. Not much can compare with that.

  30. 30

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Well, OK, now that somebody else has said it… that.

    It’s an easier mistake for me to avoid today, because my favorite watering hole is within walking distance of home. I walk there so there’s never any opportunity, much less temptation, to drive home after drinking.

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Shana: Mmmm! I would have been all over those Snickers bars!

    One time not too far from my present home, I was driving down a road where a truck had overturned and dumped a giant load of tomatoes. It was a weird sensation driving through tomatoes up to the hubcaps!

  32. 32
    Trollhattan says:

    @quakerinabasement:

    That’s about the worst scenario I’ve heard. I do know folks who tape a message to the dashboard every time they load a bike on top, in case of drive-throughs or garages. A friend had his Klein depart his Subaru at 70 on the I-80 Yolo Causeway. Good times.

  33. 33
    Shana says:

    I have long thought that every new driver should get in a minor, I stress minor, accident within their first months of driving. Scares the crap out of them and makes them much more careful in future.

  34. 34
    MattF says:

    Back in the early ’80’s my vehicle was an old Oldmobile and I’d gotten into the habit of zooming up the ramp in my apartment building’s garage. And just missing that concrete pillar on the right. Well, one day I didn’t just miss it. Clipped off both door handles on the right, but didn’t break any glass, which, in retrospect, was an achievement. Later that same day, at the autobody shop, the guy looked at it and started his spiel about the ‘other party’. I said “The other party was a concrete pillar,” which stopped him, right then and there.

  35. 35

    My wife’s car was stuck in our driveway about in about 2 feet of snow. After about 90 minutes of shoveling and doing the forward reverse rock back and forth trick I was inching ever closer to getting it unstuck. I had the driver side door open as I was leaning out watching the rocking forward and backward motion. When i finally gained enough momentum to reverse out of the giant rut I created I was ecstatic. For a half second anyway. The door I was leaning out of caught on the shoveled snow I created and it bent the door all the way to front tire. The wife did not enjoy my good news/bad news story when I went inside.

  36. 36
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Best piece of driving advice I ever received was from my grandfather, who said, “Never back up any further than you have to.” Words to live by. Kids today with their fancy backup cameras — they have no idea!

  37. 37
    LAO says:

    Failed my first driving test on the grounds of excessive cursing. The tester actually wrote that down. Explaining it to my parents was interesting.

    Once, after finally passing the test, I borrowed my mom’s bmw convertible while she and my dad were out of town. I proceeded to hit the side of their garage while parking it. The local garage guys fixed it for me, without charge, probably to get me to stop crying hysterically. But I did nothing about the huge chunk of missing wall. Which remained an occasionally discussed mystery.

    About 5years ago, one of my brothers inadvertently give me up. I’m 46. My mom was pleased the mystery was finally solved.

  38. 38
    Luthe says:

    Managed to T-bone a station wagon because I was blinded by sun glare and couldn’t see the red light I was supposed to stop at. Also backed into a (stationary) bulldozer once.

  39. 39
    Barbara says:

    @Bg: This JUST happened to me! I was so mad at myself.

  40. 40
    Rob_in_Hawaii says:

    As depicted in the photo, I somewhat unsuccessfully drove a 13′ 6″ truck under a 13′ railroad bridge. Opened the top like a can of kippers. I can still hear the screeching sound. Lucky there weren’t any cell phone cameras back in the day.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    CaseyL says:

    One night, rather late, I wanted to get onto the freeway from the south end of the U District (Seattle). I’ve lived in Seattle for decades, used to live in the District, you’d think I know where things like on-ramps are.

    You’d be wrong. I had a vague idea, which turned out to be worse than no idea.

    “There’s a ramp right off where Campus Parkway joins Eastlake,” says I to myself. So I headed for it. Found it, too, and headed up to merge onto the freeway.

    “Strange,” says I to myself, “this seems to be curving in the opposite direction than I remember.”

    There was a very good reason for that. I’d gotten onto the EXIT ramp FROM the freeway, not the entry ramp to the freeway. Not only was it the wrong ramp, even assuming I made it to the freeway in one piece, I’d be headed in the wrong direction.

    Fortunately – very fortunately – it was very late at night, and there was no traffic coming in the other (correct) direction.

    I don’t remember if I pulled a u-turn right and headed north, or went south to the next exit. What I do remember is the adrenaline surge of terror realizing where I was, with no way out but forward.

  43. 43
    Origuy says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Take a look at this one in France. The arm of a “digger” sliced halfway through a bridge near CDG airport.

  44. 44
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Roger Moore: Um, yeah, that. I recall a couple of times in my thirties…& I recall them quite clearly, as in muttering to myself coming down I-83, Keep the car between the white dashed lines & nothing bad will happen. Happily traffic was light both times & no one around me did anything that required quick reactions…

    The dumbest thing I ever did driving happened when I was 18, in Dad’s ’63 Biscayne (manual 3-on-the-column shift) in the rain on a 6-lane avenue divided by a raised concrete sidewalk. I was doing about 40 in the left hand lane & wanted to speed up; when the 6-cylinder didn’t respond, I downshifted.

