The first time behind the wheel for me was confusing. My Driving instructor, Jon, explained the basics and the rules of the road – and we set off! Simple in words, difficult in practice.
With my first lesson being nearly 1 year ago, I can just remember the dread of stalling – everyone’s apparent ‘bane of driving’! With Jon’s instruction, however, my stalls in driving lessons were very rare. In addition to this, Jon was very adaptable and understood how I learn. He allowed for me to make mistakes (on the quiet roads!) and practise. With his vast knowledge, he always challenged me and made me think about 3 things:
- What do I want to do in the car?
- How do I do it?
- What is the safest and most practical way to achieve it?
These 3 points were very helpful when transitioning to learn in my mum’s car as well, as hers is a completely different setup – which meant I had to learn twice over!
What I learnt in a year
Over the course of the year, I learnt to drive in a variety of conditions, from showers and downpours to snow and ice. Personally, I love driving in the snow and ice and my mum is probably the main cause of this. Being an experienced Lake District driver, she has experienced many obstacles including sheep on passes! With her know-how and understanding of driving in supposedly ‘extreme’ conditions, I learnt to love them. From the urban street driving, with its tight turns, to rural roads with their ever-ongoing presence.
Like Jon, my Mum allowed me to practice. When we had more time on our hands, we would often stop by in local car parks, practising bay parking and turning circles, find quiet estates with small sharp hill junctions for clutch control, and narrow streets where you must learn to be courteous – something which is an asset to any driver, to know when to go and when to let someone pass.
As my mum says:
“James loves to drive. The further the distance, the more the challenging the weather, the better for him. James just loves the challenge of discovering new places”.
Driving in all conditions
Whilst I love driving in all weather conditions, let’s face it, torrential rain is no one’s cup of tea – is it? The spray back from trucks and lorries and large puddles in the road can mean it quickly becomes a ‘wipers on’, ‘lights on’ workhorse type approach. But to me, this is the beauty of driving. The ever-changing situations you find yourself in, at one moment in glorious sunshine and the next the heaviest downpour of the day. Reacting to each event on its own is what makes driving special. You feel like you can conquer anything (in the least cheesy voice possible).
I can’t wait to go up to Scotland in the summer with my mum, sharing the driving will probably make the journey less of a drag than before. I recently received a phone holder for the car which allows me to use sat-nav and music (I block out the annoying notifications and calls with my phone’s ‘do not disturb’ setting). Music wise, I tend to go for the fast, drum/guitar-based songs such as ‘Ruby’ by Kaiser Chiefs. I can’t deal with the modern computer generated ‘music’! Fortunately, my mum likes the same music as me, at least, that is what she says! Her favourites are ‘Brother’ by Kodaline and more obscurely ‘Goudkoorts’ by El Dorado.
You can see clearly why I love driving! The attitude of my Instructor and Mum allowing mistakes to happen and giving me time to practise, the constant changing conditions of the road and how each different scenario feels, makes driving even more special.
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