When Sam joined the driver’s licence testing team at his local department office he got more than he bargained for.
We always hear about everyone’s driving test experience from the nervous driver’s seat, but what about the other side? We spoke with a driving test instructor who let us in on some strange and unique experiences of their own.
While Sam* says that ninety per cent of the tests are relatively straightforward, there is a good ten per cent that makes his job memorable for all the wrong reasons and they all have one thing in common; the customer using their own vehicle.
“The Department of Transport states that a customer can use their own vehicle as long as it meets certain health and safety requirements, one of these is that the vehicle is clean. The problem with that is everyone has their own perception of what clean means and let’s just say that for a few, the bar is set pretty low,” he explains.
Sam outlines his most memorable experiences (so far).
A car reeking of urine
One of the worst experiences for me was assessing one particular man whose car reeked of urine.
The man’s car appeared clean but once I got inside this first impression was proved wrong. Very wrong.
As soon as I sat in the car the intensity of the human urine smell consumed me and it just got worse when the doors were closed. It was as if someone had been using the car as a toilet. It was just disgusting.
When the test had finished, I just couldn’t wait to go home and shower.
A bag of weed in full view
An 18-year-old was about halfway through his test when I noticed a zip lock bag in the side pocket on the passenger side door. It didn’t take me too long to realise what was inside the bag – a sizeable bunch of weed.
While he nailed his test and appeared not to be under the influence, I did suggest to him that perhaps it would be best to store his special herbs somewhere less visible in future. And not to ever drive after partaking.
The first thing I noticed when getting into this young woman’s car was that there were chunks missing from her seat upholstery. Although a little unusual I got in and we began the test.
Not long into it though as I looked around the car, I noticed little black objects dotted along the dashboard and also on the floor mats. That is when it clicked, they were mouse droppings.
Obviously, a mouse, or mice had been living in her car and not only eating bits of it but leaving deposits behind too.
Rotting banana peel (with mould)
This car was pristine apart from one very smelly detail, a rotting banana peel.
The peel sat in the cup holder near the gears and it was very clearly decomposing right there.
While It absolutely stunk, it also looked foul – I mean bits of white furry mould was clearly visible. But the most bizarre element of the whole thing was how the driver could not possibly notice or not care especially since the rest of the car interior was so clean?
Solar dashboard figurines
As I approached the customer’s vehicle, I noticed that the dashboard was covered in those figurines that move around from solar energy. There was everything from hula girls, Santa, poop emojis, an assortment of flowers and animals, even Donald Trump was there bopping away.
If I were to guess I’d say there were over forty of them lining the entire width of the dash and then 2-3 rows deep.
When she noticed that I was looking at them, she told me she was a collector, I smiled and then asked her to take them off for the test because they were a visual hazard.
While being a driving tester is generally pretty straightforward, I do think that these stinky and WTF situations warrant us receiving a pay rise, or at least the cost of dry cleaning our uniforms…
*The names in the article have been changed at the request of the participants
Keyword: The grossest and craziest things a driving test instructor has experienced