    Yoooge mistake: The car fishtailed & tried to leap over the sidewalk, but only made it halfway & ended up sliding sideways down the road with the sidewalk notched between the front & back wheels. We managed to back the car off, with no damage but a few flanges on the bottom of the frame (& the street sign we took out). If anyone had been coming the other way in the left lane it could have been very ugly. Ever since I’ve done everything I can to avoid driving a manual-shift rear-wheel-drive car in slippery conditions…

  45. 45
    Trollhattan says:

    Will add the spouse has the family record tied up for probably a good while, based on the time she backed out of the garage without first doing the open-the-door thing. Still not sure how that happened….

    Garage door guy “fixed” it by shoving the door back inwards using his pick-em-up truck. The battle scars remain.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    @CaseyL: Reminds me of a story a friend of mine likes to tell– He got into a dangerous driving situation and heard someone screaming. He realized later that ‘someone’ was himself.

  47. 47
    redshirt says:

    One of my favorite annual (September) Boston stories is the rental truck stuck on Storrow Drive.

  48. 48
    JustRuss says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Driving home after having too much to drink.

    Did that a few times. The last time I got stopped by a cop who wrote me a speeding ticket and sent me on my way. Scared the bejeezus out of me, never again.

  49. 49
    Betty Cracker says:

    @LAO: When he was a teen, my husband once came up with a brilliant scheme to hide the fact that he’d crashed the family car. They lived in Buffalo and parked the car on the street. He’d run into a dumpster or something and bashed in the grill and punctured the radiator while out one night. He went to a hardware store and bought a handful of nuts and bolts plus a bottle of antifreeze, then drove the car home, parked it, and scattered the hardware beneath it and poured the antifreeze on the ground under it. His parents never caught on until he fessed up decades later — they thought it was a hit and run.

  50. 50
    redshirt says:

    A survey, please answer honestly:

    1. Rate your own driving skills on a scale of 1-10 (1 being horrible 10 being perfect).
    2. Rate other people’s driving skills on a scale of 1-10.

  51. 51
    Betty Cracker says:

    @redshirt: Me: 9.5; others: 5 (average).

  52. 52
    LAO says:

    @Betty Cracker: Your husband is brilliant!

  53. 53
    Mike in NC says:

    About 30 years ago I left a strip club in Maine after too many beers. Got stopped for speeding in some small town but by some miracle I got off with just a warning. Got back to my BOQ room and discovered dancers had left lipstick all over my face.

  54. 54
    Alain the site fixer says:

    I’ve survived a number of stupid driving incidents, but I’ve driven a lot, in many places across the country, so I’ve had some…adventures.

    So..
    1) 720 across the PA turnpike in dark, rainy weather. I ended up in the pull-over lane facing straight on the road and two 18 wheelers roared past me.

    2) Popped the clutch parking my mom’s sports car when i was 18. Into a concrete column in a very tight parking garage. There was no easy way to get Pendragon back from the column.

    3) Tried to be macho and show my more-manly buddy that I was cool by spinning the back tire on my scooter. On gravel. Off-balance. Ouch.

    4) Backed said scooter up into a wall. The brand-new-that-day topcase absorbed the impact and still has the damage, 6 years later!

    5) On the way to and from a Who concert (from DC to Pittsburgh for the concert) the wire connecting my starter kept coming undone and my car would die. Eager to impress my then-love, I repaired it…for the next 40-70 miles. Eventually, the duct tape I tried to repair things with sort of fused things together, and we met Pete Townshend, so it wasn’t all bad!

    6) The first day I hit a bird. Then another bird later. Then late that night, a bat on the drive home from a friend’s house, in the dark, out in the country. All in one day. As an animal lover, I felt horrible! It hit the windshield trying to get a bug and we saw a very unhappy bat face then it was pushed off by the air flow and landed in a mess (I saw in the rearview). 2 minutes later, I asked my friend “Dude, was that a bat?”.

  55. 55
    redshirt says:

    @Mike in NC: Where is (was) there a strip club in Maine?

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    What’s the dumbest mistake you ever made while driving a car?

    Driving in Miami.

  57. 57
    redshirt says:

    @Betty Cracker: Same. Except other people I’d rank at a 4, on average. :)

  58. 58

    @redshirt: Me, probably an 8. Other people, in San Francisco I’d say 3.5, in Denver about a 7.

  59. 59
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Alain the site fixer: You met Pete Townshend? Because of the duct tape repair? May I touch the hem of your garment? ; )

    @Mike in NC: Uh, dude, I…no. I can’t begin to think how I could comment on *that* story. Except that to say I almost drove off the road in Ontario one day when I saw this sign outside a classy-looking roadhouse: GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS GREAT PIZZA

  60. 60
    gogol's wife says:

    This is a very amusing (and scary) thread.

  61. 61
    Shell says:

    Drove home thru a blizzard with my parking brake still one. Luckily didn’t do any damage. I thought the drag on the car was from having to slog thru the heavy snow.

