6 Things I've Discovered Since Learning to Drive (again)

Although a lot of people learn to drive when they're 17 / 18, it didn't quite happen like that for me. Well, it did but it didn't work out and after failing my first driving test and being a little short of money, I sadly gave up. I think the biggest problem was that I let my nerves get in the way and I just wasn't motivated enough to do it.

Fast forward ten years, I'm 27, a mum and guess what... I'm finally having another go at driving! Yes, since January I have been having driving lessons every week (bar the odd bought of illness) in hope of passing my test this summer. Overall it's been a really positive experience and although I haven't done it as quickly as some or passed my test yet, (I'm not giving you the actual date but it's soon) I feel like I've personally come such a long way. Here are a few things I've discovered since learning to drive...again!

1. It's expensive but worth it

There's no dodging the fact that learning to drive costs a lot of money. Prices will vary slightly from one driving instructor to the next but you're looking around £25 per hour. I'm currently paying £66 a week for 2 x 90 minute lessons, which is very reasonable but as a parent with very little income, it is A LOT of money. My Mum and Dad paid for all of my lessons when I was 17 / 18 and so I didn't really think about just how expensive it was (spoilt is the word for it) but this time round, I've paid for them myself and let me tell you, it isn't cheap! It's meant that I've not been able to save money I need for other things but the way I see it is that when I do pass, it's going to make such a difference, not only to my life but Arthur's life too, so it's completely worth every penny.

2. You don't forget everything

If like me, you started learning to drive but gave it up and are thinking of having another go, there's a very high chance that you'll remember a lot of what you learnt before. I actually surprised myself with how much I could do when I had my first lesson (this time round) and even though I had a lot of brushing up to do on my driving skills and even more work to do on gaining confidence, it felt good that I wasn't starting from scratch again.

3. It's okay to go at your own pace

I think I've always felt a little bit embarrassed that I can't drive. It's one of those things I hated admitting to people, which is so silly because not everyone can do everything and that's perfectly okay! Some people can't drive. Some people don't want to drive. Some people learn to drive then give it up. Some people decide to learn to drive later in life. Basically, whether you choose to drive or not it's no one else's business - as the saying goes, you do you!

What I've learnt this time round is that it's perfectly okay to go at your own pace. Try not to worry if your friends are learning to drive quicker than you or if so-and-so only needed a handful of lessons before passing. Everyone is different and you should value your own progress and work towards your own goals.

4. Studying for your theory test might seem harder

I found it much harder to study for my theory test this time round and I think it's got a little something to do with age. We assume that as we get older, we gain more knowledge but I think you also become a little out of practice with things like revising (unless of course you're still studying or have a job that involves taking a lot of exams!) I also found it hard to motivate myself to sit down and revise for my driving theory test because as a parent, there's always a million other things that need your attention and when you finally get to chill out, the last thing you want to do is whip out a copy of the highway code.

Luckily, there's now a driving theory app you can download on your phone (I feel like I dinosaur saying this but I'm pretty sure we didn't have that ten years ago) and it's great! You can study, take mock tests and even practice hazard perception clips on your phone. I found that having the app on my phone made it much easier to fit revision into my day, as I was able to do it while I was eating my lunch or before I went to bed. Everything's easier with an app right?!

I passed my theory first time, last time round but obviously it runs out after two years so that was no use to me anymore! Thankfully, I also passed first time, this time round. I was so nervous and really feeling the pressure to pass it again (so much so that I actually got disqualified on one of my hazard perception clips for over clicking - BIG whoops!) But thankfully it all turned out okay.

5. Driving lessons still make me nervous but that's okay

Even though I've been having them for months and months now, driving lessons still make me nervous! My instructor is friendly, we get along well and I'm not usually nervous once I start driving - it's just the thought of the lesson that still seems to fill me with dread. I know other people feel / have felt the same way though, so it's comforting knowing I'm not alone. I've kind of just accepted it's one of the many things in life that makes me nervous and that's okay. It's just a matter of finding ways to overcome those nerves.

Something that has really helped me is to have two lessons a week, rather than just one. It's been a case of the more I do something, the easier it has become. I've definitely noticed I'm less nervous about my lessons now that I have two a week, as everything isn't pinned on a single day, if that makes any sense at all?! Yes, it's more expensive but it's probably meant that I've reached a position where I'm ready to have a go at doing my test quicker than I would have done if I'd only had the one lesson - so the cost balances out really.

Another way I deal with my nerves is to remember the reason I'm doing this - to give me and Arthur a little more freedom and independence and to make life that little bit easier for our family as a whole, which brings me nicely onto my final learning...

6. It's good to have a motivation

For me, freedom alone wasn't enough to motivate me to pass my driving test. When I was younger, I knew that I could hop on a bus to town if I needed to, most of my friends lived within walking distance and my Dad (he REALLY is a good Dad) would always give me a lift if I needed one (and still does to this day!)

The best motivation for me has been having Arthur and moving to a more countryside location, where public transport isn't anywhere near as frequent as in a city. I want to be able to drive so I can take him places whenever I want to, we can get to more clubs and groups to meet people and we can also drive and see my other half more (though it's hopefully not going to be too long until we're under one roof anyway!) I'd love to not have to rely on others for lifts and also be able to return the favour - because my-oh-my, I've got a lot of lift repaying to do!

Although we've managed with me not driving for the first couple of years of Arthur's life, in the last year or so, it just felt like the right time to do it. I had the confidence to start again and I've had the determination to keep going. There's nothing like your own child to help you motivate to succeed! The quote 'I felt like quitting but then remembered who was watching' is one that sticks firmly in my mind. I'm keeping everything crossed that I pass soon!

Have you learnt to drive? How old were you and what motivated you to do it?

Megan x
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