Tuesday, 1 November 2016

I Passed!! - My Experience With Learning To Drive

I PASSED! Mind out because I am on the road, I passed my driving test I am over the moon and have been wanting to do this blog post since my first driving lesson. But this is my experience with learning to drive, I am going to base this around learning to drive in the UK.

I am going to touch on everything from the lessons to the actual practical driving test and everything in between! Also check out my driving blog post feed here, and I touch on everything. 

Driving instructor -

Obviously, the main thing to learning to drive is that you will need driving lessons! I would recommend learning with a "professional" driving instructor instead of a relative just because at the end of the day they know what's best. I would recommend going with recommendations from people that have passed their driving test, but at the same time you need to decide a price point and whether you want a male/female instructor. 

I had a woman for my instructor and my dad knew her very well from football. But also his best friends daughter was also learning with her, so I had a recommendation as well as someone we knew. I paid for my driving lessons weekly and they were £26 for an hour. But you just need to decide what price if appropriate for you and your preferences. 

The only thing I would say in regards to your instructor is that if you don't like them for a particular reason then change! At the end of the day if you don't like your instructor this has a knock on effect on your motivation and wanting to learn to drive! 

Driving lessons -

I had my very first driving lesson on my birthday which was the 24th December 2015, and I came back from it loving driving and the happiest person ever! I then had a lesson every week, I would recommend being consistent with your driving lessons simply because you will end up forgetting it, as practice makes perfect! You can see what my driving lessons were like here.

I am going, to be honest with you, learning to drive isn't easy! Yes, it is fun, to begin with, but after a few months, I did find that my lessons became more of a chore after a while, which is just because it does start becoming the same thing every week and is very repetitive! I did struggle with certain things when learning to drive and wanted to give up on lots of occasions, but you have to keep going! Just remember that everyone is different when it comes to driving, we all have different strengths but you have to keep going and keep practicing.

The Theory Test - 

You may or may not know but it took me 3 attempts to pass my theory test! A lot of people say it's easy and common sense but it's not. I had been revising for mine for around a year since I first took it, and I failed! I only failed by a small amount both times, but on the second time, I got 49/50 which I wasn't going to complain about. 

My biggest piece of advice is you revise every day, get yourself lots of apps and the highway code/signs books and revise them every day for months! I have a blog post here talking about the theory test and my advice. If you don't pass the first time that's fine, it just gives you the experience of everything. I was very nervous my theory tests because I didn't know what to expect in regards to the hazard perception mainly, but you have to remember to know what you're looking out for as well as staying calm!

A lot of people try and rush their theory, but personally, I wouldn't I would make sure that you have a few driving lessons under your belt before taking it. Just because I never realised just how much help my lessons helped with the theory, especially in respects to the signs and hazard perception, because as a driver you are more alert and notice these things more once put into practice. 

Getting a car -

I got my first car when I was learning to drive, I got it in April 2016. It can be a very controversial subject on when you should get your first car (before or after you pass), the reason why I got mine before is because it would have been perfect for me to get practise when going out with parents, this way it helped getting the extra practice during the time of my lessons. But I was going to need a car soon, and it seemed a good time so I can do more driving and get more experience. Personally, I would recommend doing this if you have a parent of someone that is willing to sit with you because it has helped me a lot! And especially in the run up to my test, I was going out every day. I have a post here about buying your first car, but as a reference, if you're looking for insurance for learner drivers I went with Collingwood. 

The Practical Driving Test -

Once I passed my theory I was too eager to book my driving test for a few weeks after! But that wasn't very sensible, so I booked my test for October 19th, 2016, which was 5 months after passing my theory. The reason why this was booked for October is because my driving instructor was the expert and estimated I should be 110% ready for my test! The when October 19th came around, I took my test and was so nervous and had no idea what to expect, but I failed! I got 18 minors when the maximum is 15, I was so upset for that day but had a lesson the next day! I rebooked my test and the first one was the 22nd December (2 days before my birthday), which I wasn't going to accept so I was looking for cancellations every day! Then found one for 1st November and passed! I was very lucky to find a cancellation under 2 weeks away from my first test, but I was dedicated!

My first test - For my first test I didn't know what to expect in the slightest, I had a driving lesson an hour before which really helped and I had a really good lesson. Once I found out who my examiner was, I got asked 2 show me tell me questions. I am going, to be honest, my examiner was horrible, she was so boring and wasn't very helpful especially when it came to getting my results. My maneuver I got was a bay park in the test center cark park, which went well. But I got too many minors which are a fail, the main reason why I failed was because of my hesitation. If your wondering I didn't have my instructor in the car when I took my test, but she was there for the results. 

My second test - I thought this test went well, however at one point I thought it wasn't going too well! However, it just shows that even when you do something "bad" you can still pass, so you have to forget it and move on! I only got 8 minors which aren't too bad and got a reverse park which went really well. This time the examiner was lovely, and made me feel a lot more at ease! He also went through my minors, unlike the examiner on the first time. 

Just to add -

The main thing I want to add in this section is that it doesn't matter how long you took to pass your test! Everyone is an individual and learns differently, so don't compare yourself! I used to do this but had to get out of this habit very quickly! This is such an exciting journey, and something you're going to remember for years and years, so enjoy it! Because I am missing my lessons already. 

In summary -

- Never give up
- Don't think negatively when it comes to your practical test 
- If you don't pass the first time, then don't think about the first test when you're redoing it.
- Learn from your mistakes 
- Think positively 
- Trust your instructor they know best
- Enjoy it

Shelby x 

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