  62. 62
    Eric U. says:

    I tried to drive a rental truck behind a gas station so I didn’t have to back up with my car on a trailer. Unfortunately, I missed the fact that there was an overhang. My boss drove a rental car around Germany with the parking brake on. He didn’t notice until there was a huge cloud of smoke trailing from the car. Which he didn’t notice until all the German drivers were honking at him. We were supposed to do some more sightseeing together, but he gave up and went home early

    I think the scariest thing I ever did was a 180 on a mountain road. I was following a friend who had a much better car. I didn’t hit anything, which was amazing. But I had to drive to the bottom of the mountain to turn around because the road was so narrow

  63. 63
    redshirt says:

    I spent a couple of weeks in Australia and the driving on the other side of the road was a real issue, as I found my brain was seemingly hardwired for the other side. I started driving in Alice Spings and practiced in the parking lot for about a half an hour and then drove into the city, feeling pretty confident. Until I encountered my first double lane rotary. YIKES! I went around and around like 5 times before I worked up the nerve to exit.

    The entire city was made up of rotaries – even small residential intersections. I almost died like 3 times and live today only by sheer luck.

    Also, road trains.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    What’s the dumbest mistake you ever made while driving a car? Or talk about other topics if you please — open thread!

    Wasn’t me, but I did see a guy put a cake on top of the car until he could put some other stuff in the back. Of course he drove away and the cake fell off the top of the car. He was too far away for people to warn him.

    Not while driving: I was in the parking lot at a shopping center listening to some hot song. Got out, shut and locked the door, and only then noticed that the radio was still on. Keys still in the car. It was a long day.

  65. 65
    LAO says:

    @Trollhattan: So far, my favorite. I just can’t wrap my head around not noticing the garage door is still closed.

  66. 66
    K488 says:

    I have twice – twice! – torn off a rearview mirror in a parking lots, both within a two-year period. At $500 bucks a pop, you’d think I’d have learned something the first time.

  67. 67

    @redshirt: My family went to Ireland one time. My dad was driving. Just out of the lot, he clipped a mirror on a park car and this old guy, all decked out in tweed and everything, comes out of his home tottering towards us. “Ya broke me mirror!” he said exasperated. We apologized and asked for directions. He sort of sighed and got into the car and directed us to the hotel in downtown Dublin. Upon arriving, he struggled to get out of the door. “Gimme a push!” he said. I gave him a push, and handed him his cane, and off he tottered, never to be seen again.

  68. 68
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    1. Rate your own driving skills on a scale of 1-10 (1 being horrible 10 being perfect).
    2. Rate other people’s driving skills on a scale of 1-10.

    @redshirt: I was a much better driver when I was younger. These days, a solid 7. Most other drivers – about a 7. Problem is, I drive in SoCal with about 10 million other cars on the road and the law of averages dictates that some of those drivers are people who should not be allowed within a thousand feet of a car.

  69. 69
    patroclus says:

    I was driving down the freeway and turned on the radio and the only thing on was Rush Limbaugh.

  70. 70
    jl says:

    I’m not sure which one of my dumbest mistakes Cracker is talking about.
    So, can’t answer.

    Edit: I do know my dumbest mistake with a tractor, but I don’t want to talk about it. Reminds me of how close I came to not being here now.

    Edi2: Also my dumbest mistake in a canoe. Bad idea to put one foot on a rock and another in the canoe to try to steady things, especially when the canoe is almost cracked in half. Without a life vest. But I was kind of buzzed on beer, so the memory is not so bad. Yes, it was in Alaska.

  71. 71
    redshirt says:

    @patroclus: Driving to Ayers Rock I experienced something truly profound: There were no radio stations. Nothing on the dial at all.

  72. 72
    Chris says:

    @patroclus:

    The expression “silence is golden” was made for days like these.

  73. 73
    patroclus says:

    @redshirt: Well, I was in Macau and rented one of those “mokes” that they’re always advertising in Hong Kong and it wasn’t anything more than a souped-up golf cart and I was on a freeway going 80 kph. Don’t do this!

  74. 74
    Trollhattan says:

    The stories come dribbling back, probably triggered by all these others. Nothing quite like pulling up to a stop on a motorcycle and planting my foot in an oil puddle–zoot! Down goes me and bike, and then I need to figure how to get the leverage to lift it up while standing on oil. There’s a Keystone XL Kops joke in here somewhere.

  75. 75

    @Alain the site fixer:
    If the bat you hit damaged the car, it must have been a dingbat.

  76. 76
    Trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Will you be here all week? How’s the veal?

  77. 77
    Exurban Mom says:

    Very pregnant, driving in an unfamiliar part of town. Turned left and got t-boned because I didn’t know the street was one way. Other driver calmed right down when she saw me and my big belly get out of the car. No one hurt. Had the baby the next day. All’s well that ends well.

  78. 78
    Mike in NC says:

    @redshirt: Probably Lewiston. The cop pulled me over in Lisbon Falls.

  79. 79
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    The very first day I owned my new car, I took it by my co-worker’s house to show it off. He was my carpool partner, but was working from home that day. He came out, admired it, and went back inside. I backed out of his driveway, relying on the new-to-me backup camera video screen, and managed to take out his brick mailbox at the foot of the drive. I hadn’t even transferred the insurance yet (fortunately, they not only covered the body damage to my rear door, they replaced his mailbox.)

