Hands up everyone who has failed at least one driving test? Now, I’m presuming most of you raised your hand with a gloomy admittance of defeat (but don’t worry, they say the best drivers don’t pass the first time around). And for those lucky few that are first time succeeders, I’m sure you can still appreciate the nail-biting, nerve-inducing, knuckle-clenching experience that is a driving test for the second time.
One unlucky victim of driving test disappointment is my cousin Megan. Although she has been learning to drive for over a year and is very competent behind the wheel, something about that dagger driving test anxiety renders her incapable of passing her test. Countless attempts and a flurry of frustration later, Megan is still yet to obtain her license. So, I decided to ask her a few questions about her experience and see if she had any advice for individuals experiencing a similar issue to herself.
How did you feel when you first started learning to drive?
Before my first driving lesson, I thought ‘Yeah I’m going to smash this! I’m going to be perfect at driving’ and then after my first lesson this I just thought ‘Nope, I’m awful at driving. This is not my forte at all’. But I carried on trying because I don’t like to just give up. And even though I keep failing my test I’m going to keep on trying, even if I pass when I’m an old-age pensioner.
Why do you think that you keep failing your driving test?
I think that I just get really nervous! And when I get nervous, I seem to mess up massively. For example, during my second test attempt, I was so shaken up and scared right from the very beginning that I ended up driving on the wrong side of the road as I came out of the test centre. So, I instantly failed before the test had even really begun. I had been feeling really sick all morning which probably didn’t help, but I’m putting that down to nerves and a bad night sleep!
What would your advice be to someone who keeps failing their driving test?
Honestly, I would just tell them to take a break from driving tests. When you just keep trying and trying and failing constantly you get yourself so worked up about it, which generally makes it all worse. Maybe even take a break from driving in general and re-evaluate. Have a few lessons here and there and only take the test again when you feel 100% ready. Don’t rush into repetitively rebooking your test after each failure because it’s likely that you need to rebuild some confidence in yourself.
What do you hate most about driving?
Oh, everything! It all just makes me very anxious. Parkways and parking are what I find the most stressful and I hate having to drive very fast. Put me on a 30 mile an hour road and I’m fine but stick me in a car on a motorway and I just… I hate it! The manoeuvre I hate the most is parallel parking, but I’m pretty sure that’s everyone’s least favourite. Unluckily for me, it came up on most of my test attempts which really didn’t ease my nerves.
What do you envy most about not being able to drive?
Not being able to drive means that I have to rely on everyone else to get everywhere. Especially since the bus routes from where I live are terrible- and who wants to catch a smelly bus anyway? If I want to go out somewhere, I can’t really do anything without someone acting as my taxi.
And what’s your plan regarding driving going into the future?
I’m not really sure at the moment! I’ve attempted to pass so many times now that I might just wait until next year before I try again. I’m also thinking about waiting until after I finish university before I start driving again because I don’t really need to drive at the moment. I’m starting university this year so driving won’t really be a necessity for me. But I am going to keep trying! Even if it takes me a little while.
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