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Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

October 24, 2018

Driving advice Young driver stories 6 min read

Fake fangs, petrifying pumpkins and wicked witches; we’re gearing up for that time of year. Frightful decorations go up, spooky face paint is perfected and everyone prepares themselves for a night of scares and sickening sugar rushes. Trick or treaters adorn the streets, clad in creepy costumes (apart from that one person dressed as a not so fearsome cat) and armed with baskets begging for sweets. True thriller seeks huddle at home with closed curtains, marathoning through Netflix’s horror category whilst hiding behind pillows and blankets in sheer terror. Whether you brave the night as a mummy wrapped in toilet tissue or stay at home watching horror films with friends, Halloween is the perfect holiday to seek out your dose of spooky scares.

But, one time that you don’t want to encounter any fearful frights is whilst you’re driving.

Driving can sometimes make you feel as though you are in your own horror movie: jump scares as other drivers swerve around you, being forced do to the petrifying parallel park and the tiny scream inside you when you check your bank balance after filling up on petrol. Whilst learning to drive does come with many perks, the open road can often be a scary place.

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The dark side of driving

As a child, I was always petrified of the dark. To be honest with you, I think I still am. There’s nothing that makes my blood run colder than the thought of driving in the thick of the night. And with darkness creeping up earlier in the evenings and the days getting shorter, navigating through the night-time has become inevitable. However, whilst it’s easy to feel frightened of driving in the dark, when you actually come around to hitting the road at dusk, you soon realise that it isn’t that bad at all. During the small hours, the roads are usually quieter, and if you stick to well-lit routes you’ll feel just as at ease as you do whilst daytime driving.

Just don’t get me started on driving in the rain.

Making your blood boil

The one thing that never ceases to give me goosebumps is having to share the road with other drivers. Now, this may sound silly at first, but considering the way some people drive, I think that my fear is rightfully justified. Don’t try and tell me that you don’t feel more at ease when the motorways are like a ghost town? Scary speedsters driving like a bat out of hell and frightening ‘kings of the road’ darting about like witches on broomsticks are enough to make anyone’s blood bubble up in anger. Whether it’s tailgating or dangerous overtaking, we’ve all had to face the fearsome terrors that think they own the road. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the grizzly behaviour of other road users, just try to stay calm and don’t let them get under your skin.

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Perilous parking

Although I’ve now passed my driving test and have been driving on a full license for near to six months, I still have hideous nightmares about parking. Trying to squeeze your motor into a bay in a multi-storey car park, or attempting to negotiate a parallel park on a busy road often fills me with fear. Going backwards and forwards at as many different angles as the head-spinning in ‘The Exorcist’; there’s not a ghost of a chance that you’re getting into that parking spot.

Having recently endured my own personal hell of driving into a multi-story car park post, I can thoroughly testify to parking phobia. Driving into a multi-story now feels like entering a high-rise haunted house: you never know what’s just around the corner. Nevertheless, parking is a necessity when driving a car, even if it does make your hairs stand on end and send shivers down your spine. The only way to conquer your parking panic is through practice- just remember to keep calm and take your time.

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A stab in the back

You can be the perfect driver; no fear of challenging conditions; no panic when surrounded by other drivers and you can park perfectly without paranoia. But no matter how fearlessly you drive, everyone has the same skeleton in the closet- the terrifying cost of fuel. As a new driver, having your own car for the first time can be a big bank account shocker, leaving you tearing your hair out at the increasing prices. Although it can feel like a major stab in the back, there’s not a lot that you can do to combat the money thieving demon that is petrol. The only consolation that I can offer you is to join in with the rest of us moaning motorists as we complain about the ludicrous prices.

You never know, a good whinge might make you feel better.

Just whistle past the graveyard

All in all, the best way to combat any driving terrors is to act positively: put on a smile as big as a carved pumpkin and tackle the horrors head on. Many of these petrifying problems are unfortunately unavoidable, and part of learning to drive is learning to let go of your fears and confidently conquer your driving nightmares. Whilst this bold approach will make you brave on the road, I cannot vouch that it will work the same for all of Halloween’s horrors- you’ll still be quivering behind the popcorn bowl.

Happy Halloween!

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Kimberley Dodge profile

By Kimberley Dodge

'For me, driving means freedom. I passed my test a year ago and so I’ve been enjoying getting where I want, when I want. I’m now 18, so having my own car has given me a lot more independence: I no longer have to rely on the taxi of mum and dad!'  See more posts by Kimberley

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