    A few days later, when I went back to pick him up for the drive in to work, he had put a huge target symbol on the new mailbox! LOL!

  80. 80

    Lost one of my first cell phones by leaving it on the roof and driving off. Worse, I wasn’t at home at the time so had to hurry up and kill it.

  81. 81
    The Lodger says:

    @Bg: Those things exist? Where can I find one?

  82. 82
    Isobel says:

    Taking my very first left hand turn ever on my sixteenth birthday, I drove right into a parked RV. Smashed it up good and bent the front of the car. So embarrassing. I was driving with the church deacon and never told my parents.

  83. 83
    LAO says:

    @K488:

    I have twice – twice! – torn off a rearview mirror in a parking lots, both within a two-year period.

    That reminds me of my favorite funny driving story — one summer during undergrad I interned at HELP, which was Andrew Cuomo’s homeless advocacy group (provided long-term emergency housing and intensive support for homeless families). The main office only had 5 employees so I got to know everyone.

    One morning, Andrew comes up to me and tells me he needs me to go to the Bronx site and I can drive either the Van or his Bronco. I tell him I’m uncomfortable driving the van and not really thrilled about the Bronco. He tells, don’t worry it will be fine. When I returned to the office, I made sure to personally hand him his right side rear view mirror, so he wouldn’t be surprised.

  84. 84
    Trollhattan says:

    Via LGM and the Great Orange Satan, a Republican staffer throws in the towel.

    You wanna know why I left the Republican Party as it exists today? Here it is; this was the last straw: I was in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters. Think about that for a minute. Elected officials planning and happy to help deny a fellow American’s constitutional right to vote in order to increase their own chances to hang onto power. A vigorous debate on the ideas wasn’t good enough. Inspiring the electorate and relying on their agenda being better to get people to vote for them wasn’t good enough. No, they had to take the coward’s way out and come up with a plan to suppress the vote under the guise of ‘voter fraud.’ The truth? There was almost none. Oh wait, GOP Speaker Voss’ estranged wife voted twice in both Idaho and WI, and a GOP staffer was caught voting twice. But it was good rhetoric.

  85. 85
    JustRuss says:

    A loooong time ago, a coworker of mine talked a couple nurses in town for a convention into going on a date. He needed a wingman, and a car, so he invited me, and for some reason I agreed. Our date involved driving high into the hills above the San Fernando Valley to look at the city lights at night. Why two girls agreed to drive to the middle of nowhere with two strangers, I don’t know. Simpler times, I guess.

    Anyway, time came to drive down the mountain, and a 65 Mustang, while pretty, has crappy brakes, and loaded with 4 adults, they weren’t up for the task. Before long they had overheated to the point of uselessness, and I was cursing like a sailor trying to keep the car on the road on a fast, curvy descent. Fortunately we hit some uphill and lost enough speed to stop the car.

    Best part is a couple years later I was with some friends and the same damn thing happened. They still laugh about the time I nearly killed them.

  86. 86
    Trollhattan says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant):
    My bride (of garage door infamy) did that–heard and saw it fly off as she was crossing the local railroad tracks. Stopped, fetched it and it still worked, it just looked mean now. It was a Motorola brick analog phone that probably weighted a pound or more, Good thing she didn’t nail someone with it, or derail a train.

  87. 87
    PurpleGirl says:

    I don’t drive. I have a friend who had a car for a few years when she was working Stamford (CT)(she lives in Manhattan). So we’re driving to mall in NJ and we miss the exit we want — twice. We’d done stuff like that quite often. I began to do the navigating for the trip — checking the directions on-line before any trip.

    One weekend we were going to a Gem and Mineral show in PA (near Harrisburg!). She made the motel reservations for the return trip but hadn’t checked exactly where the motel was. It turned out that the motel was almost back at the PA/NJ border. We kept driving on the road looking for the motel, it was a good half hour before we found it — set back on the property and not visible from the road.

  88. 88
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    The scariest driving I ever did was in Idaho at the tail end of The Business Trip From Hell.

    June 21, 1988. Meetings at Mountain Home AFB wrapped up in the early afternoon. With a morning flight home, I drove the rented Toyota Celica east on US 20, through mountainous terrain on the southern edge of the Sawtooth National Forest, headed for Ketchum to find Hemingway’s grave. (Therein hangs a tale, but not tonight, Josephine.) Go east on US 20, turn left at the first traffic light onto state 75, you can’t miss it. The locals told me to go as fast as I wanted–they’d never seen a state patrolman on that road. (FTR I saw 3 cars & a combine in the 80 miles to “the first traffic light.”)

    By the time I headed back it was getting toward 9 PM on the longest day of the year. The sky was still bright with the setting sun but the land was in darkness as I sped west on a mostly straight US 20 doing 80 or 85. I got into the mountains at about 10 & came up over a rise–

    –& suddenly the reflectors along the side of the road were strung out across the road.

