I thought I should check in with an update.
I had my third lesson today. I still get some pretty aggressive butterflies in my stomach, and it sure doesn’t feel great as someone in my mid twenties practicing the very basics (today it was right turns), but I can’t deny that I’m making progress. Little by little. 2 weeks ago
Ohhhhhh man. I think I must have been operating on pure adrenaline, because I do not remember a single sight, sound, or action I made over the course of the past hour.
Shoulder checking right when making a right turn (you have to do that?? Oh right, cyclists…) threw me off completely… and at different instances I took turns too quickly (nerves), made one-handed turns (What the- I have never done that before!! Nerves!), sped slightly through a playground zone (Oh geeze, nerves!) and didn’t notice when the light turned green at an intersection (I was preoccupied worrying about whether my mirrors were at a good angle or not).
I thought that all the time away from the wheel would make me cautious to an annoying extent… driving under the speed limit, holding up traffic, changing lanes too slowly. But instead, my elevated heart rate and white knuckles had me second-guessing everything and messing up even the basics.
I feel… Bad? Proud? Embarrassed? Alone? Some weird mix like that. Half of my body wants to jump into bed and hide under the covers while the other half wants to jump in the car and prove that I can do better than today’s miserable performance.
After I came down from my adrenaline rush, I called the school and booked my next lesson for tomorrow, which – to be honest – makes me feel quite queasy. But. Maybe queasy is just what it feels like to face a crippling fear.
This goal is a doozy. I hope that documenting my experience – insecurities and all – will help others with the same goal.
By the way – my driving instructor was relaxed and kind. I do not fear him – I fear my own humiliation and lack of confidence. 3 weeks ago
I called the place today and an instructor is picking me up tomorrow for a one-hour evaluation lesson.
I’m excited and nervous. But mostly nervous. 3 weeks ago
Driving lessons and dealerships both cropped up in conversation this morning, and after having both topics rattle around in my brain all day, I am indulging some daydreams about the liberties a vehicle would provide for me. For those times when the daydreams have dissipated and been replaced by white knuckles, cold sweats, and second-guesses – a list, to keep the dream alive!
Things that I currently cannot do freely and that I think are totally rad, though they may seem mundane to the future, car-owning-and-driving version of me
- Going to the store for little, last-minute things.
- Getting to clandestine appointments that I would never dare ask to be chauffeured to (sounds a lot less innocent than it actually is).
- Road trips!
- Running errands related to spontaneous small business ideas.
- Curating an amazing stockpile of mix CDs and programming the best radio stations.
- Not feeling sheepish about having family members drive me to work.
- Being able to stay past “curfew” (ie. last bus of the night) on weekends.
- Visiting the library whenever. I. Want. Let’s just take a minute to ponder the magnificence of that one.
- Taking trips across the border.
- Maneuvering fearlessly in the big city (this one will take some time, but… can you imagine??)
- Being proud of the fact that I’ve conquered things that used to make me feel intimidated, stupid, and anxious: parallel parking! traffic circles! gassing up! changing a flat! oil changes! tire rotations! freeways! left turns! lane changes! mechanics!
- Choosing out sweet car accessories. Shhh. If I want to profess my love for Battlestar Galactica via window sticker, that’s my prerogative. If I want to pay for a celebrity GPS voiceover, that’s my prerogative, too.
- Honking the horn smartly.
- Driving to the gym, to a class, or to an activity. 3 weeks ago
How I did it: By driving into the wall of a Mexican restaurant. Nobody was hurt. The building was fine. It was a miracle that the airbags didn't go off. It was horrifying. And he made me drive home after that, too! And you know, I wasn't afraid to go where I know the way. I'm still not. Hitting something made it real. It's not an imaginary fear, it's real consequence I strive to avoid, and honing my driving skills makes me proud. Read how I did it… 3 months ago
But the nerves are still there 3 months ago
I’ve finally taken the plunge and am now driving to visit my family. It takes me about 12 hours. This was a tremendous leap for me.
I used to take the bus, but it’s become less and less convenient, and finally nearly impossible due to things like bus depots being closed at weird hours in small towns, my family still had to drive an hour and a half to get me, and busses being sold out on holidays.
I would have kept taking the bus had it not become just harder and harder to do.
I drove home last May, and it was terrifying. I even took a small highway that I thought would be safer than the main highway, but it was in such poor repair that it damaged the oil pan of my car.
This time, I knuckled down and took the big highway that went through a city. It was a little scary, but I made it.
The best part was having my car while I was home. That meant I had the freedom to drive to visit people nearby, and to take my Mom (who doesn’t drive anymore) out to do things.
I won’t say I was particularly confident, but I did it, and it was easier the second time than it was the first. I felt more confident at higher speeds, felt like I could read the road better, and while I was alert, I panicked less about the other drivers. 4 months ago
not called for some refresher lessons. guess the fear still has me in its grip.
i really need to do this. 5 months ago
I purchased a new car today- well an old car but a new one to me. I’ve not driven for 8 months now on account of not finding anything I liked. I don’t particularly like this car really but it was only £700 and it’s got an MOT for the next 7 months and will get me from A to B. I figure if I start out small and increase then it’ll be easier to get back into the swing of things. I’m not sure my fear is conquered by this move but, I have an urge to try again. The insurance will begin on Thursday and I’ll be back on the road… watch out people of the UK! 5 months ago
to call a driving instructor tomorrow. I need to get some refresher lessons so I can start driving again with a bit more confidence.
