Diary of a Learner - Back in the driving seat

Getting back in the driving seat - Diary of a Learner

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In our diary of a learner series, we learn about that first driving lesson and the goals that are set to get you through the Theory Test.

I always get extremely nervous before driving lessons, I don’t know why because I do enjoy driving. I can’t even describe how nervous I was about my first lesson with my new instructor. Anyway I had absolutely no need to be as my new instructor put me at ease straight away.

He turned up early and came to introduce himself to me and my parents (cringe!).

At the start of my lesson, he drove to begin with and we parked up and talked for about 20 minutes. He told me about himself and why he was a driving instructor as well as about his teaching methods while also finding out about me.

Setting Theory Test goals

He also mentioned the theory test and prompted me to book it as soon as possible because it will help me on the road.

My old instructor never really mentioned booking the theory test which made me think I wasn’t ready and didn’t need to until nearer my test.

When asked about the actual driving test and when I wanted to be passed by, I told Adrian that I wanted to be passed by the time I leave to go to university in September. I thought this was a bit ambitious but he said it’s definitely achievable and it’s what we will aim for!

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Getting used to a new car AND driving instructor!

The time for me to get back in the driver’s seat came quickly and I felt like having a meltdown, I’d forgotten everything and told Adrian this. He told me to just think about the POM routine but I sometimes think that thinking about this makes me overthink and panic about something so simple. I finally figured out what to do and realised instantly that the car I’m driving now (I think it’s a Vauxhall Corsa but I can’t be certain) is so much more suited to me than the Mini I used to drive.

It was so easy to stall the Mini but the Corsa seems to have a bit more give in the clutch.

The first hurdle of the day was turning the car on. I had to ask how to do this! I drove down a road with loads of speed bumps which I thought was bad enough for my first bit of driving but straight after that I ended up on a narrow road with a school on it and it was 3:30!

After that experience, with cars parked on both sides of the road and children and adults wandering across the road, I will try my hardest to avoid that situation in the future!

Once I got off the awful small roads, driving seemed to come back to me and the very basics seemed natural again. Adrian said he could tell I could drive and that he didn’t feel unsafe or like he had to constantly be watching the road because he could tell I was concentrating.

Obviously, I was making a lot of mistakes but it’s so difficult remembering to do everything normally and even more difficult while trying to get used to a different car. Adrian said during this lesson that he would sort of just let me do whatever and just get used to the car while driving instead of him correcting all my mistakes. He did tell me when I did some things wrong but wasn’t constantly correcting me which I liked because it gave me a bit of time just to get used to driving again.

Learning from my mistakes

Another thing I learned about Adrian is that he doesn’t help very much and he wants you to correct your own mistakes.

During this lesson, I was on a 40mph bypass and when I was trying to get the car into 3rd gear, I couldn’t get it to lock in and the car came to a stop. I was in a bit of a flap but Adrian didn’t take over with his controls he sat there quietly to let me try and sort the problem out myself. I know that if I was struggling a lot he would talk me through what to do, but I think it’s good that he gives me the chance to sort things out myself. Other than the bypass incident, I didn’t make any major mistakes during my first lesson. I completely forgot to look in my mirrors on some roundabouts which wasn’t great but it was an achievement that I managed to actually drive again.


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