How I overcame my fear of driving…
So unless you follow me on social media, you probably aren’t aware that I’m currently learning to drive. I had a few lessons after I turned 17 but I only had a handful before I gave up. I can’t remember exactly how many I had but it was less than 10 and I had a months worth of learner insurance on my mums car at the time as well. I didn’t get far at all with it to be honest, I was terrible at gears, road positioning, roundabouts, junctions, turning corners… basically everything. I felt nervous every time I got in a car and just couldn’t shake it for weeks, the second I had other cars around me on a road I was panicking. It made me feel so sick and anxious so I eventually just gave up driving altogether. It didn’t help that I actually originally had a driving instructor who was a complete bitch, she used to shout at me for not knowing how to do things and hello, I was paying her to teach me how to do them??? I couldn’t really afford lessons after that as I didn’t have a job at the time anyway and I had applied to go to uni so I knew I wouldn’t need a car whilst I was away for three years. As you all probably know, I then left uni and I got pregnant with my precious Ru bear – so learning to drive was the last thing on my mind, until he arrived. The older he’s got, the more I’ve wanted to pick my lessons back up and start to drive again. I hate not having the freedom and I hate having to rely on my parents to do a lot of things to me, not even big things, just simple things like stocking up on nappies for me or popping to the shop if I’ve urgently needed some medicine for Ru. In January as my income got better with all the blog work that was coming in, I decided that this year would be the year that I finally pass my test and get on the road.
Honestly, even though I’ve been desperate to drive for ages, as much as I’ve wanted to, I convinced myself that I’d never be able to at the same time. The entire idea of it just terrified me and because it went so badly the first time round, I just felt like I couldn’t do it. I had to put myself in the mindset that if other people can do it, then so can I. If all these young 17 year olds can pass their test, and all these elderly people are still driving around then surely it’s possible for me? I told myself that so many times but I still couldn’t convince myself that I could do it. So in the end it was just a case of biting the bullet and booking lessons to force myself into it. I finally did it and found someone that had good reviews on Facebook in my area, dropped him a message and it all went from there really. I didn’t even just try out one lesson with him to see how it went, I transferred him £250 before I’d even met him to secure 10 lessons all at once. I definitely couldn’t back out after that so it was a good way of forcing myself into it and ensuring that I wouldn’t just give up after a handful of lessons. The pressure and anxiety was real but I knew I had to overcome my driving nerves somehow.
The lead up to my first lesson in January was terrifying to say the least, I felt so anxious and nervous, especially on the morning of the actual lesson itself. I would say it’s quite normal but I think it was a mix of getting into driving after all these years (7 to be exact), remembering how badly I handled it last time, and also meeting someone new who would be teaching me on this driving journey! It went a lot better than I expected it to, I felt like I’d forgotten every little thing but he taught me like I was 100% new to it all and within 10 minutes he had me on the main road. I came back from my lesson feeling so much more positive than I had done before I left, because I finally felt like I could actually do it this time and pick it up properly. It only got better after that and I got more & more confident with everything, picking it all up fairly quickly with each lesson. I’ve always been quite a fast learner anyway, I just never felt like I would be when it came to driving so it was a really good feeling.
I bought learner insurance with my mums car again and even though I didn’t get as much practice as the first time round due to not living at home anymore, it still came in really handy. We did have blips where I would make mistakes like roll backwards on hills at junctions (oops) and I tried to do York one week which was a massive mistake. I had drivers all around me treating me like shit because I had L plates on (obviously) and even though I wasn’t doing anything wrong they just made me feel so anxious. I was put off driving after we got there and I let my mum drive home, it took me a week or more to get over it after that! I honestly felt so sick with anxiety after it because I had drivers treating me like I was doing something wrong and I wasn’t, they just had no patience. One woman tried to overtake me as I was coming off a roundabout so she nearly went into the back of me which was completely illegal. What an idiot. Anyway, I managed to get my confidence back after a couple of lessons with my instructor and I’ve done okay since then. I think the key to overcoming your fear is to wait until you feel ready to do it, use a driving instructor that makes you feel comfortable and at ease, and don’t stress about passing your test as quickly as possible. You also have to get yourself into the mindset that you’re never going to be perfect whilst you’re learning and that a lot of it will come with time and experience so that helps the nerves and stress a bit, I think. I also had to teach myself not to panic if I stalled and there was a queue of cars behind me – five seconds out of their day is really not a big issue and if they get impatient then they’re just twats!
I’m now 10 lessons in, I’ve just paid for 10 more and I’m about to buy another months worth of learner insurance with my mum so I can get in some last minute practice. Out of the 10 lessons I’ve just paid for, 2 are for the mock and 2 are for the test, so that leaves me with possibly 6 more before I get ready to take my test. I don’t know if I will do all 6, as my instructor said if I don’t need them he’ll reimburse me – so that’s always good to know. He told me this week that he thinks I’m not going to need many more before I’m test ready and that I just need to brush up on a couple of things like manoeuvres and overtaking and then I’m good to go. I feel like it’s such an achievement to go from being as anxious and bad as I was at driving, to be at the stage I am after only 10 lessons. Never in a million years did I think back in January that I would be test ready by April. What?! Not only am I proud of myself for overcoming my fears and learning quickly, but I am so happy and excited to have the freedom. There’s so many places I want to take Ru and we are going to have such a fun time being able to go all over, visit more family and friends and travel to new places.
I’m currently browsing cars which is the hardest bit of it all, what car do I go for?! It’s more difficult to choose when you have a child I think as it needs to be something small but big enough to fit all the baby crap in that you have to take everywhere. Fitting prams into car boots is a thing of nightmares with small cars. I’m so excited to finally get one, especially since I have this super cute baby on board sign to put in the back! I kindly got sent it from Signomatic and I absolutely love it, they sell all kinds of different signs that you can personalise and with me learning to drive, it was inevitable that I would choose one for my new car. It was such a good price too, so I definitely recommend trying them out if you want one of your own, it’s super cute!
I’d love to hear about your driving experience and if it was similar to mine, or if you’re currently learning to drive and feel like you’ll never do it – have faith. If I can get over my fears so can you!