Sunday, 13 November 2016

learning to drive: my experience

I haven’t written a blog post in 5ever but to be honest it’s just because there hasn’t really been anything to write about? I’m just a super boring person okay.

On the 6th November last year I had my first driving lesson and on the 31st October this year I passed my driving test! I still can’t believe it! (I also learnt and passed in an automatic car as I cannot work gears for the life of me).

Learning to drive is definitely the hardest, most challenging and stressful thing I have ever done in my life. This will probably sound a bit over dramatic to a lot of people but I honestly found it to be such a traumatic process. For almost an entire year I dreaded my driving lessons every Thursday and as you can probably guess, driving didn't come naturally to me. I thought the lessons would get less scary as I improved.. oh how wrong I was. In fact I was still super nervous for my last lesson.

There was a few weeks in a row about half way through my ‘learning process’ where I had some awful lessons. Everything seemed to go wrong. I cried after my lessons and seriously considered giving up. I pushed through though. Partly because I wanted to be able to drive more than anything but also because I’d spent way too much money by this point (£55 a week – very painful and I don’t even want to know how much I spent in total).

So I carried on which I’m actually really proud of myself for. Weeks went by where I felt like I made no progress at all but eventually everything kind of clicked. My driving instructor asked me if I wanted to get my practical test booked and I was just like ???????. By this point I kind of had it in my head that I wouldn’t ever get there but the time did come! I guess I’m just writing this to say that if you’re SUPER nervous about learning to drive or you’re getting disheartened by having weeks of lessons and not feeling like you’re making any progress, then don’t give up! Because seriously, if I can do it than anyone can – I kind of hate this phrase but it works perfectly in this case because I honestly started out as being the worst, most nervy driver ever.

I passed my driving test on the second attempt and I’m not going to lie, the two tests were the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. In fact I was so nervous that I kind of became beyond nervous and being in the test situation felt so? Surreal? I took some anxiety medication before both tests which helped a lot. I obviously still felt extremely nervous but the medication really helped to control my shaking. I am actually really good at working under pressure so once the first test started, everything seemed to go smoothly and I felt like I drove a lot better than in my lessons. I’m bad for relying too much on other people but obviously the examinors can’t tell you anything so I actually think that’s what made me drive a lot better. Unfortunately I failed my first test for driving too slowly on one road. An extremely annoying way to fail and ironically I think I drove too slowly because I was so overwhelmed by the fact that everything seemed to actually be going well.

I was super upset when I failed.. even though I thought I would fail (yes I’m a very pessimistic person). I found the failure thing difficult to cope with because I’d really tried so hard and yet it hadnt paid off. I got my second test booked for 3 weeks later and one lesson booked for before the test. That last driving lesson did not go well at all. In fact I basically messed up every manoever (except turn in the road) which knocked my confidence even more and I pretty much didn’t even consider that I would pass.

The test day came around and this time I had the most lovely examinor (the first one was okay but seemed a bit off and moody). He was really reassuring and that helped a lot, even though I still had no confidence in passing L O L. Again everything seemed to go smoothly except for when I thought i'd messed up on a roundabout and convinced myself I'd failed. The manoever I got was the reverse round a corner – my nightmare as I’d completely messed this up on my lesson before. I was kind of annoyed when he asked me to do it because I was just thinking, I’ve already failed so why are you asking me to do the most difficult manoever?! I ended up taking so much time over it because I really didn’t want to do it wrong.. and I didn’t!. 

When I eventually got back to the test centre I was already feeling pretty meh because I wasn’t looking forward to telling everyone I’d failed again. Then the examiner told me I had passed.

And I was just like, "WHAT?!

You know on X Factor when someone gets through to the next round and they’re like hysterical and crying and jumping up and down – that was me.

I gave my instructor a hug and the examinor was just sat laughing at me. It was just such an amazing feeling and I still get a little buzz when I think about it now. I’d never thought the day would come and I’m still finding it surreal that I’m now allowed to drive on my own! Best day ever.

Since I already had a car that I’d been practising in, I sorted out my insurance ASAP (another major challenge as insurance is ridiculously expensive) and I was off! I was super nervous about my first drive alone but literally after about a minute of driving it felt so normal and fun and just so EASY. Like ridiculously easier when theres no one watching and judging everything you do. The freedom of knowing I can go where I want and whenever I want is so cool. What a time to be alive.

Now to start saving for my Audi R8.