Last month I (finally) took and past my driving test! I have never really seen myself as an anxious learner but driving solo is completely different to having lessons and even being with someone else in the car. When I past my test the examiner said to me ‘now you start to learn to drive’, this couldn’t have been more true, in the last few weeks I have learnt so much and here is just a few of them..
- This might just be me but the louder I sing the faster I go, scarily without even realising! Note to self; do not get too into that song, not even Adele or Demi.
- Do not wear a jumper on a long drive, it gets hot and you will have no choice but to sweat it out, lesson learnt.
- Flashing lights are very distracting, do not look into the lights.
- Do not drink too much coffee or anything for that matter but especially coffee before a long drive, you will need a wee and there will be no toilets, story of my life.
- The motorway is kind of wavy and if you go too fast you will feel sea sick.
- North wales does not always mean home, confusing I know but signs don’t always make sense.
- Your back will hurt, always stretch after driving, another reason to do more yoga.
- Do not let the sky distract you, not even the sunset, not even if it is as beautiful as the lion king sky, no.
- Always have sunglasses at the ready, especially my fellow Brits, you really never know when the sun will make an appearance and oh gosh it burns.
- Sneezing whilst driving is scary, keep your cool, hands always on the wheel and always stay alert.
- My parents always had a no swearing rule, I grew up never swearing, I still don’t, until that is I am driving. Road rage happens and no amount of breathing can help, it is okay to fdh**j@dh it out.
How I have been dealing with the more serious kind of driving anxieties:
- When I’m unsure of my route or panicking about being in the wrong lane I look for a car that someone I know has, I then imagine it’s them driving and I know it sounds silly but it helps, imagining someone I know on the same road.
- A few times I have been a little paranoid and anxious over something being wrong with my car, the brakes, gears or wheels, when this happens I take a few deep breaths and look for somewhere I can safely pull over if needed, reminding myself that I am in control, just planning what to do in my mind makes me feel more at ease.
- If those anxieties do come true (touch wood), be prepared, I have all my breakdown information stored in my phone, if anything were to happen I know exactly who to call and what information I would need.
- Something that always triggers anxiety for me is rushing, having to be somewhere on time, to avoid this when driving I have been putting more than enough time in the parking ticket machine and making sure I leave home earlier than needed.
- I have found listening to chilled music so helpful with taking my mind away from the anxieties, I don’t think I could listen to anything too fast or loud but chilled music has definitely been helping me feel more calm.
- Going the wrong way, it happens to most of us, my dad being the exception, when this happens I always think to myself ‘what is the worst that can happen’ of course stopping my mind from over thinking the answer. The worst that can happen is I end up somewhere else, I automatically take a different route or I stop somewhere safe and plan another route, all non life or death situations and all completely manageable.
- With independence comes responsibility, I don’t know who said that but it could not be more true, for me anyway. Not being able to drive has meant or at least had been an excuse to rely on my parents for quite a bit, more than I would like to admit. Since driving I have felt that independence I needed however, with that I have also felt the responsibility. Feeling (almost) fully responsible for myself, if I need something I have to go and get it, if I am going somewhere I have to go, I don’t have to wait anymore and I can’t make excuses either. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much enjoying it but the fear of not enjoying it is there, the fear of anxiety, feeling anxious over feeling anxious. I am choosing to embrace this, regardless of anxiety, I choose to embrace the change and the feeling of growing up, finally feeling twenty three. Wow that got deep.
Is this all just me? What have you learnt since learning to drive?