On my 17th birthday, my parents bought me a set of 10 driving lessons. I had my first one on my actual birthday.
It’s scary thinking about learning to drive. I was proper papping my pants, nervous that I’d crash the car or wouldn’t be able to do it.
Driving just seemed SO ADULT. As if someone is actually going to let me operate such potentially dangerous machinery. Oh my gosh.
On my first lesson, the driving instructor picked me up. He took me took a really quiet road and turned the engine off. He spent a long time talking to me about how the car works. He had a book with diagrams that explained the clutch and how to get the biting point. After talking for a while, I sat in the driver seat. I simply got the biting point and drove straight for a bit, then stopped. This is that I practiced on my first lesson.
Tiny steps. That’s all it was.
On the second lesson, he took me to a quiet housing estate. We practiced left turns this time. Left turns are easier than right turns as you only have to check one side of the road is clear.
Every week I was learning something new. Right turns. Traffic lights. Duel carriages. Roundabouts. Hill starts.
I hate roundabouts the most – but just like everything else, we started off with quiet areas then moved into the busiest parts. There were some moments were he had to slam the breaks on for me though because I was like YOLO lolol. I remember one time he yelled at me for speeding up when the light went amber so I didn’t have to stop. YOLO AGAIN.
After a few lessons, my instructor told me I needed to take my theory test.
Theory tests are different now, when I did mine you had to get 30 questions out of 35 right and do a hazard perception test.
I got 29, so failed. I re-booked and passed on the second time. Though I went into full panic mode the night before, stayed up all night, had a meltdown and then couldn’t find the paper part fo my licence. But it all worked out in the end.
Then it was time to book my test. Driving tests are the worst and it took me 4 times to pass mine!
At my first test, the instructor changed his car a week before and I wasn’t comfortable with it. The biting point felt totally different.
On the second test, I got stuck in the wrong lane and failed on that. I felt like a right nob being in the lane to turn right when I wanted to go straight ahead. It was the start of the test, too, so I had to finish it knowing that I’d failed.
On the third test, I thought I did everything perfectly but apparently failed for getting 4 minors on not looking in the mirrors. I DID LOOK IN THE MIRRORS. I over exaggerated everything. I should have passed that time.
Then on the 4 test, I passed!
The next day my Dad took me to look at cars. They had saved some money for me as a kid, a mixture of them putting in some money here and there as well as any birthday/Christmas money I got when I was younger. I was either allowed use it for a car or for university. I opted for the car.
I bought a 1998 white Vauxhall Corsa. I called it Snoil. I loved that car and had it for about 5 years, until I finished university and got a new one. We went through a lot, did Snoil and I.
Someone tried to break into him once, a few years later it happened again and they were successful. His exhaust fell off once and I drove him into a bollard in a Tesco carpark. I didn’t know why I couldn’t reverse, so just kept trying. I couldn’t reverse because the side of the car was against the bollard. Caused a massive dent, did that. But despite our rocky history together, we had some good times too. Driving to the beach, seeing friends, moving to university.
It was sad when I had to get him put into one of those tiny cubes. I wish I could have kept him as a coffee table or something.
I love driving and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
I always encourage people to learn. The younger the better, obviously, but just start as soon as you can.
It’s just easier when you’re younger as you are mostly free after school, so can have your lesson planned in. It get’s harder when you don’t know what your work rota will be like and when you start to get other commitments.
It makes your life so much easier having a car. You can get in and go where you want without having to rely on a bus, train or taxi.
You can go to Tesco and do your shopping without having to worry about how you’re going to get it back home. This means you can transport as many bottles of wine as you need. toto
You can pick your friends up from the airport, you can drop your Mum off at work. You can move house without having to pay £100 for a moving van.
You can get to work quicker. THIS. This is the one.
I’ve worked in Leeds, in Bradford, in Huddersfield and Barnsley. Without having a car, my life would have been impossible. I’d have to take two buses to get to work from where I live now even though it’s just a 15-minute car journey away.
It takes one of the other managers at my work an hour and a half to get to and from work EVERY DAY because he has to use the trains and buses.
That’s a lot of time.
And time is precious, especially when you enter the full-time world of work.
Life is too short to spend it on a bus or train. Think of all the things you could do with an extra hour or so a day!
LEARN TO DRIVE as soon as you are able to. Even if you have no intention of getting a car right away. You can pass your test and then get a car later down the line and take a refresher course if you’re nervous about getting on the road.
Book Learn Pass are currently running a campaign to get more people on the road this summer by encouraging people to share their driving stories.
Can you drive? What’s your thoughts on driving?