    Beyond them a drop of several hundred feet. With no guard rails.

    I must have missed the sign for “curve ahead.”

    I never did send Toyota a note to thank them for the wonderful brakes they put on those Celicas. I should have.

    About 15 minutes later, when I pulled into the Best Western parking lot in Mountain Home, I had just about managed to shove my heart back down my throat.

    It was the closest I’ve ever come to dying. And I don’t ever want to come any closer. I still get the shakes thinking about it…

  89. 89
    jibeaux says:

    I hope this isn’t buried too deep in the open thread, but my son’s high school robotics team, fairly unexpectedly, just qualified to attend the World FIRST robotics championship in St. Louis, MO, April 27-30. I think there are probably longstanding teams that knew they had a good shot have booked up almost all the lodging in the area (900 teams in total will attend) so accommodations are scarce. If you know anyone with a rental property within a half hour of the stadium, or anyone who might be willing to take a vacation that week and earn a little money, please let me know. We’re going to probably have 30 smart, deserving, young people and quite a few parents trying to come to this. You can email me at twinkarma at the geemail. I’m not a twin, don’t have a twin, it’s just an anagram of Mark Twain. I know it’s a random place to post this request, but this community has come through for me before!

  90. 90
    Miss Bianca says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Ha ha! Glad your co-worker had a sense of humor about the whole thing!

  91. 91
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Exurban Mom:

    For some reason, that story reminds me of an old semi-racy (at the time) cartoon, of an extremely pregnant young woman walking blithely across the street against a “Don’t Walk” sign, while drivers who have the green are screaming and honking. One guy leans out his window and yells at her, “You know you can get knocked down too!!”

  92. 92
    Dog Dawg says:

    Scraping bottom on a parking block at the DMV is pretty embarrassing.

    I actually did it right after I took the SAT, in the parking lot of some community college, as I was driving myself home.

    Funny thing is–I got a perfect score. Just goes to show the test doesn’t really measure street smarts.

  93. 93
    ruemara says:

    I accidentally hit the accelerator and zoomed forward into the curb, braked hard enough to not hit it, spun out a bit when turning, went the wrong direction, turned back and nearly drove through a red light. In my defense, my anxieties were on maximum overdrive due to fear of DVT being back. Lately, between the funky windshield wiper on drivers side, the fact that people invite me out when it rains and my neurotic driving panic in new locations, lyft has been a godsend. Plus, my inviter is either super sweet or is crushing on me, cos he also drives me back.

  94. 94
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @MattF: Brings to mind the old line

    I want to die in my sleep like my granddad–not like the passengers in the car he was driving at the time.

  95. 95
    NotMax says:

    Back in the days of paper licenses (no picture) used to get quizzical looks if had to show my NY driver’s license because the address on it was a P.O. box in Pennsylvania, which was my mailing address.

  96. 96
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @jibeaux:

    Can’t help you with the rental property request, but big congratulations to your son and his team!

    I used to be marginally involved with FIRST Robotics Teams from Canada back when I was working. They are all such imaginative, creative, and enthusiastic kids. I hope your son and team find a place to stay, and I wish them all the best.

  97. 97
    The Golux says:

    This didn’t happen to me, but when I was in high school, our band’s drummer (who was living with us at the time) borrowed my father’s ’68 Firebird to give our guitarist a ride home. I think this was during Christmas vacation. About 500 feet from the end of our driveway, the car ran out of gas. One of them came back to the house for a gas can, and the guitar player was pouring it in the tank when my older sister, who was taking my younger sister on an errand, approached the scene in our family’s other car. The guitar player waved, and my sister, momentarily flummoxed by the situation, hit the brakes. There was a coating of ice on the road, and she smacked into the back of the Firebird. Since the Firebird’s gas filler was in the center of the rear panel, the guitar player had to move fast to avoid being sandwiched. Thankfully, he had time to do so.

    The policeman who arrived shortly thereafter was quite confused when, after talking to my sister, the drummer informed him that the car he was driving had the same owner.

  98. 98
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    He felt a lot worse about the damage to my car (and my pride) than to his mailbox. Good guy. Devout Christian, politically conservative (IOW, totally unlike me!) but one of the nicest and funniest people I ever worked with. I don’t miss the commute per se, but I miss sharing it with Kevin.

  99. 99
    goblue72 says:

    Pulling to a dead stop on a highway while 18 and tripping on mushrooms, thinking we were going 85mph. Luckily for me and my buddy, it was 2AM and nobody was on the road, so we were able to come to our senses and get off at the closest exit.

  100. 100
    Trollhattan says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:
    Emo Phillips!

    “I was changing the radio, had it about halfway out….” etc.

  101. 101
    NotMax says:

    Most unexpected driving experience occurred in the dark of night on an unlit two-lane road snaking around a slope in northern Wisconsin round about 1977.. Hadn’t seen another car on the road for miles.

    Drove around a curve and there, in the slight valley below, was the huge, bright screen of a drive-in movie theater. Which was in the midst of showing a hardcore X-rated film.

