Submitted by J4ywolf t3_z5dbwr in Maine

I am over 18, and over 25. I'm almoat 30yrs old. My next driver's test is coming up on the 8th and I don't feel I will pass. I am on a deadline and must have my license by Jan 1st. If I fail again I won't have rides to work, from work, and to the store for groceries. I heard in some states if your over a certain age with a permit you can legally drive by yourself. Does Maine have that?

EDIT: Lots are assuming I have been driving by myself since I have asked this question, I have NOT been driving by myself. I drive with my Father and Grandmother when they are available to take me driving.



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MaybePirateDom t1_ixveae6 wrote

if you don’t think you’ll pass the test, why do you believe you should be on the road?


J4ywolf OP t1_ixw4tj0 wrote

I don't think I will pass bc I gave up on believing in myself even though first try I only failed bc of a stop sign - didn't stop completely and inched very slowly. I have depression so I don't really believe in myself or have self-worth. So I don't think I will pass bc of how I feel towards myself.


neuromonkey t1_ixwrjto wrote

tl;dr-- Under NO circumstances should you drive without a license, nor even consider it. If you drive without a license, you are, by definition, a bad driver.

I apologize for the gigantic wall-of-text answer. I'm procrastinating. Very, very well.

Back up to the previous question. Re-read it, and then read your answer. Can you see that you didn't address the question that /u/MaybePirateDom asked? They didn't ask why you didn't pass the test.

You've asked a question, but I'm not sure you're being open to taking in the answers. That isn't necessarily your fault, but you should try to hear what's being offered to you. Car engines are extremely powerful things, and cars are massive objects. You need to understand how to control them before you can drive safely around other people. If you're making bad decisions, you haven't gotten past the first step of becoming a good driver. You can't be a good driver if you do things that aren't safe, and could really screw up your life.

I know what depression is like--I've dealt with it most of my life. One of the aspects that isn't discussed as much as it should be is how it affects executive function. Depression changes your perceptions--a lot. Perfect self-confidence or self-worth isn't necessary to drive a car, but if you're so depressed that you aren't thinking clearly, you absolutely MUST NOT DRIVE A CAR. Experienced drivers with no mental health issues get into accidents every single day. Sadly, a lot of these result in horrific injuries and deaths. Giving you a FAIL on the driving test wasn't a punishment, or a personal criticism. It was a gentle hand on your shoulder to help you see that you need to finish Level One before going on to Level Two. If you can't see how that's true, it's OK, you'll get there. Really.

The best driver in the world started off exactly where you are. The most brilliant chess masters ever weren't born knowing how the pieces move. Relax. It's fine. You'll get there.

If you aren't sure whether you're thinking clearly or not... you need to get someone else's perspective. Ideally, you should talk with a counselor or therapist. If that isn't possible, you need to ask a friend or family member for help. Call an agency like Penquis CAP, or even a local hospital. If one person can't tell you how to find help, they can direct you to someone who can. Even moderate depression and/or anxiety can seriously screw up our ability to drive safely. Driving on public roads before you understand the laws & rules, and before you're comfortable enough to respond quickly and properly when something unpredictable happens... That stuff is no joke. If you think your life is difficult now, you absolutely do not want to make it 10 times worse by damaging property, or hurting someone.

Being a good driver isn't only about being able to operate a car. It's also about dealing with the many different kinds of crazy shit that can get you killed. I just took a two hour drive to meet my mom for Thanksgiving. On the way down there were two times where another driver did something really, really stupid. One guy changed lanes without looking, straight into me, while driving at ~10 mph over the speed limit. Later, two drivers tried to race into the same gap in traffic, narrowly avoiding each other and other cars. I was doing ~75, and they blew past me. Just to be one car length ahead of the other guy. This shit happens all the time on the road. That's why ~32,000 people are killed every year in collisions. Think about that for a second. Thirty-two THOUSAND people die every year in the US. Nearly all of those people died unnecessarily, as the result of negligence or stupidity. They all climbed into their cars thinking that nothing like that would happen to them, especially because they were such "good" drivers.

