Over the course of 18 months I had 50 driving lessons, two theory tests and two driving tests. I finally passed at the beginning of this month and to be honest, I thought I was a good driver – in my instructor’s car at least.
The day of my first test, I brought my first car, my little red Mitsubishi Colt, called Missy, got provisional insurance and tried to get used to driving it before I actually passed my test a month later. Turns out I’m a terrible driver, and I have no qualms about saying that, I have no idea how I passed with only 8 minors – so allow me to share with you some of the anxieties new drivers face, and my personal anecdotes of my driving experience so far.
- Turns out a 1.1L Colt doesn’t drive like a 1.6L diesel Punto, and I very nearly cried in the first week of getting used to my car because I would stall six or seven times before I revved the holy hell out of the engine just to do a hill start
- Driving around the car park until you find three bays in a row so you can park in the middle one without fear of hitting someone else’s car
- Parking in car parks half a mile from your destination because it’s free an you’re skint because insurance is bloody expensive and you’d rather buy a McDonalds with the money you’ve saved on parking
- McDonalds Drive Thru is a lot tighter than you thought but after the fifth time you’ve gone in the first week of freedom, you’ll get used to it
- Parallel parking is never as simple as ‘left, right, right, left’ and you will be incredibly tempted to ask some passers-by to assist you in manually lifting and moving your car in/out of the space (think the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode where Ross gets everyone to lift his car out of the space)
- When you park on a tight car park and run your boyfriend over while he watches you out. Yeah, that happened. The sheer panic on his face when his leg got trapped between my car and another parked car made me laugh so hard I couldn’t reverse off him. Happened again the same week reversing off Sainsbury’s… oops
- When the light turns amber but it’s too late to stop and for the next two weeks panicking every time you hear the letterbox
- Feeling incredibly bad for your mother, and the amount of petrol she must have put in running you about – £10 worth of petrol gets you nowhere
- Not knowing the size of your car means that you’ll be using other peoples’ wing mirrors to gage whether or not you’re well parked. My car bonnet is shorter than I think, and so I end up about 3ft away from wherever I need to be
- The first time you need to sneeze whilst driving is the most terrifying moment of your life and your life will flash before your eyes
- Getting to the petrol station and not actually knowing what your car takes – if in doubt, ring Dad
- Forgetting to put your handbrake on and almost rolling into the neighbours wall
- Not knowing what the beeping noise is on your car… turns out my front seats know if you don’t have your seatbelt on, so when I drove home with my bag on my passenger seat it beeped repeatedly for a full 15 minutes
- Forgetting to put your lights on at night and wondering why everyone is flashing at you
- Not having the foggiest how to control your windscreen wipers… options are off, painfully slow, or that fast you think they’re going to fly off
- Seeing buses and actually praying your car never breaks and that you never have to board one again
Let me know your bad driving experiences in the comments!