  102. 102
    Hillary Rettig says:

    I guess you were both rattled by the test Betty. Relatedly I’m constantly telling me SO to “just go forward into the empty space!” instead of backing out and he’s constantly telling me it’s not safe. (He’s not worried about barriers but someone whippin’ in really fast.) So he will appreciate this post. But I think backing out is dangerous esp. b/c parking lots are so random with pedestrians etc.

  103. 103
    jibeaux says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thank you. They really are great kids. The wild thing is, and the competition encourages this, they’re so nice and friendly to each other. It helps that there are sportsmanship awards and that they work in alliances that are always shifting so it’s not a good idea to trash talk, but they are genuinely interested in checking out the other teams’ work and learning from them and socializing. It has a lot of the trappings of sports and some of the intensity but not ALL of the intensity.

  104. 104
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Major Major Major Major: My first European driving experience was in Northern Ireland in a floor-shift Ford Focus. (It cost the same for the weekend as an automatic for one day, so being the cheap barstid I am…) It seems that bashing the left-side mirror against a parked car or telephone poll or etc. is so common for tourists that the rental cars all come with foldup side mirrors.

    I didn’t have problems with the pedals (same arrangement as here) or the shift (same arrangement but other hand–not normally driving a manual shift probably meant I didn’t have to fight any burned-in tendencies). And generally it wasn’t a problem to stay on the left, so long as there was at least one other car on the road to serve as reminder. (With no such guidance, I turned the wrong way on the first unoccupied roundabout I encountered, & you could almost hear the drivers of the cars screeching to a halt on the feeder roads screaming Fookin’ Yank!)

    The most annoying things were a tendency to stay too far away from the centre-line (hence the bashing of side mirrors)–I was warned about this & managed to compensate–and remembering where the rearview mirrors were in order to look in them. Other than that, no worries

  105. 105
    Trollhattan says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:
    Yoikes!

    I had a rental Toyota–Corolla hatchback of some kind–with a very low roofline and thus, limited space between head and roof even with the seat all the way back down (presuming it had a “down, you seat” lever, this being the ’80s). At a rail crossing I hit my head hard enough to see stars (I didn’t need seatbelts, I needed a racing harness). Always wondered what would have happened had I been knocked out.

  106. 106
    Trollhattan says:

    @Hillary Rettig:
    Backing out of a head-in parking space can be harrowing when flanked by trucks/SUVs/vans. You can. Not. See. A. Thing. Until you’re in traffic.

  107. 107
    cleek says:

    absolute dumbest would be drinking way too much, first. i was young and just didn’t get it. i’d never do that now.

    as an actual adult, and not a credentialed child, my dumbest thing was …. when we moved from NY to NC. we packed all our stuff into a U-Haul, stuck a trailer on the back to tow my car, while my wife drove her car. and then we drove the 700 miles.

    when we stopped in the DC area for lunch, we pulled off 95 to hit a McDonalds. but we got off 95 onto a divided highway and the McDs was on the other side. so we had to hunt for a place to do a U-turn. couldn’t find one, so i turned into a residential neighborhood, and ended up in a cul-de-sac. and then i tried doing a 200 point turn to get out, but just got myself completely stuck. after ten minutes of watching me and hearing the backup beeper, all the men in the neighborhood had to come out, pull the trailer off the truck by hand, help me get the truck unwedged from between their mailboxes, then pull the car+trailer up the the truck and reattach. took like an hour.

  108. 108
    cahuenga says:

    @Chris:

    Recently returned from a business trip there and confirm Miami has HANDS DOWN the shittiest most self-absorbed asshole drivers on the planet. Yesterday I was trying to describe the experience to a friend who has never Miami. All I could come up with is it’s much like driving in Tijuana, but with cocaine and rage.

  109. 109
    NotMax says:

    Appears that Alain is active. In case he’s monitoring, shall mention that the glitch with the wrong video showing on front page posts which include a video is back. Correct video shows up when on the comments page.

    FF latest build, Win 7.

  110. 110
    Chris says:

    @cahuenga:

    The absolute worst traffic I’ve ever seen is probably Cairo, Egypt, but paradoxically that’s not such a bad thing – the fact that the entire city is one big parking lot means that the average accident happens at, like, 5 miles an hour. In Miami, things can still go fast enough to be lethal.

    As far as those behind the wheel being assholes, yeah, no. Miami still has the edge. Though I’m told I might change my mind if I ever drove in Manhattan.

  111. 111
    Barbara says:

    @Alain the site fixer: Was that Who concert the one that was held the day before the Cincinnati concert where people were trampled? If so, I was there too courtesy of my brother and his girlfriend. It was a Sunday night and Pete Townsend mentioned the Steelers victory that afternoon when he opened.

  112. 112
    A Ghost To Most says:

    In 1976, we road tripped from Offutt AFB in Omaha to get a look at the Rockies in a tricked out Datsun 260Z. I got pulled over at 3 am after going 165 on an empty stretch of I-80. I got off with a warning because I was military.

    More recently, I got stuck in a snowdrift at 11000 feet on the Fourth of July. Lots of people there to watch and grab my winch cable and haul me out. I learned from that.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Trollhattan:

    My (now late) father kept a sign on his dashboard that said “DOOR!” after he did that.

