Learning to drive didn’t come easily to me. I took my first lessons when I was 17, armed with my provisional licence and a black Vauxhall Corsa to drive when I passed my test, I did not anticipate how difficult it would be. I lacked focus, concentration and any kind of aptitude for the task at hand. Looking back I feel pretty sorry for my old driving instructor.
He would pick me up from college, for our mutual weekly torture. I would spend an hour driving. During this hour I would regularly miss traffic lights, the sound of my instructor shouting “red light” became par for the course. I’m sure we both enjoyed the rollercoaster style sudden, jolting break as I screeched to a halt having emerged from my daydream for long enough to realise that, yes, red means stop. I rolled backwards attempting hill starts, stalled repeatedly, mixed up the break and accelerator, and regularly ran the car on ‘kangaroo petrol’ (jumpy rather than smooth).
When practising the required manoeuvres I was absolutely useless. Three point turn was usually more of a double digit affair. Reversing around the corner took me onto the other side of the road but my real nemesis was the parallel park. To this day I struggle with this one, but back then I would carefully line up my car, looking out the back window as instructed, struggle with moving slowly, jolt forward and scare the crap out my instructor by nearly taking of the other cars wing mirror, bumper, or back end!
I failed my theory test, unsurprising as my 17 year old logic lead me to believe I could study in the pub. Regardless it was decided I would sit the practical and then resit the theory test afterwards. When the day of the practical test arrived I was nervous but excited by the possibility that I would soon be able to drive my car independently to visit my friends.
During the test I managed to repeat all of my usual errors, and added into the mix driving the wrong way around a roundabout. When it was over I’m not sure who was more relieved, me or the examiner. So nobody was at all surprised when I failed. I was so convinced that I didn’t possess the driving gene that it took me another eight years to build up the courage to try again. Luckily with encouragement from Mr Purple I found a lovely lady instructor, who was known for building the confidence of nervous learners. She was absolutely brilliant and I managed to pass both the theory and practical tests first time.
Now I actually really enjoy driving, and happily drive round the city every day. If you’re a young driver learning to drive it’s worth checking out More Than. They offer a telematics driving score which can lead to rewards and reductions on your policy. They will fit your car with a black box which helps them build up a picture of your driving style. Drive safely by driving smoothly, staying within speed limits, and not braking excessively to qualify for the reduction. Happy driving.