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PractiseI started practicing with my dad before christmas and we used to go once a week for about an hour so I'd get 20-30 of driving each time. We went to an open, although small, waste ground that we had permission to use and I started learning to drive with my dad (it was off road with bumps, trash, gravel and more obstacles that probably wasn't great to start learning on). With my dad in his tiny Renaunt Clio, I learnt how to find the biting point, clutch control, hill starts, reversing, parking and more so I did have a fair amount of knowledge before I started lessons although if you practice before lessons then keep in mind that it is quite different on the road and the instructors car will have different controls/biting point. I should probably say by now that I'm learning to drive a manual car which is the norm in the UK. I think the practise I had with my dad was invaluable as it got me used to the basic controls and just HOW to drive as well as some knowledge of the internal workings of the car but it's very different on the road with an instructor.
Driving Theory TestI didn't know I had to take my driving theory test before lessons so I had to push back lessons further than I wanted. I booked my driving theory test online for a small test centre near me and as with everything in life, I was so nervous as it is the fear of the unexpected and anticipation that I hate! But I had nothing to worry about, it was such an easy test, I passed first time. It's a multiple choice test on a computer; the video section for hazards was a little more difficult but it's nothing to worry about.
Finding an instructor, prices & optionsI was so nervous even just texting a driving instructor, never mind starting lessons. My friend Yasmin went with a local driving instructor and she said how amazing he was and that he could do a more intensive course for me as he did with her. I had to wait for about 3-4 weeks before I started my lessons as his schedule was full so the sooner you contact an instructor the better as you may have to wait for a while!
I paid a total of £725 for my lessons, including my practical test, which may seem like a LOT of money but it actually worked out pretty well considering the average rate for 35 hours of driving lessons. I chose a more intensive course which included eight days of lessons totalling 35 hours. I think 35-45 is the average number of hours. I'm really glad I chose the instructor that I did, even though it was a risk as I hadn't met him before but one of my best friends recommended him so I took a chance. I think personal recommendations are the best way to find an instructor but that's just my opinion.
LessonsBefore I started my lessons, I was freaking out and dreading them as I kept thinking: "what if I crash" or "what if I ruined his car" or "what if I can't drive" and worst of all "what if I let the instructor and my dad down". From the first lesson I was almost instantly relieved, my instructor was so nice and they obviously have dual control of the car so you won't crash! One thing I didn't want to do on my first lesson was go around roundabouts but I had to do that about ten times (or more) on my first lesson and I also drove home - about 15/20 minutes away which I didn't expect! I feel as though I was kind of thrown in at the deep end and I don't know if that is just because my course was quite intensive or because he thought I had a relatively good control of the car from the first lesson.
My lessons ranged from 3 hours to 5 1/2 hours and let me tell you, it was so tiring and not just mentally as you do have to focus so much when driving but also physically. I am teeny tiny and even with my chair pushed forward, I still had to push myself into the clutch - thank god for the Mio Liquid Yoga which is amazing for aching muscles. I completely underestimated how physically tiring learning to drive would be but don't let that put you off as it does get easier!
After the first four or five lessons I was feeling so much more comfortable with the car and with driving on the roads although some other road users (especially van drivers) seem to have forgotten how incredibly stressful it is for a learner as they just cut in front of you, driving so close behind you and overtake in dangerous places so be wary of other drivers but as my driving instructor says - look after number one (aka. look after yourself and don't let other drivers bully you into driving dangerously!).
That was part one of my learning to drive posts, I hope it was interesting or useful to some of you!If you want to find out about more regarding booking lessons, tips and more then check out Book Learn Pass.
Can you drive? How was your experience of learning to drive? If you can't drive, do you want to learn?