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.
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.