Life as a new driver

It took me about 19 years to learn to drive. I hit one challenge after another and needed to find the right instructor for me. My main reason for wanting to pass was to prove the haters wrong and for my own self esteem. Public transport where I live is excellent. My ex used to say if you haven’t learnt to drive by now you never will. A ‘friend’ repeatedly told me she thought I would be a very dangerous driver because she knows what I’m like. Reverse psychology works brilliantly with me. My attitude was ‘the day I take any notice of anything either of you nasty bullies have to say will be a very sad day indeed’

I’m an astrologer and I chose a lucky time to take my test. I made sure Jupiter the great benific was prominent. On October the 16th 2019 at 12:38pm I started my first test and I’m pleased to say I passed. The worst I had to do was drive around a parked lorry the test was really easy.

On my first drive my eldest son said ‘I don’t want to get in the car with you I would rather get the bus! So my younger son replied ‘mums only just passed her test you should be more supportive!’ My eldest son responded ‘I don’t feel safe I’m getting the bus home.’ At least my youngest kindly stayed with me.

I had two neighbours who meant well but they said don’t drive at night because of the boy racers, don’t drive at the weekends especially Sunday’s because traffic is very busy in fact drive early mornings blah blah blah. I was very confident but suddenly this turned me into a nervous wreak.

One day I drove to a friends house. On the way there it was very busy and I wanted to turn right off a main road but wasn’t sure where to stop there where literally cars everywhere! I drove just slightly too far past the turning and when I turned I curbed it. It was a high kerb and I had to reverse. Several attempts later I still couldn’t do it. Luckily a police car was coming at that very moment. Never before was I so glad to see a policeman walking towards me. I thought that’s it I’m going to loose my licence. I explained what had happened and said I’m in a blind panic. He helped me make the turn correctly then asked me when I had passed my test as he had seen my P plate. I said two weeks ago. Then he said enjoy the rest of your day and he let me go, phew! Further along on the way there I got slightly lost, I realised I needed to do a U turn. As I got horizontal across the road my automatic gear stick got stuck! Thankfully it was a very quiet back road no one was around and a minute or so later I managed to unstick the gear stick, phew!

So in the early days I only drove once every three weeks due to anxiety. One day I drove to meet up with friends in a pub. I must have had brick dust on the front of my car because as I parked up in the pub car park I manovoured around a car and a guy came up to me and said you’ve just hit my car. I replied it’s ok I didn’t go anywhere near your car. Oh yes you did he said showing me the brick dust on my car. You can buy me a pint to make up for it so I agreed but then he must of thought better of it and he declined minutes later. Clearly he was just trying it on. When leaving my car got stuck I couldn’t seem to get it to move so I had to ask a friend to move it. The next time my car got stuck in the exact same spot 😳 this time another friend moved it. Then I forgot to release the hand break and when I realised I was half out of the drive way. I couldn’t release the hand break it was always getting stuck, so I rushed back into the pub to ask my friends for more help.

Then one of my neighbours figured out I had leaking break fluid or something like that so I got my car fixed and hey presto the hand break stopped getting stuck. Because I wasn’t driving it much due to anxiety I was even nervous about switching the engine on because the engine would shake.

My parking skills were pretty crap and one day I was parking next to a camper type van. I thought I was a bit too close to his van so I went to move my car away. Only I forgot to pull out straight first before turning the wheel so my bumper got locked with the vans bumper. Having P plates on my car was very beneficial. I was not at all shy at asking strangers for help and when they saw my P’s they believed me when I said I was a new driver. So I asked a guy if he would help me unlock my bumper. As soon as he moved my car my bumper pinged off and then my engine on the right side over heated. I thought I was going to have to get my car towed to the garage but my friend Julie offered to drive it for me. Then I told my mate Christine and she said I will help you don’t let Julie do it because she knocked a cyclist of his bike and is refusing to accept responsibility for it, she’s a very unsafe driver. Christine tied it to my car and followed me home, then I got my ex who’s a truck mechanic amongst other things to fix it back on. Yeah the ex who thought I would never pass my test.

I started to have lessons with another instructor to learn how to park better etc. One particular day I parked up as best I could manage and went to get lunch before my lesson. When I went to drive off a lady pulled up and said I’m a new driver can you help me park please. I explained I was also new and was off to learn how to park better so I wasn’t very good but I would try. Well I was no help at all so I asked a passer by if she was a driver and she replied I’ve just failed my test. She tried to help but it was like the blind leading the blind and she had to ask another stranger for help. After that lesson I parked my car on a back road to avoid driving in rush hour traffic. I got the bus to go and see friends. When I came back to my car a driver had parked over into my bay. He had loads of space behind his car in his bay plus a driveway. I thought OMG how the hell am I going to get out of this tight space? I stopped a kind lady in the street and asked her if she was a driver. She said no but I will try to help you. I explained I was fairly new to driving. It took me about 5 minutes to escape and eventually I managed it YAY! I really wished I had one of those karma parking tickets to stick on his car!