You can pass the driver's test. That's not even a question. But you must spend the time to learn the rules of the road, and how to safely operate a vehicle. When you have that down, your anxiety about being watched and judged will be a distant whine, rather than a loud scream. If your judgement is skewed by depression, PTSD, or anything else, you are NOT in a good place to learn to drive. That means that the most important thing for you right now is to get some help with your mental health. The good news is that that IS possible, and you can find ways to make that stuff better.

Nobody here is telling you that YOU are a bad driver. We're saying that nobody can drive well when they're preoccupied with worry, fear, sadness, self-doubt, etc. You don't need to solve all your problems to become a good driver, but you do need to get enough experience so that you can drive safely while suffering from a head full of screaming monkeys. The good decision-making and quick, correct reactions needed to be a good driver can only come from only thing: experience. You aren't a good driver trying to cope with cognitive and emotional problems. (Everyone has to deal with those things at some point.) You are someone who knows how to operate a car, but can't be a good driver yet, because those things are too disruptive. Nobody can be a good driver while there's a monkey in the back seat, lighting off fireworks. You're someone who can operate a car well.

There are several ways that therapy can help. When you feel like shit about yourself and can barely get out of bed, it can feel like nothing can help you. I get that. The unhealthy part of your mind tells you all sorts of screwed up things: You're a worthless piece of shit. You aren't worth anybody's time or energy. You want friends, you want a partner, but you should just be alone, because you're so fucked up. I could write this stuff for hours--it's been the constant background chatter for more than half my life. The thing is that all that shit is WRONG. That stuff comes from poor mental health, not from the fact that you're a horrible person. You've done shitty things in your life? Yeah, well. Welcome to being human. 97% of us have regrets. We all make mistakes.

DO NOT drive a car (especially in the winter in Maine!) before you have a license. If you're pulled over, you'll get arrested, your car will be impounded, and it'll make it a lot harder for you to get a license. Seriously, don't do it. Do you want to hurt other people? Probably not. I'm guessing that what you want is to wake up one day and feel better about yourself. That can happen, but you need to find a therapist who can help you find ways to improve your destructive, hurtful thoughts and feelings.

> I'm a good driver, and drive very cautiously due to PTSD.

I don't mean to insult you, but the fact that you think you're a good driver is a little scary. Before I went to college, I thought I was a "good programmer." The truth was that I was a shitty programmer who didn't even know what "good programmer" meant. Driving cautiously is good for everyone. If more people drove cautiously, fewer people would be injured and killed in accidents. There are over 30,000 people killed in car accidents in the US every year. Around 32k, though one year had more than 35,000 deaths.

> I tend to overly look, don't go thrue yellow lights, wait till cars pass even if I have time

Good! You need to keep doing those things for a few years after you have your license. Most people think that they're good drivers, and quite a lot of them are wrong. Just about everyone makes judgement errors

I understand being self-conscious, and hating being watched. You can get past that. That's not terribly difficult, if you want to work on it. Most therapists these days use what's called CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as a first line of approach. That's a fancy name for learning to become aware of how your thoughts influence your feelings and behaviors. After that, you can learn to recognize your irrational, unhelpful, counterproductive, self-destructive ways of thinking. (We've all got 'em; some people deal with them better than others.) Once you start to be able to see that stuff, and see how bizarre and wrong it is, you can start to change how you react to it. Really. It is possible. My depression and anxiety started when I was in fourth grade--9 or 10. It got more intense over the course of my life, and I did a bad job of working on improving things. I still have a long way to go. It's tough, I know. The alternative is a life under the constant weight of your disordered thoughts and feelings. Be brave. You can find help, if you look, and that can improve your life in ways that you begin to imagine.

