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Jack Stodel profile

Jack Stodel

July 6, 2018

Learning to drive 6 min read

I am sure that my experience as a learner driver was filled with more ‘life or death’ experiences than what is normal, leading me to believe that every other road user was trying to kill me. As soon as I stuck those L-Plates on, that was it, people cutting me up on roundabouts, people speeding past me down country lanes, beeping me for going the actual speed limit, it was manic. Whilst I tried to not let other people’s driving affect mine, unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case.

One day, my girlfriend, cousin, sister, mum and I all went to Chessington World of Adventures – where we had a great day enjoying ourselves on all the rides. My mum drove there on the motorway and as our day came to an end, I argued my way into the drivers’ seat so that I could drive home – the benefit of having Learner Driver Insurance on my mum’s car meant I could drive whenever I wanted as long as she was supervising me! Also, this was before learners were allowed on the motorway, but luckily there was a different route I could take.

Now, winding my mum up by badgering her to let me drive before I’d even started the engine probably wasn’t my wisest of moves, as I believe the risen stress levels lead to the journey home being something of an absolute nightmare.

Don’t worry – I’ll drive!

I’d like to think I was a good learner driver. My family and anyone who got in the car with me said so (including my mum), however, this journey, in particular, wasn’t one of my best. I genuinely still don’t know who this journey was actually more stressful for, me or my mother. And when I say stress, I mean – I would compare the stress levels to when your Grandma wishes you a happy birthday and you say “thanks, you too”, then you desperately wish you could get out of a situation. However because I’d convinced my Mum to let me behind the wheel – there was no way I was giving up.


We set off just as the park was closing and queued to get out. While queuing for 30 minutes to move about 100 yards, I’ve never in my life heard the same question repeated so many times. “Jack, are you sure you want to drive home?”

“Yeah, do you know what Mum? I’m actually alright, I mean, we only had a 15-minute debate over it… surely I mentioned once or twice that I’d quite like to drive home?” Now I know she was just looking out for me, but I was determined to get in as much practice as I could.

After the traffic started to move again, we set off towards the South Circular. For anyone that hasn’t driven through London, specifically the South and North Circular, the lanes are a lot thinner than usual. In any case, I was fine and calm, driving well and safely – what could go wrong?

“What could go wrong?” – Famous last words

We came to a junction where cars were joining so I decided to move over to allow them to join the road (I’m a decent human being), and as I did so a car came zooming past in the fast lane.


I said something along the lines of “what on earth is wrong with you Mum?!”

“Oh sorry, I just don’t like not having control of the pedals,” she said, which of course is a good enough reason to give every single person in the car a heart attack, so great job Mum. Aren’t I supposed to be the nervous one!?


Once we exited the South Circular and began driving through London we came to a merger, and the way in which the people around me were driving, started to affect how I was acting behind the wheel.

After holding the revs and finding the bite, to the shock (and somewhat anger) of my mother, I shot off like a bullet from a gun, actually scaring myself a bit in the process! Now, there were quite a few words that I’m not in a position to repeat that then came out of my mother’s mouth, but the way I was driving – I’d say it was deserved. I let the actions of other drivers get the better of me and whilst no accident occurred from this (luckily), it was definitely a lesson learned!

Will somebody just get me home?!

After we’d passed through some areas in London, we went on the North Circular back towards home when a turn off brought us to a roundabout in which you could only either enter the motorway or back in the direction we’d just come in.

“Oh, you’ve missed the turning,” said mum, in a tone which showed she may still be thinking about my erratic driving skills from not so long ago.

Oh cheers, I thought, hadn’t noticed.


A full 360 around the roundabout, shortly lead us to an exit towards some services, and onto a country lane that would lead me, my mum and very patient passengers, back home.

Out of this journey, I gained lots of experience, as I did with every drive whilst I was insured with Marmalades Learner Driver Insurance. They are an amazing company who made it very easy for me and my Mum – all while always making us feel protected – even if my driving skills didn’t always do the same. But hey, we’ve all got to learn – right?

Jack Stodel profile

By Jack Stodel

'My name is Jack and I'm 17 years old. I passed my driving test in early June 2018 and now I've got my own car, I get to enjoy not having to share a car with my mother anymore.'  See more posts by Jack

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