- Driving is not an easy thing to learn.

My driving license : an unforgettable experience

The other day, I was thinking to my experiences about the motoring. Learning to drive was a painful and a rewarding thing to me.

Reading the last article written by Patricia Pedrosa has reminded me how I'm becoming a girl car. My first experiences with the motoring were not amazing and happy. If you failed your driving test, you can understand that sad feeling of guilty. Our failures can be misundertood by the others sometimes.

A painful and long adventure in my life.

That guy helped me a lot in that adventure. (Photo : Pinterest).

That guy helped me a lot in that adventure. (Photo : Pinterest).

It's been one year I managed my driving license. If you come from the countryside, you need to have a car if you want to find a job or just go out with your friends. Unlike them, my parents couldn't pay me driving lessons. I learnt driving at 19 whereas my friends had already their licenses. I wasn't jealous but I wanted to be independant. When you live in a small town where the gossipings are everywhere, it's unbearable. Having a car is a way to save you from this hell. The social pressures and prejudices are so strong too. Having a driving license means you became an adult because you're responsible on the road now.

Unconsciously, I didn't want to drive.

I realized it wasn't I wanted at all when I began my first driving lessons after passing my theorical test without difficulties. I wasn't ready but I couldn't stopped my lessons. Unconsciously, I didn't want to drive. I didn't know it until my first traumas. I had my first lessons on a small and weird driving school. The only wrong thing was the instructor. She was rude and not really professionnal. I was there because it was the cheaper driving school. I couldn't choose the place where I wanted to learn driving. Moreover, my dad refused to help me. Two years later, I lived my first verbal harassment until I was so afraid of driving with her.

The beginning of the nightmare.

I quitted that driving school to continue my driving lessons in a new school where you were considered like human pupils. I believed it was the end of my psychological traumas. I was wrong. Unfortunately, my health declined with my traumas. The doctors said me I had a bad eyesight. Choosing the good glasses is a long and annoying process as you guess it. I failed three driving tests because I suffered from violent anxiety attacks too. I believed I was ready to drive but I didn't realize I suffered from a deep depression which has left some consequences. The first intructors were so kind and patient with me but nobody were not conscious about my nightmare.

By leaving their job, they sank me in a deep hell. The new instructors would have compared to robots and not men and women. I felt alone and ashamed because I failed the driving tests one by one. They didn't want to see the driving lessons became painful day after day. My new instructors didn't see how I had lost my faith to drive. I felt so guilty to do mistakes. Fortunately, I was hopeful to manage my driving license. Then, I knew the most horrendous trauma. I was used to having anxiety attacks but suffering from a tetany crisis was terrible. I lived the slowest seconds of my life when I heard the inspector who was assaulting me with violent words. After that new bad episode, I refused to drive a car during 6 months. I went to another driving school in a big city where I was studying. I was so traumatized by that accident that I needed to cure me.

A new life, a new driving school and ... three British guys

If you fail your five practical tests, you need to pass again the theorical driving test in France. I passed it fastly. In 2013, I left my native city to continue studying in an important French university. I didn't give up my driving lessons. I looked for the best driving school after calling and interviewing people to have opinions. I found the best school in which I spent time to drive with patient and human instructors. I followed a therapy with them by analysing and accepting my mistakes. I was there to learn and not to be a perfect driver!

I began to drive a manual Peugeot to finish the adventure with a Toyota. Not a Prius but a hybrid Yaris.

I began to drive a manual Peugeot to finish the adventure with a Toyota. Not a Prius but a hybrid Yaris.

Why I mention our British guys? Top Gear was broadcasted for the first time in France in 2012. I was afraid of cars and was really depressed. I couldn't hear the words "driving license". I began to discover the motoring adventures of May, Hammond and Clarkson. Then I felt I was falling in love with cars by watching our three guys realize hilarious motoring challenges. I learnt a lot of things too. My fear was disappearing slowly. Driving became a happy moment and not a nightmare. These guys are the best instructors I know. They saved me from a sinking.

From the hell, you can love your fear.

In october 2016, I managed to have my driving license after succeding my seventh driving test. I was really ready that time. I had overtaken my fear and my traumas after 8 years. I didn't realize what was happening. Two days later, I was sure it was the end of a long nightmare which is become a human adventure.

From the hell, you can love your fear. I became a girl car by learning how to like driving a car. Today, DriveTribe is my therapy. It helps me a lot to share my bad and happy experiences on the motoring.

I used a manual, a semi-automatic and an automatic and hybrid car. I think I spent more 500 hours to drive on the roads and streest from the quiet countryside to finish my automotive adventure in the traffic jam of the 5th biggest French city, Nantes. My adventure was painful but there is a happy end!

If I can give you some advices from my personal experiences :

1- Don't be ashamed to fail your driving test. You're not a perfect driver! Even an experienced driver can make mistakes on the roads.

2- Confide your fears and your doubts. Don't fell you guilty to have human failures.

3- Don't be influenced by your family or your friends. If you're not ready to pass your driving license, you're normal. It's your personal choice.

4- If you live a psychological harassment from an instructor or an inspector, report it and talk it to your family or friends. It's important to share these moments.

I hope my personal story will help you or some people you know. If you live some bad experiences during your driving lessons or tests, you can share it in the comments or on the #lifestyle and #womeninmotoring

You can read more articles written by Patricia Pedrosa on her tribe :

I'm sure you're interested in Chloe Thiessen's tribe and her first article on the motoring lovers :

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Comments (4)

  • Fantastic article Aurelie, I was really inspired by this and the traumas you had to suffer through sound awful and I hope it’s all okay now. Your advice is really helpful, I’m 17 and currently taking driving lessons and it’s a scary world out there, I tend to panic with things like this. Thank you for sharing your story 😊

      3 years ago
    • Thanks Jess. I feel better even if I suffer from some consequenceses of those traumas. I didn't forget but I'm strong now. You're young. It's normal to be scared of our mad world. When we drive, we have so many responsabilities. It takes time...

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        3 years ago
  • That is great advice, Aurelie. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the plug!

      3 years ago