Learning to drive: lead up to my driving test

Following on from her previous blog posts Learning to drive: a personal account and Learning to drive: taking my theory test Tanesha Stafford talks about her experiences of learning to drive and why a left reverse around a corner is so difficult.

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Tanesha writes: Are you a natural driver? I’m far from one! In fact when I first got into the car I couldn’t even start it.

The list of silly things I have done of my driving lessons is close to endless, stopping at traffic lights when they are green, stalling on a hill and rolling half way down before realising the hand brake wasn’t on. Losing my instructors wheel trim when hitting a pothole, driving on the wrong side of the road and the worst nearly running a red light. It appears I’m not alone in my silly mistakes as new research claims that women are the worst learner drivers Do you agree?

Once I’d learnt how to drive in a straight line I spent a good week feeling chuffed with myself, until my next lesson and I realised there was so much more to learn, and that driving in a straight line, and on the right side of the road was supposed to be the easy part.

There’s roundabouts, junctions, dual carriage ways, slip roads, manoeuvres and confusing road signs to get your head around before you can even consider yourself ready to take the test.

It’s far easier revising for my exams!

I’ve managed to get a degree in Journalism and English and yet somehow I’ve probably spent more time revising for my theory test and practising my manoeuvres then I did on my dissertation and final exams.

I’m determined to try and pass first time although I once read about someone that took their test 107 times!

A couple of months later and I can now start the car, roundabouts no longer scare me, I don’t stall when I reach T-junctions and I know most of my road signs. I’m relatively confident driving my instructors’ car and the most shocking part of it all is I’m actually starting to enjoy driving.

Unfortunately the real problem is with my driving manoeuvres

A few weeks ago I had them mastered. I’m not bragging but my 3 point turn was pretty good. This week I can’t do any of them, I’ve completely forgotten what I am doing. When I’m supposed to turn left I always turn right and vice versa. I don’t know why but when I’m driving I always get confused and forget my left and right!

The left reverse around a corner is my worst manoeuvre, not only because I can’t imagine when I will use it, but because going around a corner seems so much more difficult and complicated when you’re moving backwards. I somehow always manage to end up in the middle of the road or up the curb. I wouldn’t walk around a corner backwards, so why would I decide to drive around one backwards?

My mum was nice enough to insure me on her car so I could practise my manoeuvres, she drove me to a small car park and I spent at least an hour going over my bay parking. Not once did I get it right. The problem with learning to drive is you usually end up learning to drive one car. I can drive my instructors car but I can’t drive anything else!

My mum’s Toyota is bigger and has a completely different biting point, so on the odd occasion I looked like I was actually going to make it into the parking space I stalled it and had to start all over again.

Learning to drive in bad weather conditions

In England as we all know the weather is hardly reliable, I’ve had lessons in snow, fog, heavy rain and bright sunshine (sometimes I get most of these in one lesson!)

Driving in the snow

makes doing manoeuvres difficult as the roads are so slippery and getting any control over the car is a mission close to impossible.

Driving in the fog

can be blinding and half the time I can’t tell where the road starts and ends.

Driving in heavy rain

makes the roads slippery and reduces visibility.

Driving in bright sunshine

might be great for sunbathing but it can be blinding and try learning to drive while squinting, it’s difficult I’ve tried! This is England and our weather is unreliable and rubbish to drive in.

Tomorrow I take my test

Tomorrow is my driving test and I’m sitting here trying to push it to the back of my mind which is difficult when you need to write a blog post about it. I won’t deny that I am really nervous and I feel like I could throw up which is either down to nerves or the cheese pasty my colleague bought in for me this morning.

Don’t forget to read my previous blog posts if you missed them: Learning to drive: a personal account. Learning to drive: taking my theory test.

Find out more as it happens:

In the meantime, I’ll write more posts to keep you updated. Like us on Facebook to receive the latest updates on my journey learning to drive.