Travel Channel’s newest reality show, “America’s Worst Driver” will feature some of the country’s worst motorists, including Carroll, 22, a journalism and communication double major at the university.
She recently competed for the infamous title of “America’s Worst Driver” with passenger and best friend Parker Khouri also of Marblehead, Massachusetts.
“I really don’t think I’m that bad of a driver,” Carroll said. “But, Parker isn’t the first person to tell me otherwise.”
A twist on the traditional reality competition, “America’s Worst Driver” is a reverse competition, with each contestant competing in obstacle and city challenges in order to not be named America’s worst. Making the show more unique, each driver has his or her own personal vehicle on the line. The car of the worst driver in each city will be destroyed before the drivers head into the final episode in Los Angeles, with hopes of winning a new car.
The driver named America’s worst will receive a bicycle.
“I have my white ’99 Volkswagon Jetta with me for the competition, which is really stressful because I absolutely love my car. I call it my Baby Jet-Jet,” Carroll said.
The “Worst Driver” show has previously aired in more than 17 countries and it has been a hit in Canada and England. According to Executive Producer Charlie Parsons, the Travel Channel jumped at the chance to create “America’s Worst Driver.”
“Every city has a personality and is personified by the drivers that take to the streets,” Parsons said. “Everyone knows someone who they feel should be nominated for a show like this, so it is simply relatable.”
The show searches for the worst driver in eight cities across the country, including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, and aims to showcase the local landmarks along with local driving.
“We want to get these bad drivers off the road, but in the most entertaining way – by either crushing or blowing up their cars or having our Robosaurus (car-smashing dinosaur robot) take care of it,” Parsons said.
Carroll and Khouri are one team of four representing Boston as one of the most treacherous cities to drive through.
“Alyssa and Parker had big personalities and lots of energy – dancing and singing all the time – but Alyssa was also a legitimately bad driver who denied it. They were exactly who we were looking for,” Parsons said.
Carroll and Khouri, the youngest team featured on the show, faced numerous obstacles in trying to prove their driving savvy.
“One of my biggest challenges during the competition was that I was constantly taking my hands off the wheel,” Carroll said. “I’m always talking with my hands, dancing and driving with my knees.”
Although Carroll said the dancing-while-driving has always been a distraction for her and Khouri, she believes the show doesn’t glorify bad driving and instead brings attention to common mistakes people make on the road.
“We never drove badly on purpose,” Carroll said. “I almost wish I could say that it was on purpose, but unfortunately we were just being us.”
Each city had a theme for its challenges. For Boston, Carroll said, some of the driving competitions involved transporting copious amounts of clam chowder and being drenched with freezing cold tea.
“Some of the challenges, like driving on the giant teeter-totter, were absolutely terrifying,” Carroll said. “It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but ended up being really hysterical and fun.”
Her favorite challenge was a parking obstacle course set in the middle of Faneuil Hall.
“It’s an area that you are definitely not allowed to ever drive on, so as a Bostonian it was exciting to be able to break the rules and do that.”
So will Carroll and Khouri be named Boston’s or even America’s worst drivers? Tune in and find out March 21 at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel. The first episode of the show aired on March 14 at 10 p.m. That episode was in San Francisco.