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Private practice - the first session

Brogan Lawrence profile

Brogan Lawrence

December 18, 2019

Learning to drive Young driver stories 4 min read

The time has come to begin practising outside of my driving lessons!

My mum (reluctantly) agreed to have some private practice in her car. I don’t know why she initially resisted the idea, to be honest – was it that she was worried about her safety? Or that her car might be at risk? Anyway, the time came, and I felt very confident, especially after I had an actual lesson that morning. I was warmed up. I had been driving well (my instructors’ words not mine) and was making good progress. 

My mum drove to Tesco so we could buy some L plates. As soon as they were on, we were ready to go. She reversed out her car park space and then I said very confidently ‘I’ll take it from here’. We switched seats and I got comfy and ready. First of all, I couldn’t turn the car on. I was used to turning a set of keys rather than pressing a button. Once the engine finally got going, I thought I was all good – and the rest would be plain sailing a chance to show my skills. 

WRONG

For some strange reason, everything I had learnt seemed to have gone out the window. I couldn’t even find the biting point (perhaps the most basic thing in driving). My mum denies it but I am sure her clutch jumps up much quicker than the car I am learning to drive in. Another thing that confused me was that I was used to seeing a digital display showing my speed, but mums car was different; it was analogue so that took time to get used to. I mentioned before that we were in a car park so while all this was happening cars were queuing up behind us. What made the situation far worse was that I could hear cars beeping their horns behind us. I couldn’t handle the stress, so I said to my mum for us to switch back and she then took control. I have no clue why on earth I thought it would be a good idea for me to start driving in a car park. I very naively assumed all cars were very similar in how they operated. Not the case.

Mum drove us to a much quieter road near where I live. I then took control and after a bit of coaching and doing it a couple of times I finally got the hang of her car. We actually had a very nice drive around a few Fenland villages near where I live. I say a ‘nice drive’ but there were still a few scary moments and some ‘hard to see’ speed bumps along the way. My mum found the ordeal a little stressful at times – which I guess is understandable as it is her car we were in. There were some screams of ‘slow down’. And ‘Brogan look out’. And once or twice the colour in her cheeks may have drained. 

Eventually, we got back home safely, and she could breathe normally again. To my surprise, she agreed to future private practice sessions (she did say after one or two more actual lessons though). After I pass my driving test, I will have to drive in different cars so the fact my mum’s car was different shouldn’t have been as big of a challenge as it was perhaps. I do feel like as I drive more and more, I will improve and get better so it shouldn’t be an issue in the future. Hopefully. I told my dad about the ‘Mum’ lesson and he laughed. He also said how relieved he was that his car is an automatic – meaning its only Mums car that I can practice in. 

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Brogan Lawrence profile

By Brogan Lawrence

'My name’s Brogan and I’m 18. I was learning how to drive when I ran out of money for lessons last year. Six months later and I am now ready to continue learning again, pass my test and not have to rely on busses, bikes or my ‘taxi-dad’ for lifts everywhere!'  See more posts by Brogan

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