Clare Devitt To the nervous learner
As I am approaching the 12 month mark since I passed my test, I wanted to share my story especially for the nervous learner….
I started my lessons st age 39 and booking my first one thought, ‘I’ll have this passed in time for my 40th birthday!’
It wasn’t to be as I became nervous in a way I’ve never experienced before and struggled through many many lessons with 2 instructors and 6 (Yes, 6) tests and 4 years later I finally admitted defeat and thought I might as well go and get a life long mega rider. The problem was, you see, I couldn’t manage my nerves on test day and though the lessons would get easier and I knew I could drive I fell apart on the test. A few months went by and I pondered the fact I’d spent so much money perusing this crazy plan I ought to give it another try. I’d bumped into John my neighbour and I told him all about my struggles… he reckoned he could help me and get me through to passing my test. After all the time and money I’d spent I decided I’d take my time and not set unrealistic goals ie I’ll pass my birthday/christmas/summer etc .
I had lots of lessons with John, and his patience amd kindness was never ending. He taught me a lot about reading signs, road awareness, and reading the road ahead that others hadn’t really explained to me before. He made me feel more and more confident and eventually it began to sink in – I could do this and I had every right to be on the road, as much as anyone else!
My first test (which in real terms was no.7!) I failed but with only 4 minors…. so I booked no.8… and finally passed!
I try to reflect on this now and would say to anyone learning to drive that gets nervous,
1) find an instructor that fills you with confidence and helps you feel calm and tells you ‘You can’ when you say ‘I can’t’
2) take your time, don’t put a limit on it like 6 months or a year or Christmas etc
(Trust me you’ll find the money, I’m a single mum and went week to week getting it together)
3) think of all the time, money and mental effort and energy
you’ve invested and DON’T give up! If you need a break for a few months, okay, but go back to it!
4) Believe in yourself, you have as much right as anyone else to be on the roads, (we can all think of people who’ve passed their test or observe other drivers and we think ‘how did they pass?’)
5) remember on test day, the examiner WANTS you to pass the test! Yes they do! And they don’t have a quota they have to pass and fail, it’s a myth.
6) read books to learn the rules of the roads and use them, follow them, and it will you give you confidence in your ability.
I had a 6 year, 8 test journey and I can tell you, it really is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I could never go back to getting the bus, and neither will you.