Driver’s tests in the late 1950s

For driver’s education, most of us had straight-arrow, hard-line, strict-disciplinarian, cut-you-no-slack instructors. We learned everything in the book, such as all the hand signals, which we had to use on the road. Also, we learned with an on-the-column, below-the-steering-wheel stick shift, clutch pedal, non-power-steering car. We had to be able to stop, hold the car on steep hills and then start forward without rolling backwards, smoking the clutch plate, spinning the drive wheels or killing the engine. Another test was backing up long distances and parallel parking the car within 6 inches of the curb without scuffing the sidewalls of the tires. We parked between other real cars, not orange cones like today. The cars were big then — and hard to see the front and back end. Also, some of the testing was in the winter, when it was snowing, on slippery roads and with windows fogged up. We also had to change our own flat tires (no cellphone road service calls). Another thing — we did not sit in a nice, easy chair and send to the state a mail-in driver’s test to have them send back a driver’s license like now. Well, that was the good old days.


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