will call to see if I can maybe arrange 2 1 hour lessons sometime this week. 5 months ago
a business card for a driving instructer that offers refresher driving lessons, so planning to give him a call tommoorow to arrange a few lessons.
i haven’t driven properly for 2 and half years and i have never felt confident about it, so now its time to deal with this and over come this issue. i am buying my dads small car soon, and i want to feel confident in my driving.
i did actually take the car for a drive one night last night, but it showed me how rusty my driving was. so time to deal with this.
i need my independence back. 6 months ago
am buying my dads small car soon. have decided I will do 1/2 refresher driving lessons with an instructor. just to get comfortable with driving again, as its been 2 and a half years since I passed my driving test, and I haven’t really driven at all due to my slight fear and lack of interest in driving.
but its something I want to over come and I want that confidence and independence that driving brings.
im ready to start doing this. I want it. 6 months ago
My brother was asked to mow the lawn with the riding mower today, but I jumped in and volunteered. I had never used it before, and I wanted to learn. I did an okay job for my first time, and I felt so accomplished afterward. Plus, it made me a little more comfortable with operating machinery. 6 months ago
I went for another short, far-from-city-limits spin. I realize I still have a looooong way to go before I feel comfortable behind the wheel, and I find it frustrating that the only way to improve is by driving more (isn’t there a way I can study driving from the comfort and safety of my desk?!)
I drove for maybe 15 minutes yesterday. It exhausted me mentally, and I thought of a relatable analogy for getting back into the driving process: it’s like opening Photoshop or After Effects (or learning a new computer program) for the first time.
The first time you try it out, you are visually overwhelmed – so many buttons and screens and sliders! You tire quickly and stress easily because every time you need to accomplish an action, you have to search and scan each button and menu to find exactly what you’re looking for. But, as time goes on and you learn the ins and outs of the program, the framework disappears and you’re able to focus solely on the task at hand. Maneuvers become second-nature. New situations will crop up, but you’ll be able to scan the options quickly and pull up the right function quickly. Exhaustion will no longer be an issue.
Right now I feel as though I’ve opened a new program for the first time. I know how to move a mouse (operate a vehicle), but I second-guess everything else about the experience (how close to the centerline should I be? How much do I slow down to complete a turn? How do I know I have enough time to complete a left turn? How the heck do I handle traffic circles, again?). I have hope, though! Someday I’ll be a photoshop master of driving. :) 6 months ago
I just got back from a drive around the block with my mum, marking my first time behind the wheel in 5 years (has it really been that long?!).
We drove around the neighborhood, which was (thankfully) deserted. At first I drove slowly, but eventually built up to 50km/h. I drove across to a neighboring development and got the car up to 80 km/h for a stretch as well.
The drive was ridiculously simple, but I still had some anxiety crop up. My biggest confusions come from spatial skills that can only improve with experience, like my position relative to the centerline, relative to the curb, relative to other cars, etc. Still, this was a first step. I drove less than 10 minutes, but I did not want to exhaust myself on the first attempt. Looking forward to doing another 10 minute neighborhood trip tomorrow. 6 months ago
I have started looking up potential driving schools. It has actually been an exciting process – I was expecting to have to take driver’s training all over again, but I see that many schools cater to drivers that are simply out of practice with in-car sessions.
Even more motivating are reviews left on sites like Yelp – apparently, being in your mid-to-late-20s and getting rusty at the wheel after years of living in a city/dorm/public-transit-heavy lifestyle is a common occurrence! My self-consciousness is starting to shrink and I keep daydreaming about driving around to do errands, to go to work, to visit friends… I can’t wait. 8 months ago
This goal is so, so, so integral to my feeling in control again.
I will definitely need support on this one – it is one of the things about myself I am most embarrassed about.
I am hoping to make great progress on this goal by the end of the summer. 9 months ago
Going to buy a new car this week or next. Time to get back on the road :-(. 11 months ago
Still haven’t conquered it. Still not important. 14 months ago
crossing the street today, walking home. and saw and old lady driving a car… waiting at the stop for cars to go past so she could turn and proceed… she actually could have driven through earlier, she was holding up traffic a little bit, but guess she was being cautious… remember thinking, if this old lady can drive… so can i. 17 months ago
I went for a walk yesterday, leaving the car at home. I came back several hours later to find someone had put a gigantic dent in the side of the car. The car is not worth claiming for and the girl who did it was very sorry. I’m not claiming on her insurance but I don’t think it’s going to help my confidence when people scowl at me as I drive around, thinking I’m a worse driver. She’s fairly new to driving and has only had her car 3 months. I’ve been there and, although I only damaged my own car when I did it, know the stress it can cause.
I went over to the girl’s house last night and said “Don’t worry about it. I’ll sort it outside of insurance because there’s already a dent in it that I did myself. I’ll see if I can pop the dent out that you did out myself and if I can’t then I’ll just leave it.”
Does that make me a push over? My dad has told me I’m an idiot for not going through the insurance company. The problem is that my car has 120,000 miles on the clock, a dent in the back where I did it myself (that I chose not to notify them about) and it fills up like a fish tank. I can’t imagine anyone ever buying it OR an insurance company saying they’ll fix the car for a big dent in the front. They’d just write it off when the car has 6 months left on insurance and road tax as well as MOT. I might as well just wait 6 months and get something newer. It seems to drive ok. I just need to check the lights work and then it’ll be safe to drive the short distances I use it for.
I just feel utterly crap about it all though because I’m not sure I made the right decision. Maybe I should have let it be written off? 19 months ago