  114. 114
    WereBear says:

    I was on my driver’s test and we were booming down one of those string straight Florida-flat roads when, out of the heat shimmer, I realized there was a tortoise crossing the road. One side, a six foot drainage ditch. Other side, an 18 wheeler.

    There was no help for it. I drove over the tortoise. Ba dump ba dump.

    I felt horrible. But when I looked in the rear view, he was extending his head and legs, and walking across the road again.

    I passed.

  115. 115
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Trollhattan: It’s a problem just screaming for a solution.

    Some years back I had this idea to put a webcam at the tip of an arm that would fold up into a car’s rear fender & then extend say 10 feet up like the old power-operated telescoping car antennas. The camera lens could be rotated with a joystick (or touch screen) & send video to a dashboard screen or a HUD built into the windshield. Maybe build in 2 wideangle cams to look up & down the street.

    I think that’s kind of OBE (Overcome By Electronics). Either you’d put the cams on a small tethered drone (like one of them toy helicopters) & let it lift off your roof, or you’d go to Google satellite in real time, to feed the HUD or screen.

  116. 116
    SoupCatcher says:

    @Trollhattan:

    Backing out of a head-in parking space can be harrowing when flanked by trucks/SUVs/vans. You can. Not. See. A. Thing. Until you’re in traffic.

    That’s where I’ve found it helpful to have primer spots visible on my vehicle. Just put it in reverse to turn on the lights, wait a few beats, and start slowly backing out. Works every time.

  117. 117

    Dumbest driving decision: deciding to drive in suburban Mumbai, I turned over driving duties to my friend after encountering my first cow. What can I say she looked pretty unfriendly.

  118. 118
    drdavechemist says:

    Last summer, on vacation in Bar Harbor, drove across the lawn of our rental house to mount the bikes on top of the car, failing to notice the low-hanging wires across the lawn. While trying to drive back out, snagged the wire on one of the bikes and pulled the wire out of the pole. Thankfully it didn’t disconnect at either end, so the maintenance people only had to tack it back onto the pole, and no damage to the bikes except the loss of one bar-end mirror. The rental company didn’t even dock our deposit. I like the car-top carrier, but the danger of forgetting the bikes are there is ever-present.

  119. 119
    SoupCatcher says:

    As far as stupidest move while driving…

    Sixteen. Turning left out of our street. Mid turn. Glanced down. Saw the trip-meter. Decided to reset it. Reached through steering wheel with one hand as I start to straighten out. Had to slam on the brakes and come to a complete stop to extricate my arm from the steering wheel and allow the wheel to turn again.

  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    I still miss my 1987 Celica. Best road trip car ever.

  121. 121
    WereBear says:

    Then there was the time I left the car running (it was my first winter up north and I was freezing) and it dropped into reverse and went across four lanes of traffic and up a flight of steps of a church, pinning the doors shut.

    I came out and thought the car had been stolen. Then I looked up the street to see what the commotion was about.

    Christmas morning.

    No harm done to anyone, thank goodness. But it was a few years before I told my dad.

  122. 122
    Gravenstone says:

    @LAO:

    I made sure to personally hand him his right side rear view mirror, so he wouldn’t be surprised.

    First job was an attendant at a full service gas station back in the day. One of the regulars owned a well drilling service and he comes in with his drilling rig truck (some early 70’s GMC leviathan). He’s standing there shooting the shit with my boss when he tosses me the keys and tells me to move his rig. I’m 18 and have never driven stick anything, let alone an oversized monstrosity. I tell him as much, but he insists, and my boss starts egging me on to do it. So I sigh, start the pig up, jam it into gear and slowly ease out the clutch. The thing lurches forward and I crank the wheel hard over to avoid hitting the LP tank at the end of our lot. I then proceed to hold the wheel hard over in a death grip as the thing shudders to a halt and stalls out – but not until after I’d nailed one of our gas pumps with his driver side mirror. I got out, tossed him his keys and looked him and my boss square in the eyes, “told you I couldn’t drive stick”. Fucker kept asking me when I was going to pay for his mirror every time he saw me after that, until I quit a few months later to go to college.

  123. 123
    hitchhiker says:

    I made my dumbest move when I wasn’t even behind the wheel.

    Traverse City, Michigan 1972 (I am 21.)
    Parking lot of the Holiday Inn, 2:15 am.
    My uber-lame boyfriend had left me in the (terriible) bar there for a couple of hours.
    I WAS ENRAGED. (Also apparently too dumb to just get myself home.)
    The bar had just closed when he finally staggered in, as shit-faced as a man can be and still walk.
    We climbed into his truck. (I have no idea why I was willing to do this.)

    He went swinging through the parking lot, heading directly at a big old light pole. I thought he was fucking with me and refused to give him the satisfaction of saying “Look out, you asshole!”

    BAM. Direct hit.

    The end.

  124. 124
    Elliott says:

    Betty, when I hit 16, my mother drove with me just once around the block and then she sent me off to Drivers Training. This worked out for me because after I failed the driver’s exam for the third time my teacher assured the state trooper that it was just nerves and i really could drive drive OK – so
    I got my license (and never crashed after that! … clean record, woot!)

