I learnt to drive last year and passed my test about 6 months ago. Today I wanted to chat about my experience learning to drive, as I feel like it was a really big part of my life for a while!
I started learning when I was 19, which was a lot later than a lot of my friends. I didn’t want to drive at all when I turned 17. However, as started to need to get to places that required public transport ( I am not a fan of buses or coaches, they can make me feel so anxious!), it became more and more obvious that I needed to learn to drive. So I finally sent away for my provisional license and started my lessons.
I had a really nice driving instructor who never got angry and frustrated if I couldn’t get something right, which made such a difference. One of the main tips I would give would be to find an instructor you like, because it will put you at ease. I had saved up so I could have 2 lessons each week which were all an hour and a half, which worked well for me. I just found it all stressful, specifically roundabouts! At first, my main problem was stalling the car, but I think I got over that pretty quickly. I think the thing I found hard about lessons was to remember the things I did really well – I just couldn’t help but focus on whatever went wrong in the lesson! I cried after about 3 of my lessons at the beginning, which sounds so funny to me now – nothing awful happened, I think I was just overwhelmed! But whenever I had a good lesson, I would feel in the best mood for the rest of the day. It’s ups and downs.
I took my theory and passed first time, with a high mark, which I felt really proud of. I owe that to the driving theory test app – it was so helpful! I think a lot of people assume it is just common sense, which it is, but some of the questions really make you think, so revising using the app made all the difference. I think it cost me around £5, but was definitely worth it. It was handy having the app on my phone, as I just practiced whenever I had a few spare minutes.
My Own Car
I got my car in the July, and passed at the end of September, so there was a few months where I was able to go out in my car with my parents. When I first got it, I really struggled. I have the new version of a Ford KA, which is a petrol car with a small engine. So I went from learning in a more powerful diesel engine to practicing in my little car, which meant I stalled constantly because the clutch and biting point is so different. Literally, the first time I went out in it, I think I stalled 6 times in once place, such a disaster. So I had to practice so much, even just little drives around where I lived to practice pulling out of junctions fast enough. I would say I only got my confidence in my own little car after I passed my test, so don’t worry if you are learning and it feels really strange to drive a different car – you will get there in the end!
My Driving Test
I had my driving test cancelled the week before I was due to take it back in July, with a three month waiting list for the next one. I was absolutely gutted, as I thought I was ready to take my test! But actually looking back now, I think it was fate that the test was cancelled – I don’t think I was really ready. So I took my test at the end of September and my driving test went so smoothly, literally I couldn’t believe it! As I was driving around with the examiner, I was just waiting for a disaster but I was absolutely fine. The maneuver I was given was a turn in the road, which was my favourite one, so I felt so pleased with that. After I passed though, I felt so nervous to drive on the roads! I have a whole blog post for after your test, where I shared my tips and experience on driving around by yourself!
6 Months Later?
Now I love driving. I still like to have someone with my in the car when I go somewhere brand new, for help with directions haha! I think I will always feel a bit nervous when driving to new places, but I have so much more confidence now. I always feel safe in my car, and I just love time to myself in the car, playing my music. So I just wanted to share my experience, as I was convinced I would never enjoy driving and that I would always struggle with my nerves before driving somewhere!
Sorry this has been such a rambly post, so thank you if you made it to the end! Please let me know your experiences with driving as I would love to hear about how you found it!