So, a year ago yesterday, on the 31st of July, I passed my driving test. It’s been the quickest year of my life so far, so to think I’ve been on the roads alone with my full license for a whole year is pretty crazy.
I thought I would take the opportunity to share my thoughts about my first year of driving, as well as some goals that I’d like to achieve in the future. I also thought I’d try and give a little bit of advice to anyone that’s thinking about learning to drive or anyone that’s freshly passed their test; I know a lot of people get nervous about driving, and don’t worry, sometimes I still do – it’s completely normal.
My first year of driving has all in all been positive. Of course I do have my bad days where all I want to do is get home, but that’s totally normal (I think). It feels good to finally be a part of the driving clique. Days are gone where I have to ask for lifts constantly; the freedom and independence is great. I can pop up the shop, go out to see my friends or boyfriend, to uni, etc, whenever I want. I also finally understand the little things that drivers find both satisfying and frustrating, which were things that as a passenger, prior to learning to drive, I didn’t often notice. Things like getting stuck at all of the red traffic lights and having to dawdle along behind someone doing 20 in a 30 zone are so annoying, whilst parking your car perfectly on the first go (which is pretty rare for me) and gliding through all of the green traffic lights, especially when you’re running a bit late, is the best feeling.
My confidence has slowly built up over the past year, driving a car feels like second nature, but I still get a bit nervous about driving around places I’m not familiar with or particularly busy places, as well as long haul driving. So for this year I really want to try and improve my sense of direction and become more familiar with driving around places a little further out than my hometown.
I’ve still never been on a motorway alone, which some of you may find surprising, but this is something I want to try. My hometown isn’t particularly near any motorways and I don’t need to travel anywhere that I normally would day to day on a motorway, so it’s not like I have completely avoided them. When Aaron is at uni, I get the coach down to see him instead of driving, as the thought of driving on my own for so long scares me and I don’t really know exactly where I’m going either. To be able to drive to see Aaron would just be a dream, as I could visit him whenever I wanted and wouldn’t have to rely on a coach that only departs once a day.
Another thing I would really like to improve is my parking. I always manage to park too far over to one side in a bay, it’s so annoying and embarrassing. I’d love to be able to drive in a space and nail it on the first time, every time.
For people who are nervous about starting to drive, you’re not alone. Going out on the roads is scary for the first few times and I did get anxious about it. But learning to drive was the best decision I ever made, and there’s no way I could ever have not stuck with it. It’s given me the independence and confidence I needed and wanted! My advice to you is to take it slowly, and maybe tell your instructor that you’re a little nervous so they know to put you a bit more at ease. You’re not going to get it right the first time every time and your instructor will always help you if you somehow find yourself in a tough situation.
And for people that have freshly passed their tests, first off congratulations! If you’re feeling a little apprehensive, try driving around your local area a few times on your own, as this is an area you will be very familiar with and you’ll feel more at ease. I remember my first trip out on my own was only around the block; it was the most strange but most amazing feeling. Just remember you passed your test, so you’re ready and you can do it!
Do you drive, and if so, what has your experience been like? Or are you learning or thinking of learning to drive? How do you feel about it?