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Preparing to drive
Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

February 16, 2018

Learning to drive Young driver stories 6 min read

As the new year rolls around, more and more new drivers are starting to roll up, adorned by learner plates and with evident nerves behind the wheel. Those of you in Sixth Form or College know what I’m talking about; the dawn of driving has arrived. Friends all around you are gearing up, preparing themselves to take on the challenge and master these machines, myself being one of them. Whilst the elders of the year group are already learning, or have even passed their driving test, I admittedly feel slightly envious of their earlier expedition into the world behind the wheel. Personally, the idea of getting into the driving seat has roused in me an unexpected keenness, that I wish I could also channel into my A levels. But unfortunately, any mention of Shakespeare tends to send me into a deep pit of procrastination. Regardless, I am here to share how I have been preparing for my driving journey, and hopefully inspire you to be more proactive in the build-up to your belated coming-of-driving-age birthday.

Eager Beaver or Lazy Llama

As with anything, there are two types of people when it comes to preparing for driving: those of us who leave everything to the last minute, and those of us who have everything booked and planned months in advance. As mentioned previously, I am quite clearly the latter. I have been planning my own driving journey at least from the age of 16, counting down the days until I could apply for the first exciting step in the process: the provisional license. I would recommend applying for this as soon as you are able (which is actually before you’re 17!) to avoid having to wait around for it to arrive as, without it, you can’t attend any driving lessons. Applying is easy and only takes up a few minutes of your life, a small exchange for a lifetime of driving. So, just do it. But make sure you don’t hurry your photo selection; trust me, nobody wants an embarrassing license picture.

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Tackling the Tricky Theory

Once your provisional license has arrived, you are then eligible to book your theory test. Myself identifying as an eager semiaquatic-rodent, booked my theory test the minute the envelope containing my license hit the mat under my letterbox. Booking your theory test is extremely straightforward and quick; in minutes I had a slot booked for the week after my 17th birthday (I told you I was keen). Leading up to this, it is imperative that you revise for the test, as no one wants to fork out extra cash for a re-sit upon failure. In my preparation, I have downloaded as many different revision apps as my phone’s storage will allow, as well as attempting mock tests and revision online. Whilst revising seems time-consuming, the goal of being able to drive is well worth a few evenings reading the Highway Code. So, just do it. For me, I need to pass first time, else my elder brother will rub in my face that he’s better than me (he passed both his theory and practical first time- what a show off). Again, I just wish I held the same revision motivation for my exams, then maybe my grades would rev up a few marks.

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The Hunt for Lessons

As mentioned before, this is the time of year when everyone turning 17 tends to get their behinds in gear and begin to pursue lessons. Once carefully researching instructors or driving schools, booking sessions as soon as possible is essential, as leaving it until the last minute will likely result in disappointment or very irregular lessons. Personally, I spent a fair amount of time deciding on instructors- mainly due to the pickiness of my mother as, if she ‘didn’t like the look of them’ they were off the list. I decided that I wanted to learn as quickly as I could (I warned you I am eager) and settled on a semi-intensive driving course. I recommend researching different paths to the goal of a full license, as some schools or instructors may offer packages or courses that seem well-suited to your personal learning style. I contacted my chosen instructor (according to my mum he ‘has a kind face’) well in advance, and managed to request frequent lessons with him for around two months to complete the course. Therefore, to avoid your ‘kind-faced’ instructors being already booked up, try to arrange blocks of lessons prior to when you want to begin driving. Don’t make excuses or put it off until the week beforehand: just do it.

With my theory test and first driving lesson approaching in the breaking week, I am extremely excited and unsurprisingly not too nervous about starting my journey; I think my keenness to learn has just overtaken any possible nerves and I’m just determined to master the art of being behind the wheel. Hopefully, my proactive approach may encourage some of you slothful learners to consider taking those first steps to driving a car. And for those of you who are utterly impatient like me, know that you are not alone in your potentially slightly excessive planning in preparation for your first driving experience. Regardless, I wish you all the best behind the wheel and hope that your first steps to getting into the driving seat are safe, fun and stress-free. But remember, don’t be a lazy Llama, and in the wise words of Shia Labeouf: ‘Just do it!’

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We wish Kimberley all the luck with her upcoming theory test and first driving lesson, and we can’t wait to continue the driving journey with her! Good luck, Kimberley!

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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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