The first time you learn how to drive isn’t quite as glamorous as Audrey in How to Steal a Million, but it was similar to the first time you learn to play an instrument, ride a bike or bake a cake. Although, perhaps not as simple as baking, unless there’s some technical kneading involved. It brings out the multi-tasking and focused side of you, and it can be fun as well. My driving instructor had a wonderful Russian accent, and he told me how many hours one should drive on the road before getting their restricted. It seems unfortunate that the death rate in NZ for driving is quite high between the ages of 18-25, and so it’s very important to strive to be a good driver first before going straight for restricted.
It seems that it was time that I finally learned to drive, after having my Learners for six years since getting it when I was 15. If you live in New Zealand then you can relate to the need to drive, otherwise there is no other form of transport, unless you are happy to be situated in the city centre. I felt strangely calm when I started driving, because I think I was in a more mature mindset compared to when I drove at 15. If you ever feel some anxiety, just remember to take it easy, don’t panic and keep your hands steady. I still remembered when I was beeped from cars behind me, because during my first driving lesson I didn’t want to go anything over 50km. Although, thankfully it was in a suburban area.
When you just start driving, aim to drive in a quiet neighbourhood before thrusting yourself onto the motorway. It’s better to be in control and safe, then feel out of control when you’re a new driver. In those moments just remember to not give a fudge what other drivers are thinking, because everyone needs to start somewhere. Once you practice more and more, you’ll get more comfortable with going faster. When you’ve just started driving, drive with someone you trust. In this case I had a kind and patient driving teacher, as well as my friend who I could practice with in my spare time. Be with someone who is honest, direct, patient, experienced and you can learn a lot from.
It’s important to listen carefully, follow instructions and drive safely. Relax your body, don’t tense because that causes your arm and legs to get tired easily and not stay focused. Take it easy, and keep it short and sweet, unless you feel ready to drive for a longer period. I think 30 minute practice sessions are good, just so you don’t feel you are over working your brain and can feel relaxed and make steady progress. I think driving is similar to many things in life, where there’s always room to improve no matter what stage you are in, and so if you are a fresh driver as well, don’t let it put your confidence off. You’ll only get better and better with practice and time.
Protect your eyeballs from the harsh sun, because that ball can be somewhat blinding when you’re driving on the road. I recently got some prescription sunglasses so that I don’t feel my eyeballs melting. If you’re a somewhat organised person, it’s nice to keep a driving log to keep up to date with the hours you’ve been driving. I keep mine quite simple, with the date, time, hours, location, weather and the supervisor that was with me on the day. It’s a good way of keeping track of your progress and calculating how many hours you’ve accomplished.
Don’t forget to give yourself words of encouragement whenever you drive, and don’t overthink things. The moments I get nervous is when I’m in a suburb and there is a cat sitting on the path looking like it’s about to run across the street. However, there are lots of situations that simply require common sense. When you first start driving it takes a while to get used to where you’re situated on the car and the road lines. Driving gives me a new appreciation for safe drivers who transport others around, it’s also fun to learn something new and feel a heightened state of awareness of your surroundings.