My Experience of Learning to Drive

I had quite an up and down experience learning to drive, I had two different instructors and it took me a hella long time but I got there in the end. I thought I’d share my experience with you, including the reality of driving after you’ve passed your test.

My Car

I had my first driving lesson on my 17th birthday, I was literally itching to start I could not wait and thought why not take the first opportunity? But I want to speak about something that happened a little before that. I bought my first car at the end of June, a couple of months before I turned 17 and could start my lessons. This was something that seemed to be an issue for quite a few people however I fell in love with the car, the price was perfect and I didn’t want to leave it and not be able to find one like it. Buying a car before I started my lessons put a lot of pressure on me, I felt like I needed to do my lessons as quickly as possible because I had my car sat on the front waiting for me.

This is my car. It’s a Fiat 500 Sport called Florence. She’s very nippy and is a perfect first car however I would love something a little bigger just for the ease of it. I sometimes struggle squeezing myself and all of my shopping into her. She’s a dream though and I’m so grateful to have her.

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My Driving Lessons

Anyway, back to my lessons. I feel like after everyone’s first driving lesson they always say ‘It isn’t for me’ and I definitely did. It was 2 hours of hell, I sat in that car thinking ‘what was I even thinking’. My instructor was not my kind of person, his sense of humour wasn’t very nice, he didn’t take his sunglasses off the whole time and I got the impression that he was looking down on me the whole time. I just felt uncomfortable, awkward and like a failure. I expected to sit there on my first lesson and take to it like a duck to water so when I didn’t it was shock.

That week I had three lessons, six hours all in all. I just didn’t seem to improve and my disliking for my instructor just got increasingly worse. My instructor had a very short temper which paired with my shocking inability to do anything right, was not a good mix. I felt like a complete failure after every lesson, I was reduced down to a mouse every time that I sat in the car. I dreaded every time I’d see that Corsa pull up on my front.

It was getting closer to Christmas when I decided I couldn’t put up with it anymore. You should never be mistreated by anyone, you do not deserve to be put down by anyone. I realised this after I came home and burst into tears following a lesson where I’d be bellowed at for not taking an opportunity to leave an exit. That was the moment when I realised that I should not have been treated like that, I deserved to be respected. After 30 excruciating hours of lessons I had had enough.

I jumped straight into lessons with another instructor. He was so lovely, patient and friendly. I literally had no idea my driving lessons could have been so easy and enjoyable. There was a few weeks of adjustment to the new car I was learning in but I soon took to it.

I still had to have quite a lot more lessons. I was literally itching to book my test, I felt so ready but I knew deep down that I really wasn’t. I still made very silly mistakes. On one of my mock tests I made two dangerous faults. I was nowhere up to the level that I needed to be but I persevered, although I still continued to misjudge gaps and go into panic mode every time I went into reverse. When my instructor told me to book my test I literally could not have been happier.

Theory Test

To take your driving test you need to pass your theory test. I did my theory test when I was being taught by my first instructor. I’d consider myself fairly clever (cringed typing that) so ridiculously assumed that I’d be okay with the test. I trust my memory so thought I’d be fine. I still did a stupid amount of revision, I used a hella lot of apps and read the AA books.

I failed the first time. I do not deal with failure well whatsoever. I passed on the multiple choice (48/50) but failed on the hazard perception by 2. Nobody fails on the hazard perception, but I did. I literally don’t even know how I did it, my instructor said it was near enough impossible. Well it clearly wasn’t.

Anyway, I pieced together my pride and rebooked. I passed the second time-thank God!

My main tips for anyone sitting their theory is to:
-Use apps! They are so handy for revising on the go, I used to do a mock test walking to college. It’s such a great way to fit in revision.
-Mock Tests. I went through a spell of just researching individual questions/scenarios but it is so much more efficient to do mock tests. They help you to get a jist of your strengths and weaknesses but to also get used to the format of the test
-Don’t Worry! I know it is so easy to type that but really do not worry, take a deep breath, take your time and really think through your answers.

Driving Test

My driving test was on the day of my first A-Level exam. It was my anxiety’s nightmare. It was also one of the hottest days of the year as well which did not help, every time I opened the window my hair blinded me.

The lesson before my test was dreadful, like horrific. I took the wrong exit on a roundabout, stalled numerous times and my instructor hit me with ‘We’ve never done emergency stops have we?’ 5 minutes before the end. I literally debated leaving there and then, I thought I had no chance of getting anywhere near passing.

Thankfully I passed- woo yeah! My test went amazing although I was a nervous wreck the entire time. I’m well aware how disgusting this is but my back was stuck to the seat with sweat- a mix of the heat and nerves! I had three minors-one for going into 3rd gear rather than 5, one for misjudging a gap and one for doing a turn in the road in 5 rather than 3 points. I literally couldn’t believed I’d passed, I cried all the way home in shock. Because I didn’t prepare myself for failure with my theory I did with my driving test, I was ready to be told I’d failed. So I can’t tell you what it felt to be told I’d passed.

My main tips for anyone preparing for their driving test-
Be Patient, it is so frustrating building up to it but literally just ride out the wait to make sure you are fully prepared and ready.
-Keep yourself busy on the day, I literally cannot recommend this enough. Don’t sit thinking about your test on the day of it, try and take your mind off of it so you can relax and not get too worked up.
-Pretend the examiner is your instructor, get as comfortable as you can with them and just pretend they’re your instructor or not there at all.
-Leading on from the last one, don’t do anything you wouldn’t have done with your instructor, do as you would with them.
-Be confident!!!! Sit in the car before you start knowing you deserve to pass, you’ve worked so blooming hard up to this point and now is your time to shine, to show the examiner how well you can drive!!

Driving After I’d Passed

Again I mistakingly assumed I’d go from driving with my instructor in his car to driving on my own in my little car perfectly. Oh how I was wrong. My engine is significantly smaller than the car I learnt in, which meant I stalled SO MUCH. Like a ridiculous amount. I struggled with getting used to my car but I got used to it eventually.

I made a huge error about a month after I’d passed. I was driving home from my sister’s house in Billinge when my car just seemed to start slowing down, I literally went into meltdown. I put my hazards on and pulled over when I realised I’d left my handbrake on.

My cars taken a couple more bumps after that though. The day before my birthday somebody opened their door into my car, taking the paint off of it and dinting it. Brilliant. Then only a few weeks ago I took my wing mirror off- it was pitch black and I completely misjudged the gap(recurring theme?).

I think I’m a good driver on the whole though, not the best but not the worst. Since starting university I’ve got used to driving long distances (about an hour a day), I quite enjoy it actually. I would like a new car though, hopefully something bigger and less pale so it doesn’t show up all the dirt.

Thank you so much for reading, I’m sorry it’s a more chatty, long post, I do really enjoy writing them. I hope you’ve enjoyed the regular posts this week, there’s just one more to go!

My social media:

Twitter: @molliewesthead

Instagram: @molliewesthead

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/MollieWestheadx/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/28406199-mollie-westhead

8 Comments

  1. I lost count of the number of driving instructors I had. I only booked lessons when I could afford them, so there were a few long breaks in between. I wish I’d done it one go, it would have been a lot cheaper!

    Liked by 1 person

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