Driving alone for the first time

It may have been for only 11 minutes, though a lot is going on...

2y ago

Sounds stupid, I know.

I passed back in August, we got a new car, insured on it by September - sorted. Only if I wasn't so nervous every time I got into that seat, that I stopped shaking to turn the key. I'm not that bad any more since I have been driving around with Daniel with me. Makes sense seeing we go shopping or seeing family together.

But one day, last week I had an emergency call from work - a part-time job in a local gaming business. My boss called me, saying one of the supervisors was sent home sick and if I could come and help till 6pm. I said 'sure, I've got nothing on, give me an hour to get ready and I'll be there.

That is a map of the route. It is only 2.2 miles away, takes about 10 minutes by car, by tram though, it takes 30 minutes. It may be only 3 stops on the tram but that is way too long for me that day!

I looked at the car, hoping that for the first time driving alone, that it wouldn't kill me or I - in less rude words - didn't cock up. Scared is another word I would use, even though I am a good driver, you can't take account for others on the same road, some being morons and some just not paying any attention.

I played with the key for a moment, my anxiety playing with my heart as much as that key fob in my fingers - then, I thought 'sod it'. Door open, key in and twist, music on, belt on and go. My driveway is the best place as I live in a square, with others parking along the other side of the tight road. This makes getting in and out of my drive impossible on some days. Nothing we can do about that though.

I'm lucky as most of the roads to work are dual carriageways, but are heavily policed with cameras all over the place. The highest speed is 40 MPH on the straight boulevard, dipping down to 30 everywhere else. I can deal with that, what I can't deal with is other people wanting to break those limits, getting right behind you, sod that - you shall not pass!

Finally, I got onto the Industrial estate, trundling along to get to the car park, which is always full. We have 4 car parks at the company: one for visitors, one for customers, one for the car sharers and the largest one for employees. I spot a space, this is also the first time I have done a reverse park in my car - bang on perfect.

I was so proud of myself, I didn't crash or kill someone, I even held my own after being tailgated at top speed. The problem with new drivers isn't that they are reckless, it's either one of two things - they don't have the confidence to play with the rest of us or they are so confident, they don't see the dangers.

My issue is that I see everything as a danger.

I am still scared.




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Comments (19)

  • I prefer to let tailgaters pass as long as it doesn't slow me down. Not that I'm slow, but my car is 😁

      2 years ago
  • I was quite nervous for around 2-3 months after first passing. It soon goes away, believe me!

      2 years ago
    • Yea, the thing is I don't need to drive everyday, so I don't learn as much as say, younger people adventuring for uni or going to work. I can walk to work so.

        2 years ago
    • Fair enough. Perhaps pick very quiet times to go for short drives? That way there should be less bad drivers out on the roads.

        2 years ago
  • I didn't pass my test until I was 49 (I always loved cars but living in a city there wasnt really a need to and my wife drove.)

    I'd been messing around learning for years but was never really serious about it. Then a job came up that came with a generous car allowance and I got a wiggle on and passed my test.

    The morning after my test (a Sunday) I got up super early and set off on my own for the first time. I was shaking with fear but it was 4:30am in summer so it was quiet. I nearly binned it at an island about 20mins later, hey I had nobody telling me to "watch my speed" 😀. I parked up and had a word with myself. Calm down you twat, I said to myself.

    Next stop was the Motorway, lots of people told me that I should just get on it to get over any fear. I used to do laps of the M42/M5/M6 round Birmingham. That really paid dividends.

    My first car was a 15 plate, brand new Mondeo (after a few weeks in my wife's fiesta). I bricked it driving that off the forecourt. It felt like an aircraft carrier with wheels it was so big, and parking felt like defusing a bomb with oven gloves on 😀

    I still drive early in the mornings in the summer on my local roads for the fun of it (I live in country now). Empty roads without caravans and omni speed pensioners (that's 37mph, no matter what the actual speed limit is) is a real joy.

    Practice practice practice is the key. Going out when it quiet it builds confidence for car control and understanding what the car is telling you.

    Good luck, ignore the knobheads and stay safe. I've done extra lessons since to really understand car control and that really helped too.

    Oh and I drive a Mustang now 😀

      2 years ago
    • Gary, you are my hero! Thanks for that, it really made me smile, is it a new Mustang or a classic?

        2 years ago
    • It's a new one. Her name is Monica (she follows Molly the Mondeo, and Sharon the Focus ST) 😀. The other advice I would give you is to buy a dashcam. If anything untoward happens it can help settle any arguments. People can be pigs and very...

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        2 years ago
  • Be one with the car.

      2 years ago
  • Well done! It does get easier. To be honest 'getting the hang of it' in a busy city like Nottingham probably isn't the easiest.

      2 years ago
    • Yea, it's not bad if you stay away from the city centre... god thats evil!

        2 years ago
    • I drive through Manchester quite frequently. It's not fun. It's either dangerous when it's moving or annoying when it's at stand-still. I haven't driven through London for decades, but I suspect it's even worse!

        2 years ago