Please don't drive without a license. It's a very, very bad idea. When you didn't pass your driving tests, it wasn't because you rolled through a stop sign, or didn't use your blinkers. It was because you didn't have to presence of mind to keep yourself from making silly little mistakes like that. It was because you one mistake led to feeling defeated. You were distracted by your anxieties. That's ok--that happens to everyone, and it isn't hard to learn to ways around your stupid screeching monkey long enough to take a driving test.


neuromonkey t1_ixwrrjk wrote

I'm not calling you stupid, I'm referring to the stupid, destructive negative thinking we've all got. The stupid monkey is deep within all of us, screeching in terror & anger when things don't go well. We can't get rid of idiotic little jerk, but we can learn to stop letting it steer our lives. If you're around little kids, they're going to be loud little dipshits who do and say stupid things. They yell, they break stuff, and they're completely controlled by their instantaneous emotions. Are you going to let a four year-old kid squirt superglue up its nose? No, because that's fucking stupid. Do you worry that you might let a four year-old squirt superglue up its nose? No. You wouldn't allow them to play with superglue to begin with. In exactly that way, we can start to learn how to take care of the the parts of ourselves that react like babies. The stupid monkey. Should I have eaten half a gallon of ice cream last night? No. No, I shouldn't have. But I did. So... I'm an asshole. I'll always be fat and out of shape, and I'll never learn to control myse----whoa. Whoa, there. Those were bad ways of reacting to my questionable ice cream-related decision. I'm not a bad person, I'm a person who sometimes lets the stupid monkey influence his behavior. But... I'm learning... slowly, but I'm learning.

It is possible to improve your mental health, but you need to work at it. You need to look for suggested approaches, and you need to try them. At the outset, you can't know which things will work for you. Grab a book or two on CBT. Sign up for MaineCare, and ask about other services that might help. Above all, you're in charge of steering your life. Don't be a dumb-ass. However hard your life is now, driving without a license could make your life a whole lot worse. Trust me, you aren't a good driver yet. Deciding to drive without a license is exactly the sort of judgement error that a driving test is meant to catch. (The tester doesn't give a rat's ass about you, personally, or why you did something wrong; only that you did.) You aren't incapable of driving well, but deciding to drive illegally would be strong evidence that you aren't making good decisions.

Stop explaining your behavior. Almost nobody in life will give a shit about why you did a thing--life isn't a movie, and you aren't a superhero whose backstory is relevant to the plot arc. I'm not saying that your experiences aren't important, I'm just saying that your actions tell the world who you are. If you drive without a license, you are, by definition, a bad driver. And you can change that, if you want to.


Mooshtonk t1_ixwpzde wrote

You need to grow the fuck up. Get a therapist, talk to your doctor. Do whatever it takes to get a hold of your life. You are almost 30 years for fuck's sake. Enough of this I don't believe in myself bullshit. I know life isn't easy, but you need an attitude adjustment. You're a grown up now act like it. Exercise, healthy eating, healthy habits, talk with a therapist. C'mon! You can do it!


Anxietyitch t1_ixze9cl wrote

Hey OP, I kinda hate myself too. I got my license at 28 after failing my permit test a bunch of times and failing the exam once. But I did it. And I hate myself kinda less now. Now when I’m stuck in that endless loop, I can drive myself to a mountain to hike or to the ocean or, most frequently, Target. I’m not stuck in one place anymore, I can go anywhere, whenever I want. Take a breather, collect yourself, you can do this. The freedom you will feel once you pass is worth it, don’t give up on yourself


No_Purchase9851 t1_ixvgfe4 wrote

Please for the love of god if you don’t think you can pass the drivers test, do NOT drive alone. You are endangering yourself and everyone else on the road when you do.


bwma t1_ixvf2lu wrote

No. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you have a permit, you need another person with you. If you could drive alone, that would be the same as having a license.


indyaj t1_ixvh4r3 wrote

As a driver myself, if you don't think you'll pass a driver's test then stay off the fucking road. Sorry for your situation but you could hurt or kill someone and that's not ok. Figure it out. Pass the test. I believe in you.


