Hi! My name is Liam, and I have been driving for 2 years now (as of September 15th) but I will never forget the journey of learning to drive. Through struggles and triumphs – I finally did it! When I turned 17, my parents bought me driving lessons but as I was born in December, they did not want me to begin learning to drive in the winter so I only started in February – and then took 3 attempts to pass my driving test, although I still feel a sense of pride that I can say I started driving when I was 17, I was one of the first of my friendship group to pass.
Test number 1
This honestly went really well, the only thing for me was that I didn’t have my usual instructor or car for the test. What happened was my instructor had another student’s test on at the same time as mine that he already committed to, but someone else from the same company took me instead. Although the cars were the same, the one I was used to was turbocharged and the one I had on my test wasn’t – so a little bit different. The test itself went really well, I had a parallel park manoeuvre which I dreaded but ended up doing really well! On the final 2 minutes of my test, I went around a roundabout where I apparently caused someone to brake which is an automatic fail - I didn’t even realise I’d done it!
Test number 2
I took this test in a different city this time, mainly because I felt the road markings and signs were easier to read here. It was also out of my comfort zone, which I hoped would help me in focusing more! I was so nervous, and I have never been one to suffer from anxiety or become severely nervous about anything but this test really got to me. I remember I had just left the test centre and got to the first roundabout. Unfortunately, it was rush hour so traffic was pretty heavy, to say the least. I was waiting for ages for a gap to go and I was really nervous that I was being too nervous! When I thought I saw a gap, I panicked and floored it, and ended up nearly t-boning someone which caused the examiner to slam on breaks – another instant fail. After I got off of the roundabout I parked up and ended up having a panic attack and calling off the test… lovely isn’t it!
Test number 3
The lucky one! At this point I wasn’t even nervous, I had just accepted my fate whatever it would be. I took this test in the same city as test number 2, and as soon as I got to the roundabout I failed at, my nerves started to kick in. Traffic wasn’t as bad thankfully, but as I was going around the roundabout I was certain I had failed (just overthinking). When my nerves kick in, I talk endlessly, and ended up telling the examiner about my previous driving attempts, to which he said he was surprised that this was my 3rd try as I was driving so well! When I parked up at the end of my test, I couldn’t even look at the examiner but I saw out of the corner of my eye he was shaking his head, and proceeded to say “I am afraid to say that on this occasion… you have passed! You only got 2 minors!” When I saw my instructor walking up to the car, I jumped out and hugged him because I was so excited to have finally passed.
Moral of the story? Never stop believing that you will be able to drive on your own one day. Although it may seem like you have a long journey ahead, it is honestly the most liberating feeling in the world to be able to drive on your own, and now that I have been driving for 2 years, I don’t know what I would do without my license – it has given me so many great opportunities and helps with my career! The only thing I might change about my learning journey is to have started learning in the winter because, in the last bad snowfall that the UK saw, I ended up badly damaging the alloy wheel on my brand new car… but that's a story for another time!