I teach tarot amongst other things. One of my students read my cards and said the reason you have driving anxiety is because of a past life experience, you should investigate it. For the next six weeks I thought that’s easier said than done. Logically I thought: in the past it would have been horse and carriage as the main mode of transport. So I wondered if perhaps I’d had an accident whilst driving one. I decided to give pass life regression ago and just before bed time I closed my eyes and tuned in. I asked please share with me the cause of my driving anxiety from a past life. Immediately in my minds eye I saw myself as an overweight man with a beard and dark brown hair. I wasn’t driving a carriage I was in a carriage and another man was fighting me. The carriage was travelling at speed and the other man booted me out the door and I landed on a dirt road. This explained a possible reason for my driving anxiety but was not yet a way to fix it.

My eldest son started getting in the car with me, only he turned out to be the worst back seat car driver ever. He would say things like switch the engine on, put it into drive, the lights are red and other highly annoying things. One day I was driving on a country road a few cars were ahead and a flat bed lorry with scaffolding poles was in front. I slowed down to 40. My son started telling me off saying mum the speed limit is 60 why are you not driving at 60. I replied because if I do I will crash into the cars in front. See that flat bed lorry it’s only allowed to do 40.

I was able to drive my best friend and her son around and she said your driving is very smooth. Her dad said to me I’m very proud of you for passing your test and that comment made me feel wonderful! I’m hoping my best friend will learn to drive one day and that I can teach her along side instructor tuition. Presently she’s too skint.

One day I went to my local diy store. When I turned left out of the car park I didn’t realise I needed the right hand lane. I ended up on the A3 in New Malden, London on a duel carriage way. Traffic was heavy and I was a bit scared. I had to look for some way way to turn off to get back. The carriage way was never ending and I wondered if I’d driven as far as Scotland. Eventually I came to traffic lights so I was able to turn left do a U turn and drive back. To get into the left lane I felt that I had to drive faster than other cars to get across, I saw my turning off thankfully and all was good a great learning experience that felt like a magical mystery tour.

My friend Christine took me on the motorway for the first time. I drove from London to Brighton. It was just one of those unlucky days that are few and far between. I got a certain distance then a message came over the tannoy ‘there’s been an accident so there will be a 25 minute wait.’ I was stationary right by a side road and we agreed to take the back roads. Normally it only takes an hour but this trip took three hours. I was busting for a wee, starving hungry and my friend said I’ve hung out for as long as I can but I’m about to go into a diabetic coma. I dropped her off at a shop and she brought lucozade and bars of chocolate. Meanwhile I waited ages to get into a multi-storey car park. We had a delicious lunch in a vegetarian restaurant, no time for anything else. The journey back was plain sailing.

Most roads are really easy to drive on but there is one road I detest! London Road in Croydon is a long main road. I find cars are coming at you from all angels. There’s usually lots of twatty drivers and hazards everywhere! I said to my eldest son I don’t ever want to drive on that road again. I don’t care how many traffic jams are on other routes I will always choose those routes over this road. Do you understand I don’t ever want to drive on this road again! So a few days later I’m driving with my eldest to Croydon and there’s a road closure. So my son directs me a different way. Further up I realised he was taking me to London Road. Boy was I cheesed off! On the horrible London road a few youths were standing and just where I was about to drive they pushed a lad into the road. Instinct perhaps made me swerve and I was incredibly lucky that nothing was on the other side of the road and know harm was done phew! So I reiterated to my son never direct me to this road again. On pain of death!

I’ve now been driving for 20 months. My parking has improved a fair bit, but I still have much to learn. My anxiety comes and goes and I can pretty much plot it astrologically. My eldest has calmed down with the back seat driving but the occasional time my youngest son comes out with us he says ‘mum your driving like your on test that’s dangerous’ and ‘your not driving close enough to the car in front, I don’t mean tail gating but you should be closer’ UGH!

So I’ve made loads of progress and I’m really pleased with myself. Still lots to learn but I’m getting there. Some of the positives are late in the evening coming home from Penge to Wimbledon by public transport would take an hour and a half. By car only took half an hour. I’ve made several trips to the dump shoving rubbish in the boot which has been extremely helpful. I also frequently take my eldest son to a supermarket of his choice. I’m sure I will find many more positives in the future. 

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  1. Celina, thank you so much for sharing this! At times scary and at others, hilarious! You have come such a long way since you first starting posting about your experiences on the How to Pass your driving test facebook group. I think anyone who is learning, or has recently qualified will find this post an inspiration. You’re not afraid to ask for help, and that is wonderful. Keep on with the parking practice!!