Tag Archives: lesson

Fear of 4 Wheels – Part 18 – The End

IMAG0378I had my first ever driving lesson, and my first go behind the wheel of a car, on May 8th 2013.  Today, August 14th 2013 I passed my practical driving exam (at the age of 42), and am now allowed to drive a car on my own, including on the motorway.

Twenty six hours of formal lessons (mostly 2 hours at a time), over 16 weeks.  Don’t let anyone tell you that getting older means you can’t learn to do something new, or that it’s going to take much longer to learn to do it.

But if you are going to learn to drive, get insured in someone’s car (partner, parents, friends), and get out as much as you can between lessons.  In lessons, you want to be focussing on the high level stuff like handling traffic, manoeuvres, anticipation, planning, etc.  You don’t want to be worrying about what your feet and hands are doing with the actual controls – you want muscle memory doing that as quickly as possible, and that’s what practice outside of lessons will give you.  I drove almost every day between lessons, certainly as often as I could, because I have a patient and understanding wife who gave me all the support I needed.

I won’t insult people and say ‘if I can do it, anyone can’, because I hate that phrase.  But if you’re thinking of learning to drive but you’re worried you’ve left it too late – don’t worry, give it a shot, I’m glad I did.

I drove to work and back today, without L plates, and it felt pretty good.  The drive home was rubbish of course, crunched the gears, stalled it once, and then stalled three times trying to put the car on the drive.  In all the time I’ve been learning, I’ve only stalled once getting the car on the drive.  Typical – but I don’t care, all that matters now is that I remain safe and considerate on the road and that my skill level can only increase going forward.

It’s been fun, terrifying, hard work, I hated the hours before the lessons, enjoyed the lessons for the most part, and then felt like an idiot for the hours after them, but it’s all over, and with luck, I’ll never have to do it again.

If you’re learning, or thinking of learning, good luck, try and enjoy it, and I’ll see you on the roads.

It’s time …

I’m 42.  I think, that I could have learned to drive when I was 17 in the UK, maybe 16 (it would have been 1987 or 1988).  Tomorrow is when I’m actually going to start learning to drive.  I have my first ever driving lesson booked.

So yes, I’m about 26 years late, but I guess it’s finally time.  As a kid, after the age of 4, our family never had a car, so I grew up using the bus or my bike, or walking, everywhere.  When I went to university, no one had a car, and I certainly never had the money to learn to drive.  Then, after I left and got jobs, I never felt like it was critical, and I relied on a lot of friends to drive me to work.

When myself and Grete first got together, Grete had already had quite a few lessons, we needed one of us to pass, didn’t have much money, and so we agreed she had the best chance.  She did pass, and she’s been driving us everywhere since, with skill, patience and well, even more patience.

I mooted the idea of learning a couple of years ago, and Grete got my provisional license sorted out (basically, I’m rubbish without her).  I’d had it since I was 17 (wishful thinking), but never updated the address, and then the whole complexity of that got to me.  Anyway, even with the sorted license, I still didn’t do anything about the driving.

This year though, it just seems right.  After all, I’m 42.  And 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything.