Driving was the first task on my mind the minute I hit my 17th birthday, but the excitement of getting behind the wheel and having my independence started long before that. I’ll turn 17, pass my test and have endless freedom! Only it’s not always that easy, is it? For me – it took 5 theory test attempts and 4 practical attempts before I got that magic pass! And it may have taken a lot of hard work, time and money to get there – but the freedom I have now was worth all of it!
Driving test take 4… and action!
Ah yes, the driving test! Also known as, the longest 40 minutes of my life (especially when I’d already tried it 3 times!). This test in particular I felt had gone well – but I thought that about the ones before, too – so I guess you never can tell (or at least I can’t). I pulled back into the test centre and parked up as I had before, and just like every other time – you could cut the tension with a knife. It almost felt like normal that I would expect bad news. Then the examiner turned to me and said I had passed. PASSED?! I’ve only gone and finally done it! We sorted all the paperwork out and I honestly don’t think I have ever been so happy in my life. When I got back home, I tried to pull the whole ‘I have failed’ card on my family. Unfortunately, the only thing that did fail was that lie because I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face!
Road trip – take 1!
After what felt like so many attempts at taking my test, I had finally passed and that meant I could drive my own car – on my own!
My dad helped me sort the insurance, gave me the ‘safety talk’ that all parents do and just like that, I was set! But the question now was, where do I go?! I called my best friend to share the good news! She was thrilled – all those road trips we had planned could become a reality, and what better time to start than right away? I set off on the 11-mile journey to her house!
Enter panic stations
I don’t think I will ever forget that journey or the feeling I had. It was odd but awesome! After picking up my friend, we decided to go for a little spin, just a short way from her house. It was all going smoothly until the way back I got lost! LOST! IN WOLVERHAMPTON on one my first drive! The comedic value in getting lost on my first trip as a qualified driver quickly got a bit scary. The roundabouts started getting bigger, and exits came up a lot quicker. We just decided to stay in the lane I was in, and just keep going (I wasn’t exactly in a position to do a 3 point turn!)
A couple of miles later, and the panic of this soon turned back into excitement. I knew how to drive a car safely – and this was real driving! Our journey got even more exciting when we arrived at Wolver Hampton ring road! As complicated as it was to deal with, it was something I recognised so I wasn’t as lost anymore! I had only been here as a passenger (and vowed I’d never drive on it myself) but here I was! I think at this point my friend was wishing she had taken the bus, and part of me wished I had too! However, after a few scary moments – we made it out, and were back on route!
Confidence is key
Apart from road trips that end up with me having no idea where I am, driving has actually helped me so much. I have gained SO much freedom, and I’m now able to help out friends and family with lifts and trips. I also now have a broader access to jobs in my area, because I can get further out. Do you know how many places aren’t on public bus routes?!
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still not the most comfortable and confident person behind the wheel, but I’m definitely getting there. I still have moments when parking becomes a nightmare, and I crack under the pressure of other impatient drivers – but I am a lot braver and I’m learning to deal with all sorts! With that being said – there is no way I’m going back to the ring road any time soon!
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