So learning to drive is a pretty scary thing. It’s the first time you are in charge of a car which means you are in charge of your life and effectively, the driving instructor’s life as well as the life of other drivers and pedestrians. Daunting, huh? So how do you make learning to drive an easier, or at least less terrifying, prospect and experience?
You can officially legally learn to drive aged 17. Some courses allow you to be 16 but you must be 17 to be on the road. You also must have a provisional licence – without that licence you absolutely cannot under any circumstances drive a car. It would be illegal to try and do so. Your driving instructor needs the number on that licence for their records and it is unlikely to be safe to go with an instructor who doesn’t insist on seeing your provisional.
When I first started to drive, I was terrified. Petrified even. I had to be literally pushed out the door by my mum in order to get in the car because I was so scared to learn to drive. I knew nothing about cars and I’d never even been in the driving seat before. I had been so excited to drive and had been talking about it for months but when it came to it, I was so scared that I was shaking and wanted to just get out of the car and forget all about learning to drive.
Because of how scared you are, you need to make sure you are happy and comfortable with them. You will be spending an hour or more with them a week so you need to make sure you both get on well. My parents chose my driving instructor after being recommended by my other family members and we got on to begin with but I wasn’t the quickest learner and got things wrong. I came home crying twice because he’d got annoyed at me. The more I did things wrong, the more annoyed and impatient he got until he eventually snapped and refused to teach me anymore. I was devastated and my parents were furious.
So I took a month or so off driving and then asked my friends for recommendations of driving instructors who had extreme patience. I tried two new instructors and then decided on one who is the nicest person I have ever met and he is so patient and reassuring and doesn’t shout at me when things go wrong. So make sure your driving instructor is understanding and patient and reassuring – try a few different ones if you need to. Find the right person for you.
Also, remember you are completely safe. If anything goes drastically wrong, you aren’t alone and your driving instructor will save you from doing any serious damage. My current instructor has had to step in a few times for me and slam the brakes on or cover my clutch or grab the wheel so I don’t crash in to another car or end up in some bushes. That’s what they are there for – to teach you and keep you safe. They are as concerned about their own life as they are your life, so they will definitely save you in order to save themselves. It won’t be the first time they’ve done it and it won’t be the last.
Everyone learns at different paces and everyone is good at different things. You might have been amazing at Science while your friend was amazing at English or Maths and it’s the same with driving.
You might take a while to learn and you may learn at a different pace to your friend but that’s okay. Don’t put pressure on yourself to learn in three months because your friend did because you will learn when you learn. There’s no time limit and the more you try and force it, the longer it will take because you won’t feel comfortable or calm in the car.
Finally, just try and enjoy it. Not everyone is going to love learning to drive but just think of the benefits once you’ve passed. Give it your all and try to have fun. Be safe but enjoy it. After all, you only learn to drive once.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.