I started looking for driving instructors in November 2016 when I was 20, and I officially started my lessons in December of the same year. I chose to do my driving lessons back at home when I was at university. I was home every weekend anyway, so why not!
Getting behind the wheel
My first driving lesson was so nerve-wracking! Yet as nervous as I was, I was really eager to learn and know how to drive. At this point, I didn’t realise how much technical jargon my instructor was going to throw my way. It seemed to all go over my head, and I lost concentration completely – not ideal! Once concentration came back, my instructor was allowing me to drive around the estate and I felt like I was really getting the hang of it. Although being 20 isn’t the youngest age you can drive, I was the first one out of my friends to start to learn. Needless to say, their need for unlimited road trips added a lot of pressure to pass as soon as possible.
I continued my lessons, every weekend back from uni. It was all going really well, but it didn’t seem like I was progressing much. It then got to a point where it seemed to go rapidly downhill. About 30 lessons into my learning journey and I was making silly mistakes behind the wheel and losing concentration just as I had in the first ever one.
Pushing back my driving test
My test was booked in for the 24th October 2017 which was approaching fast! I decided to help myself out, and buy a car! My Fiat 500 was going to help me pass my test. I purchased Learner Driver Insurance and went out driving with family to cram in as much practice as I could before test day. This helped, and the next time my driving lesson came along, my instructor could see how much I had improved! Unfortunately, the hard work just wasn’t paying off as quickly as it could have, as my instructor said he didn’t think I was ready for the fast approaching test day and suggested I push it back to January.
I really wanted to pass as soon as possible. I had my own car so I was eager to take that for a spin by myself. As well as that, my friends were all itching to hit up the local McDonald’s and I was the only one even close to passing so all the pressure was on, but my instructor was right. I wasn’t ready to take my test – so I took my instructors advice and rescheduled my test for 3 months later.
Test day arrived
After the extra 3 months of driving practice, both with my instructor and outside of my lessons, test day arrived! I felt that I had more practice in my own car, so I decided to take my test in that. My examiner was lovely – I followed the sat nav, did the bay park and independent drive all without any issues. When we pulled back up to the test centre, I couldn’t believe it when he said I had passed – I cried with happiness!
My first trip with friends
One of the first calls I made after passing was to my friends, who also couldn’t believe I’d done it! They suggested we go straight to McDonald’s and I agreed (I couldn’t leave them waiting any longer). After picking them all up and heading towards our favourite fast food chain, I couldn’t believe how distracting it was having other people in the car. Let’s face it, Fiat 500s aren’t the biggest cars in the world, so having 3 extra people in it was tight. I stalled quite a few times on that trip but made it back without any major issues.
No more P plates
I passed my test 8 months ago, and I can certainly tell that my confidence and skill has come on a lot in that time, but I still find having people in my car quite distracting. This has meant me and my friends haven’t been on as many road trips as they may have liked. Don’t worry – they’re still getting their Chicken Nugget fix – I’m just going to pick it up without them!