J4ywolf OP t1_ixw3puw wrote

Only reason I failed first time was bc I roll stopped pass a stop sign, everything else I passed 100%. Second time I failed more things bc of nerves and I was overwhelmed bc everyone was convinced I'd pass and had a lot of weight on my shoulders. I'm a good driver, and drive very cautiously due to PTSD. I tend to overly look, don't go thrue yellow lights, wait till cars pass even if I have time due to fear, and even look bothways when crossing an intersection since that's where I was T-Boned and almost killed. I just can't handle when people watch my every move like a hawk. So please don't assume I'm a risk to everyone without knowing my backstory. Thank you!


neuromonkey t1_ixwsgh4 wrote

I think you may be missing the help that people are offering. Nobody is criticizing your ability to drive a car. To drive well, you need to make good decisions. Driving without a license would be a very bad decision.

(wow. my insanely long comment could have just been that^^ ... I guess.


New_Sun6390 t1_ixwrqh2 wrote

I failed my first time for rolling thru a stop sign as well. So did more than half the people I knew who had to drive the same route for their tests. The examiners pick intersections with stop signs set way back in order to fail people.

I have also been t-boned at an intersection, despite having right of way, looking both ways, and seeing the other car slow down. I got over it and got on with my life.

Stop using "depression" and "PTSD" as excuses for your lack of adulting skills. If you are that afraid to drive, move to a city with public transit so you won't have to drive.


indyaj t1_iy09fkc wrote

I'm truly sorry for your struggle. I can relate to some of it. The driving issue aside, you might benefit from some therapy. I'm not saying you're nuts but it might help you sort out the ptsd, depression, lack of confidence. You know, give you some coping tools. We all need them. I mean, it can't hurt, right?

As far as the driving test, I meant it. I believe in you. Follow the rules (including rolling fucking stops!) and ace it. You can do this. Dig deep for the confidence. It's there. You know the rules. You know you're good and fuck what everyone else is saying. Who is the driving tester guy but another human? Just ignore him and drive properly. You know how to do it so do it. No excuses.

Sorry for the platitudes but that's all I got. It's up to you to figure it out and find that confidence in you. It's there. Find it.


floralwhale t1_ixvgqe8 wrote

If you can't pass the test, please do not go out on the road by yourself. You would be endangering our lives and yours.

Keep practicing (with a licensed driver in the car). What has stopped you from passing previous tests?


J4ywolf OP t1_ixw4ft2 wrote

First time: Roll stopped passed a stop sign (Bush was obstructing view so I kept inching fwd till I could see past it) 100% passed everything else. That one stop sign failed me.

Second time: no blinker on parallel parking, no backing up straight, to wide of a turn, didn't check one mirror when changing lanes. Once the instructor corrected me I gave up and stopped caring which lead to failing more things bc I was already upset with myself. I was already stressed and overwhelmed by all the weight on my shoulders by everyone being 100% sure I was gonna pass bc I only failed one thing my first time.


neuromonkey t1_ixwso0m wrote

None of that matters. Choosing to drive without a license is overwhelming evidence that you haven't reached the right answer quite yet. People are trying to help you, not cut you down.


Chickencutlets468 t1_ixvghbn wrote

Please don’t drive alone if you only have a permit…especially if you’re not confident on passing your test


snackexchanger t1_ixvew5c wrote


>>E. Unless the permittee is operating a motorcycle or moped, the learner's permit requires the permittee to be accompanied by a licensed operator who:
(1) Has held a valid license for at least 2 years;
(2) Is at least 20 years of age;
(3) Is occupying a seat beside the driver; and
(4) Is licensed to operate the class vehicle operated by the permittee.

So no…


leseulloupgris88 t1_ixvio8p wrote

No. Gotta have a legal driver's license to be on the road, no matter what your age is.


BothInteraction7246 t1_ixveebz wrote

You have to have a passenger who owns a valid license without suspension for at least two years.

You can however have a motorcycle permit and drive by yourself.


207mike t1_ixvybfs wrote

Driving schools are not just for teenagers. Call one in your area for driving lessons asap.


Frankster617 t1_ixvvrsv wrote

Age is irrelevant in most states. If you only have a permit, it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 85, you can’t drive by yourself.


sy33d_am33r_ali t1_ixw30v8 wrote

Get a bicycle. You could use the exercise anyway.


