I can’t quite believe it but soon I will be taking a driving test for the very first time, at the grand old age of 30. I’m doing something that most people would’ve done in their late teens and early twenties. So, why now? Why has it taken me until 30-years-old to learn to drive?
For many years I lived in a big city, public transportation was adequate and so I never really had any desire to spend what little money I had on driving lessons. It would be fair to say that driving didn’t interest me at all.
Years went by and, at 25, I had my first driving lesson. My boyfriend (now my husband) had badgered me so much about how it would change my life to be able to drive that I eventually caved in and booked some lessons with a local driving instructor. Unfortunately, we were not a good match, I was a very nervous driver and my instructor seemed to be more accustomed to teaching cocky teenage boys. For example, whilst I drove down a bendy road, he asked me if I liked “hospital food” because that’s what I’d end up having if I continued driving the way I was. That was on my second lesson. He was probably joking, I know that now but I was terrified and I needed an instructor who was supportive, not one who only served to increase my nervousness. I promptly stopped my lessons and that was that.
Fast forward another 5 years, I’d turned 30 and had two young children. I now live on the outskirts of a city. Anybody who has had squeeze a pushchair onto a tiny, rammed-full-of-people bus will know what a pain in the backside it is to use public transport with kids in toe. It’s never fun (well, the toddler thinks bus rides are awesome but I definitely do not).
I finally felt like it was time to put my fears aside and try to learn to drive, again. I asked around on my local Facebook page for instructor recommendations and after the same name popped up a few times, I got in touch with Steve – who is now my instructor and has been since the end of last August. He is firm but fair and most of all, very encouraging.
In January, I took my theory test after spending many hours online, learning the highway code and taking mock hazard perception tests. I passed with flying colours and was relieved to have it done and dusted so I could then focus on the practical skills.
I still, even now, get incredibly nervous before a driving lesson. And it’s not a skill that has come easily to me but I am so excited to be in a position where I have a test booked (I won’t be disclosing when exactly, but it’s soon). But do you know what? Whether I pass or fail that test, I’m proud of myself for getting this far.
I’ve also bought my own car which I’m driving (accompanied by husband) on a daily basis – a visit to the garden centre at the weekend and pre-school runs during the week. Those little journeys are all adding to my experience and confidence. I’m determined to do this!
If you too are learning to drive and feel you’re now ready to take either your theory or practical tests then you can contact the DVLA for more information on how to arrange them.
Lots of luck and happy driving! :)