I’ve been allowed to drive now, on my own, for 6 and a bit days, and I’ve done plenty of it. I’ve driven myself to and from work (alone) a few times, driven to Tesco’s to pick up food, and done a lengthy trip back from Tamworth (with Greté in the car). We also did a short section of M1 on the Tamworth drive on Saturday, and then J25 to J28 on the M1 and back on Sunday going to Alfreton.
Driving on my own wasn’t as weird as I expected it to be, or as scary as other folk suggested it might be. I didn’t really feel nervous about it because I was already comfortable driving with Greté along (rather than my instructor), and it never felt like she was overseeing or watching my driving (although she was obviously aware of the road conditions).
It did feel very strange at work however, knowing that I could leave whenever I wanted without having to either wait for someone else or make someone else late. That felt pretty damn good. I’m also now officially a member of the ‘where the hell did I park my car this morning in that massive car park while I was half asleep’ club.
The motorway driving was a mixed bag, I’d already done some stretches of A road with 3 lanes at 70, but 4 lanes on the M1 was a little daunting. To add to the excitement, while I was travelling at 70mph in the 3rd lane overtaking some stuff, someone undertook me. Someone else sat on my shoulder while I was approaching a lorry (I was in the 2nd hand lane already), and despite my indication and speed changes they seemed intent on remaining glued to me, so I just had to move over and let them worry about it. Lastly, we had a car towing a caravan make a very abrupt lane change a few cars ahead of us, and then slowly swerve across several lanes for half a mile while it corrected itself.
The drive back down the M1 was less eventful!
I wouldn’t say I was happy with how I’ve driven short journeys, and I definitely feel longer trips give me a chance to ‘warm up’. Hopefully as I drive more and more though it’ll get smoother and easier. I’m still too fast on some roundabouts, too slow starting from stopped, and prone to stalling when under pressure. I’ll get there.
I wouldn’t say I feel some massive sense of liberation, or some huge feeling of freedom. I do feel some increase in freedom, and definite feeling of being more liberated in terms of when and where I can go. For me though, the most obvious sensations are relief, that I can help Greté out with driving duties, and an actual feeling of pleasure when I drive. I like driving.