I passed my driving test when I was 17. I passed second time as I failed my first test for speeding – I thought I was in a 40 mile per hour zone so was slowly getting faster, got to 35 mph when the examiner said “mind your speed”, I started to slow down and then I saw a 30mph sign. My second test went much more smoothly though I did think I failed very early on as I lightly hit the curb when I was told to pull over – thinking I failed my test was probably one of the best things that could’ve happened really as after that I was much more relaxed and in some ways didn’t care anymore.
I love driving when I know the roads like the back of my hand. I know you should never stop paying attention as conditions and other drivers are always different, but there’s something calming when you know all the turns and where the speed cameras are and where’s the best place to change gears.
Once I passed my test I drove to college everyday so that route to the town where my college was, and now where a lot of my friends still live, I could do with my eyes closed. I love the routine of driving, the motions of changing gears and indicating and it sounds weird but I love knowing how a car works. How to correct myself if the cars skidding on ice without panicking, how to drive through storms and snow – still not a fan of driving when it’s snowing but I can do it.
Driving calms me down. Today is a great example of this. I spent 20 minutes in my car, sitting at the side of the road crying and screaming. I don’t think I’ve cried like that in years. Nothing particularly bad happened today – I got lost and missed an appointment – but it was just one small thing after a rather stressful time I’ve been having recently. Once I knew what I was going to do and where I was going (decided that I might as well go home) once the car was moving I calmed down almost instantly. I don’t know if it’s because in the back of my mind I’m thinking if I’m crying and driving I’m very likely to have an accident or if it’s the steady motions of changing gears and checking the mirrors that helps me pull myself together.
Driving gives me independence and it’s a skill I’ll never lose. I’ve driven my mum’s car which is automatic but didn’t like it so much, I prefer feeling more in control of the gears and stuff. Long drives can be a pain but I don’t mind it, driving gives me time to think, a space that’s mine and in some ways to relax.
That’s why I love driving.