I’ve held a full clean driving license for approximately 36 hours and I am still surprised I managed it.
Friday was my fourth attempt at a driving test and I felt like I was never going to pass.
Despite having driven round both Kent and London when it comes to the actual test I struggle.
It’s not because I think I can’t do it, because I know I can, but that I am easily nervous, which makes me panic.
If it goes wrong when I am driving I am able to stay composed, but in a test when it’s do or die I struggle with the pressure.
I first started learning to drive six and a half years ago when I first turned 17 but I found it difficult then.
As someone who gets nervous easily, has little special awareness and cannot multitask, driving was always going to be difficult.
I took around 35 hours of lessons before deciding that I wasn’t going anywhere. At this point I could drive, but I wasn’t at test level.
So I had a break for five years. When the time came to give driving another go, my theory test had expired by three years, so that was my first job.
Luckily I passed first time; my bank account is ever so grateful.
So now I just had to learn to drive, again.
I didn’t start lessons again until October, by which point I was now living in Cardiff, Wales.
It didn’t take me long to get familiar with the car, after all, I had 35 hours of previous experience.
I still struggled with gears but I was improving and by January I had booked myself in for a test.
In fact, my test was January 3, which meant I had to come back to Cardiff for New Year, bummer!
So this was my first test that I failed and honestly, I could have saved a lot of money if I just stalled a moment earlier than I did.
If you don’t already know, driving tests in the UK last around 40 minutes with half an hour of independent driving.
I was on minute 38 of my test. The test centre was in sight. I had one last job, to get over the roundabout.
Unfortunately for me, I chose to stall IN THE MIDDLE of the roundabout. So that was game over. Test number one failed.
The next one was a similar story but that time I chose to stall on a junction.
Key advice for anyone who’s looking to take a test: stalling is fine, just don’t stall in a place which is dangerous e.g. on a roundabout or junction.
The third test was just a bit of a disastrous performance from me. It was right before my exams, I was tired and stressed and just didn’t drive well at all.
By this point I was defeated. I had little time in between exams to practice and my attention was on other things.
I decided once again to abandon driving for a while.
This lasted for about three months, but everything changed last week when I was offered a job with a newspaper.
My contract contains a clause which meant I had to learn to drive within three months of my employment. The catch? The job was situated in quite a remote area, so I’d have to learn beforehand.
As I was back in Kent by this point I toyed with the idea of getting an instructor and going through all the lessons again. I thought about doing an intensive course. Heck, I’d considered every option to me.
I was limited on time and I HAD to pass. So I decided that I’d take my test the following week in an automatic, my dad’s to be exact.
Unfortunately my parents were on holiday until Tuesday so I wasn’t able to practice until three days before my test.
As soon as they were home we went out daily. I drove my dad to watch football and my mum to work in Croydon.
We made sure I went out at least once a day to get to know the area where I was taking my test, after all it had been six years since I had last driven there.
So when yesterday came, we all said to each other that I had such little time, despite knowing I could do it, it’s fine if it takes me one more go.
I knew I had such little time and the pressure was on, but this time I also knew I could do it and I did.
Today I took my first solo outing in the car. It was only a five minute drive to the shops but I finally got there.
Sometimes you have to do it your own way and that’s fine.