Drivers Admit to Most Embarrassing Moments


In March, while I was driving the 2014 Jeep Cherokee long-term test vehicle between Chicago and southeastern Missouri, there was a moment when, well, let's just say I wasn't the coolest dude at the gas station. After filling up, I left my passenger in the vehicle while I headed inside to use the men's room. While I was inside, my passenger decided to get something out of the back. Because I was out of range with the key fob in my pocket, when she opened her door, the anti-theft alarm went off, causing a scene for the 3 to 5 minutes I was away — an eternity in alarm-blaring time — while my passenger had to sit there and suffer the trauma of 1,000 tiny eye daggers. Upon my return, I did what anyone would have in my situation, I said loud enough for everyone to hear: "What'd you do?"

Smart ForTwo Tops List of Most Embarrassing Cars

Although we felt very alone in the moment, we really weren't. Not even close. In fact, our gaffe was No. 9 of 17 on's list of the most common driving embarrassments. Of the 2,000 drivers surveyed earlier this year (half men, half women), 22 percent admitted to the following mistake: "Accidentally started your car's panic alarm and couldn't turn it off quickly." Like safety, there is dignity in numbers.

The most common driving foul up, according to the study, is forgetting where you parked, to which more than half of survey respondents copped. The least common was getting in a car and realizing it's not yours, a goof reported by only 8 percent. More than 90 percent owned up to at least one, while nearly 5 percent admitted to 10 or more.

While not the most common, the most embarrassing mistake for drivers age 25 to 54 is going the wrong way on a one-way street; for drivers age 55 to 64 it's locking their keys in the car; and for age 65 or older, it's driving away from the gas pump with the nozzle still in the car. The most feared mistake is "almost hitting another person," listed by nearly a quarter of those surveyed.

Below is the whole list of driving duhhh! moments. How many have you committed? Help bring comfort to your fellow motorists and tell us about it in the comments section.

1. Forgot where they parked: 52 percent (men: 44 percent; women: 59 percent)

2. Drove over a curb in a parking lot: 43 percent (men: 35 percent; women: 51 percent)

3. Locked keys in the car: 37 percent (men: 34 percent; women: 41 percent)

4. Gone the wrong way down a one-way street: 34 percent (men: 30 percent; women: 38 percent)

5. Driven away with something on the roof, such as coffee or a purse: 31 percent (men: 28 percent; women: 34 percent)

6. Tried to open a car door and realized it wasn't your car: 29 percent (men: 24 percent; women: 34 percent)

7. Couldn't back out of a parking spot because other cars or objects were too close: 27 percent (men: 21 percent; women: 33 percent)

8. Dropped your money or food at a drive-through window: 26 percent (men: 23 percent; women: 28 percent)

9. Accidentally started your car's panic alarm and couldn't turn it off quickly: 22 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 26 percent)

10. Lost toll ticket at the payment booth: 18 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 17 percent)

11. Couldn't get out of a roundabout and kept driving in circles: 13 percent (men: 12 percent; women: 13 percent)

12. Gotten pulled over and didn't have license, registration and/or insurance: 11 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 11 percent)

13. Driven away from a gas pump with the nozzle still in your tank: 11 percent (men: 14 percent; women: 7 percent)

14. Not able to work key remote to get into your car: 9 percent (men: 10 percent; women: 8 percent)

15. Almost hit a person: 9 percent (men: 8 percent; women: 9 percent)

16. Forgot a passenger and had to go back: 8 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 6 percent)

17. Gotten in a car and realized it wasn't your car: 8 percent (men: 7 percent; women: 8 percent)

Cameron Whitman/iStock/Thinkstock


Gary Oakley

I purchased a used 66 XKE (easily the most beautiful car in the world) After driving the owner to the bank for a check we returned to his home. After letting him out of the car. I put it into reverse and Nothing Happened. I panicked, started yelling. He calmly came over and told me to turn the car on. I had turned the engine off, but the electric fans were still running.


Monique Durant

Probably like most people, I have experiences at least 50% of these, easily. I haven't done numbers 12 - 17, but there's still time. Oh well. One additional thing I've done was to bottom out my 1987 Mazda RX-7 sports car wile driving a dirt driveway at a family event. Everyone saw, including one or two who are in perpetual disapproval of everyone.

On my way home from work one friday evening, a car in front of me had an accident. I stopped to help and called 911 to report it. Soon after, a police cruiser showed up and I asked if he wanted me to help put out flares, so he gets out and grabs a handful from the trunk and gives them to me.

I put up flares and ask if the officer needs me anymore, and then I notice his car slowly backing up across the highway, flashing lights and all, stopping traffic.

I ask the officer, "Who's in your car??" and he looks at me in total disbelief, and then at his car slowly backing up the hill. We chased the car and caught it just before it backed into the hillside on the other side of the road.

The officer had left his car in reverse the whole time, but because it was on an incline, it took a while for it to creep backwards and up the hill. If the emergency lights hadn't been flashing, I'm sure it would have caused another accident!


"There is no such thing as a foolproof system. Someone will make a better fool, tomorrow." @LoneWolffe

I think these percentages are low. I've experienced at least half of them.

Diana Whitney

I rented a PT Cruiser once at an airport rental, anxious to see how they would be to drive (they were pretty new to the market). As I started to leave the parking lot, I wanted to roll down the window. The attendant must have recognized my expression and came running over. The button for the windows was atop the console and I had been scratching all around the door, trying to find it. duh!


When I bought my first nice car, an Audi A4 Quattro, the "certified used" inspection hadn't yet been done, but they let me drive it home for the weekend after signing paperwork requiring that I bring it in the next Monday for the inspection. Leaving a friend's house the next day, I looked in my rearview mirror saw I had plenty of room to clear the gardening company pickup behind me, backed up and suddenly felt an impact... I'd not seen the very low flatbed trailer hitched to the truck.

I delivered the car for inspection as promised, saying nothing, and because they couldn't certify the car with a hole in the bumpter, they fixed and repainted it without a word.


Here is a good one...
Stopped the car in a parking spot, pulled the parking brake.
Let go of the clutch pedal while forgetting the car is still in gear...


I once parked a rental car at a large shopping mall then couldn't find it after shopping.
The license number on keypad was wronged there was no alarm button to help find the vehicle.
I just went back to the mall, had dinner and waited for the other cars to go away.


I appeared INSANE:

As I pulled in to the parking lot of my apartment I realized I hadn't checked on whether my aunt (who lives down the road) had shut her garage before leaving for vacation (which I promised to do because she called me mid-day, paranoid.) So without even turning my car off I went and checked and was home within 5 mins. As I got back home my aunt called and asked me to go in to her house, turn off the furnace, and return home. I ended up having to pull back in to my parking lot 3 TIMES in about 10 minutes because of all this. What makes it embarrassing? A worker had been on a ladder observing me, and as I got out of my car for about the third time he stared at me as though I was insane and horribly stupid. I didn't think to explain myself, that my aunt lived just down the road, I just walked by. It was so awkward and I think I heard him talk bout me to his co-worker.

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