  125. 125
    HinTN says:

    I had a 1971 Super Beetle, which had a Porsche suspension. Great handling car! Anyhoo, for some unremembered reason I had the front seats out of the car and I had to make a quick run up the mountain for some other unremembered reason. So I was sitting on the case I used for the 8-track tapes and the album ended. I used the steering wheel to raise my teenage self up off the case save was fishing blindly for a new tape and steering up the curvy mountain road. D’oh – distracted – can’t reach/find the tape – car gently goes off the road and lodges against a tree, saving the big enchilada but putting a savage crease in the roof. Try explaining that to your long suffering mother… :^)

  126. 126
    HinTN says:

    So I can edit once but not twice?

  127. 127
    nutella says:

    My weirdest experience was caused by weird weather conditions. Somehow all the roads got covered by heavy frost and then it melted in the sunny spots so only the shady spots were frosted.

    I was getting on Rte 3 south in beautiful North Billerica and got to the shady spot on the curvy on-ramp. Since I wasn’t expecting trouble I did the wrong thing when the car started to slide and hit the brakes. Next thing I knew the car was right up against the curb and facing the wrong way. Several people in heavier cars drove by wondering how I had managed to get there. I decided maybe Rte 3 wasn’t a good idea that day so I drove up over the curb to the off-ramp and headed to work on local roads.

    When I got to a shady spot on one of the narrow, winding, hilly, very scenic roads through Concord I was prepared for a slide and stayed off the brakes so just got a little thrill.

    One of my colleagues encountered her first shady spot of the day just before a toll booth and totalled her car on the booth so I got off easy.

  128. 128
    daverave says:

    My wife and I drove straight into a pair of 30″ boulders when departing a desert campground last week. The same boulders that we had spent the whole morning walking around but couldn’t see over the hood of our F-150 upon departure. Tore off the license plate and the plastic bumper skirt below the main bumper. Lucky it wasn’t worse…..

  129. 129
    Ken Pidcock says:

    I did exactly as you said. After my father’s funeral.

  130. 130
    Jill says:

    Forgot to put the (two-month old car) in neutral in the car wash. Luckily no damage to the poor car in front of me.

  131. 131
    KS in MA says:

    @NYCMT: I did about the same thing in my parents’ Corvair, but since it was a Corvair, I did a 180. Scared the bejesus out of me. Luckily no one was coming, or I’d have been creamed.

  132. 132
    Desmo says:

    Not my driving mistake but…

    Some years ago I worked in an Admin capacity for the Crow Tribe of Indians, at the Tribal Headquarters outside of Crow Agency, just across from the Custer Battlefield, in Montana.

    The Headquarters has a great view of I 90 and there is an overpass there. It is, of course, clearly marked with the clearance requirements.

    One day, a trucker with a too-tall rig tried to clear overpass, failed, and smushed his trailer into the overpass. The truck broke loose and ended up off down the road, on its side, and the overpass lifted by a couple feet. (It ultimately had to be replaced.)

    Now Crow Indian people…how can I say this? Humor, preferably ironic humor, is their essence. Laughing and playing tricks on each other is central to their existence. The “Coyote” is worshipped because the Coyote is a trickster.

    So the building started to fill up with Crow folks who came to see the wreck. And they laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Hundreds came…Mountain Crow, who seldom came to town, they came by the hundreds. The word spread by Indian telegraph, all came to see this wreck, and laugh. Vendors set up fry-bread stands out front. And they laughed, and said over and over again the word, “Shoda!”

    I asked one of my Crow friends why they were laughing and what “Shoda” meant.

    He translated, “Stupid fucking white guy.”

  133. 133
    mclaren says:

    One time I picked up a hitchhiker who was wearing a ski mask and had a gun. He said he wanted to stop off at a 7-11 to get a slurpee, so I pulled up and let him out, and whaddaya know? Three minutes later he comes running out with a bunch of cash in hand yelling for me to DRIVE GODDAMMIT DRIVE!!!

    Okay, just kidding. Still, it’s one of those mysterious events that “no one could possibly have predicted,” right?

  134. 134
    phein55 says:

    @Shana: Westbound on I-80 crossing the Mississippi late one Christmas Eve, left the cruise control on and hit a patch of ice in a ’97 Safari conversion van. Did a 360 in front of the semi I’d just passed, and wound up back in my own lane by some miracle.

    Stopped at that rest stop overlooking the bridge, let the kids stop crying and my hands stop shaking, and have never used cruise control where there might be ice again.

  135. 135
    Paul in KY says:

    @burnspbesq: I u-turned on Florida Turnpike when I realized I was going wrong way. They did not like me at the toll booth (this was when you got a punched card).

  136. 136
    ninja3000 says:

    When I turned 17, I went to take my NJ driving test at Lodi DMV. I passed the test easy, got my papers, then proceeded to drive my father’s new Falcon up and over the curb leading back out to Rt. 17.

    BTW, all these stories above make me think that you’re all the devil spawn of Cole!

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