In the UK you can apply for your provisional driver’s licence 2 weeks before you turn 17 years old. This may seem quite young but apparently it’s the perfect time to start the process of learning to drive. Naturally when I turned 17 I started my lessons and 6 months later I passed my test (I’ve been driving for just over a year now). At the time, I was overjoyed, but I had no idea what my feelings to come would be…
My parents have always wanted what’s best for us, and no one in our house is treated any differently from one another, so my sister was given enough money to cover 5 driving lessons for her 17th birthday, I was given the same for my 17th birthday, and in 3 years Paul will get the same. Us learning to drive is very important to them because it means we can be independent and go where we want, when we want to (it also means they also don’t have to drive us around anymore so win-win).
Once I used up all the money I was given for my birthday, I had to start paying for my own lessons with the money I was earning from work. I’m lucky enough to have a part time job and be able to fund this, but I defo felt the financial strain (especially as I was only making £4 an hour at the time).
I had one lesson a week but sometimes my instructor would take weeks off for holidays and other reasons and I had to cancel a few lessons too, which meant that I did about 20 lessons before I was ready to take the test (which I passed first time- thank god!). I hated the feeling I had while waiting for my instructor to pull up to my house and the first 10 minutes of each lesson was full of nerves, but eventually I settled and the remainder of the lesson was fine.
After passing my test it started to sink in that I wouldn’t be driving with a qualified instructor beside me anymore. I wouldn’t have that kinda ‘safety net’ with me and this scared the hell outta me. What if I crash? What if I stall? What if I forget everything I’ve been taught in the last 6 months? These were just some of the thoughts that flew through my mind and they’re real confidence knockers.
I can drive roads I know well just fine. The road to work and the road to my old school are fine. The drive to Pets at Home is a breeze. I can make it to my local shops with barely a worry in my head. Roundabouts. Busy towns. Traffic lights. Unfamiliar roads. These are the things that scare the shit out of me. I overthink them, get flustered and sometimes have a bit of a cry.
I get sooooo anxious when I have to drive somewhere I’m not 100% comfortable with or when I have to drive someone somewhere. I feel like they’re judging me even if said person can’t drive.
Over the past couple of months I’ve started to try and step outta my comfort zone by driving to places that scare me and pushing myself to go into more towns (I always have someone else in the car just in case I get a bit too overwhelmed) and I do feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I overcome one of these challenges.
I’m starting university in a couple of weeks and I will be driving there everyday so I have to learn the road. I’m incredibly nervous and anxious about this as this trip includes a motorway (which I’ve never been on before) and about 12 roundabouts, so to say that I don’t have a lot of confidence is an understatement. Luckily my Dad is happy to help me and take a few trips to the university before I start so that I can learn the way and gain some confidence.
Do you have your driver’s licence? Does driving come easy to you?
Until next time…