In April, I managed to pass my driving test after several months of lessons. I was incredibly nervous to learn to drive and honestly the thought of passing seemed so far fetched but I did it! I know learning to drive can be really daunting and so from my experience these are my top tips about learning to drive:
Spend time finding the right instructor
I’ve heard a lot of stories about harsh or unhelpful instructors and I knew I needed someone who could put me at ease. I knew I wanted a female instructor and I made sure to find one, even though there are more male instructors around than female. I was really lucky with mine as she was super patient, reassuring when I was nervous and let me go through everything at my own pace. Without her, I never would have passed. So definitely make sure you get someone you’re comfortable with and don’t settle if an instructor doesn’t feel like the right fit. Learning to drive is a stressful experience and having a nice instructor makes it infinitely better.
There’s no right age or time to learn
I remember at school when everyone started turning 17 and learning to drive and I felt a bit left out and ‘behind’. But at the time I knew I couldn’t afford it and I knew there was no point when I’d be going to uni a year later and wouldn’t need a car. When I reached my final year of uni, I knew I was in a financially better position and that a car would be useful for working after uni. So, just because other people can drive doesn’t mean you have to. People should learn when they want to and when they feel ready.
Be patient with yourself
I know there were a few things I really struggled with when learning to drive, such as parallel parking and hill starts. I also felt like I plateaued for a while and didn’t improve for quite some time. It was very frustrating but it just took time and practice and making sure not to be hard on yourself, as that just makes you feel more frustrated. Everything takes time.
Ask lots of questions
If you’re struggling with something during your lessons or there’s something you want to go over more, speak up and ask. As my instructor kept saying, at the end of the day it’s your lessons and if you want to go over something, then make sure to ask to do something again or have it explained in more detail. You want to help yourself as much as possible.
Don’t compare yourself to others
You always hear about people that manage to learn within only a couple of months and then you can feel like you’re having ‘too many lessons’. But we all learn at different paces, some people may also practice more with family members in their own time etc. So have as many lessons as you feel you need, not as many as others are having.
At the end of the day, driving is a scary thing and it’s harder for some than others. Help yourself as much as you can and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If lessons don’t go too well, there’s also nothing wrong with taking a break, changing to an automatic/manual or changing your instructor.
How was your experience with learning to drive?