J4ywolf OP t1_ixw529c wrote

I'm 120, 5'5 1/2. I'm underweight for my height. But still tend to starve myself bc I feel fat and depression doesn't help lol. That and idk how to ride a bike.


sy33d_am33r_ali t1_ixw5wd1 wrote

Sorry to hear that. I was just joking, but learning how to ride a bike probably would actually help you with all that. Exercise definitely isn’t just for fat people, and it’s the best treatment for depression you can get without a prescription. And it would solve your transportation problem too. My advice stands.


neuromonkey t1_ixwtalq wrote

You could learn to ride a bike in a few days. Not that that's necessarily the answer in a big, rural state like Maine, with snow on the way, but finding a bike and learning to ride is a fairly quick, easy thing to do. Dealing with getting arrested for driving without a license will affect you for years.

Being thin isn't the same thing as being healthy. Quite the opposite, if you're underweight. Eating decent food and exercising will put on muscle. You'll improve balance and coordination, and the secondary effects of improved cardio and respiratory health can be life-changing in themselves. Your body will feel better, and that'll affect your mind, too!

I've tried dozens of approaches to dealing with depression and anxiety. None of them helped much... except exercise. Turns out I like felling trees. It's hard work, and it's potentially dangerous, which keeps me on my toes. After many passes at working out at a gym, playing sports, walking more & doing a twice-daily pushup-situp-etc routine... felling trees taught me that physical exercise is a magical method of working hard that I actually found really fun! Learning that was profound, in terms of showing me what was possible. After a life of depression, I could start changing course. Before that, I didn't really believe I could do anything to change my constant depression.


DidDunMegasploded t1_ixwdv8j wrote

Throwing myself into the Reddit're walking on coals posting this here, OP.

Also throwing myself into the fire to say, I can relate. I have depression as well and I'm planning on taking a test to see if I'm capable of driving because I was told 8 years ago I would never be able to by an OT. I'm fucking terrified because my entire livelihood--getting a job, caring for my family, being independent instead of just another stereotypical autistic statistic--hinges on it. Everyone always says "ah well you'll do fine, you're so smart, you don't need a test", but I have memory issues and am near-sighted (got glasses to help with that though) and like you, I don't have much self-worth.

To answer your question, though, no. You need to have someone with you. But I do wish you the best of luck and hopefully you'll shake off the criticism anonymity provides.


Slmmnslmn t1_ixwesxi wrote

40 now, but when I was getting my license i had my permit for a full 18 months.

This is one of the many coming of age lessons you will be tackling, but the freedom to drive is one of the best imo.


LeisureSuitLawrence t1_ixynbr7 wrote

All these people that are telling you to "stay off the road" would most likely not pass the test if given to them now. 95% passed the test directly after months of schooling. If given tests every five years there would be much fewer people on the roads.


Slmmnslmn t1_ixyq5y9 wrote

I disagree, instead of an external concept, the rules of are road are internalized and nearly second nature.


LeisureSuitLawrence t1_ixysj6t wrote

Rules of the road, maybe. They are hardly followed around here if known.
When to check over shoulder, not so much.


Writer_Distinct t1_ixwhz8e wrote

No, it’s not legal to drive without a license in ME, or any other state. You keep trying to justify why you failed but it doesn’t matter.

If you can’t pass a test where it’s the BARE MINIMUM to drive on the road. You have no business driving. The tests should be harder then they are. Put yourself through driving school and pass the test.


ecco-domenica t1_ixyvidx wrote

Don't drive by yourself with just your learner's permit. You don't want to take the chance of getting caught. That would not help your situation.

But DON'T give up! I've been depressed periodically through my life, and I've failed driver's tests. I feel for you. It's tough. But you will feel better and you will eventually pass the test.

Please, please keep trying. Keep asking your father and grandmother to drive with you as much as possible. Your driving & confidence will improve. Things will get better for you even if it doesn't feel like it right this moment.