AD – This is a collaborative post

I’m 28, so it’s officially been 10 years since I learnt how to drive, passed my driving test and bought my first (and still only car to date). I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long but I still remember the process and the ups and downs like it was yesterday.

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

I had a pretty long journey with learning how to drive. A journey that is actually still very much happening right now, 10 years later. Like most kids, I started lessons the second I hit 17. They were my birthday present from my parents. However the first driving school and instructor I had did not work out for me. He was rude and shouted at me whenever I got anything wrong.

So I left him and started lessons again a few months later with another instructor who had been highly recommended by girls from my school. He was much nicer, constructive and took things at your own pace. And definitely didn’t shout when you made a mistake.

In the meantime, I had passed my theory test and was coming up to my practical. It took me 3 times to pass. But I did it, I passed a couple of weeks before I turned 18 and then all in the same week, I turned 18 and bought my first car. That week was like the epitome of independence for me.

But only a few years after that, my anxiety disorder started and hit me hard. If you’ve been reading my blog for long enough then you’ll know some stuff about me and my anxiety (if not, I have a whole book where I tell my whole story that you can purchase here!) and driving was one of the main things that I couldn’t do anymore.

For almost a decade, I couldn’t drive. I was too anxious. Even the thought of sitting behind the wheel was enough to get my heart racing. But in the Summer of 2019 when I started anxiety medication and really knuckled down with getting myself better, I started driving again.

I’m still driving now although I still have a long way to go. But building that confidence back up to start driving again has been so hard. Today I want to share some of my tips for learning how to drive – both the practical and the mental:

Make sure you’re 100% happy with your instructor

Driving a car is no joke. It can be dangerous. So the absolute LAST thing you need when you’re a new driver and undoubtedly nervous, is being stuck with an instructor that makes you worried or stressed out. No teacher should make you feel that way.

Remember it’s okay to be nervous

Nerves are so normal when it comes to learning how to drive. Regardless of what age you are when you decide to take lessons. Driving a car for the first time can be a daunting prospect but with the right guidance and instructor, it’s something you can learn to do safely.

Take things at your own pace

When it comes to driving, everyone learns at a different pace. Some pick it up super quickly, others need more time. And neither is right or wrong. Don’t compare yourself to other people you know who might have passed their test quicker or found it easier. Your pace is the right pace.

Don’t break the law

I don’t mean by speeding or not having your seatbelt on. I think those are pretty cut and dry things you shouldn’t be doing when behind the wheel! When you’ve passed your test, if you need to use someone else’s car to get about somewhere, make sure you get cheap temporary car insurance to cover it.

Study for your theory!

I know some questions in the theory test seem utterly ridiculous and common sense. But when it comes to actually taking the test, it can be very easy for brain farts to happen! So make sure you take your theory test as seriously as you will your practical.

Wear comfy clothes

Probably not something you’d have imagined on this list but sitting in a car for hours can get uncomfortable. And if you’re driving, you want to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible so your attention isn’t elsewhere. And don’t forget how important your choice of shoe is too – you’ll want to wear something comfortable but flat.

Try to drop those expectations

Just because you watch Formula 1 religiously doesn’t mean you’re going to jump in a car for the first time and know what to do. Bit of an extreme example but you know what I mean! Drop any expectations about how you might perform or what might happen. Learn as you go along.

Don’t dwell on your mistakes

And speaking of learning as you go along, make sure you don’t dwell on your mistakes. EVERYONE makes mistakes when they learn how to drive. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a learning curve. Assess what happened, try again and move on.

What other tips would you give to people who are learning to drive or have recently passed their test?

56 Comments

  1. These are some really helpful tips. I know I’ll most likely feel nervous when taking the driving lesson. I hope I get to learn how to drive this year and if it doesn’t work out hopefully next year.

  2. Thank you for sharing these useful tips! I’m late to the driving game and was planning to learn this year, but the pandemic put that goal on the backburner. I’ll keep these tips in mind when I eventually learn to drive. Thank you! 😊

  3. These are really helpful tips! I am starting driving lessons next year and I am absolutely terrified, but definitely want to make sure I find the right instructor for me. I don’t think I could handle someone shouting at me for making mistakes! xx

  4. I hated learned to drive and due to an accident on the lesson before my test, chances are I won’t ever get behind the wheel again, it’s just not for me.

  5. Comfy clothes and shoes – genius, I would never have thought of that but you’re so right. It took me five attempts to pass my driving test but I like to think that makes me a better driver now. Completely agree that having the right instructor is crucial – I changed mine 3 times! xx

  6. These tips are brilliant! I’d definitely advise the changing instructors if you’re not happy, I my first 2 shouted at me and made me so nervous I was shaking before the lessons. My 3rd was a woman and so brilliant and patient too.
    And bless you, I’m glad you’ve got back to giving it a go again. I understand the anxiety side of things, my medication has helped so much so I get what you’re feeling. Thanks for sharing this stuff!

  7. These are such helpful tips for learning how to drive, I love how you said about doing things at your own pace, you definitely need to do that when learning to drive, it should never be a rushed process! I took things at my own pace when driving and I don’t regret that x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  8. Great advice. I tried at 18 and then again at 19 with a terrible instructor. Then I started just before I turned 32, having written it off really. Within a few lessons I was ready for my test.

    I honestly think once you’re ready, it just clicks in to place x

  9. Great post! You’ve provided so many great tips and encouragement for those learning to drive. My biggest tip would be not to drive with others your age for the first year (it’s a requirement here in Canada). I’ve seen the result of accidents where high school students take a group of friends out on a fast food run on their school lunch break. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I got in such a state on my final driving test that I’m very surprised I passed – I actually had a meltdown mid manoeuvre 😂 I think a lot of my problem was that I kept comparing myself to my friends who were passing first/second time and I just ended up putting myself down and feeling like a failure. These were all friends who were practicing in between lessons whenever they could whereas I was having one hour a week so realistically of course they’d pass before me! These are great tips – thanks for sharing! X

  11. I’ve been driving for 10 years and I can say with my hands up that I would HATE to have to take the test again. I was so nervous and when the tester told me I’d passed I almost hugged her I was so shocked. But since then, and since getting into recovery/wellness I find it much easier to manage my anxiety on the road. What stopped me driving for years was a lack of faith in myself opposed to other drivers. x

  12. These are all some super helpful tips. I still don’t know how to drive a car but I will keep these in mind whenever I learn to drive. My partner says the right instructor made a difference

  13. I remember learning how to drive and how absolutely terrified I was to drive! I was excited for the freedom that it gave but but I was nervous because of how many wreaks there are and crazy people that don’t know how to drive or don’t drive responsibly. At the end of the day though, I’m so glad that I stuck with it and the don’t dwell on your mistakes is in my opinion one of the most important!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: