*This blog post was written before the new driving test changes were implemented and before the driving examiners’ strike on 4th and 5th December.*
Here at Lookers Head Office, we are all confident drivers. Well, all except me. After passing my test four years ago, I have driven little since and in that time, an anxiety has built up which is preventing me from getting out on the roads with confidence.
In a bid to conquer my anxiety of driving, I booked some refresher driving lessons with a local driving school. I would recommend going out with an instructor for the first few times if you haven’t driven in a while. It offers the security and reassurance of an experienced, qualified and neutral driver so you can concentrate on re-familiarising yourself with the car, roads and signs.
Refresher courses are offered by most driving schools and can give rusty drivers the confidence they need. Make sure you go at your own pace and if possible, lead the way.
My instructor picked me up from outside my flat at about 6:30 on a weekday night. It’s good to head out on a driving lesson on an evening or even a Sunday if possible as the roads are quieter. Try to avoid rush hour times when booking driving lessons. The driving school I selected even held lessons from 6am.
The instructor won’t know anything about you, including your levels of confidence or nervousness, so as soon as you get in the car be honest with them, explain your experience and the way you feel about driving. They will be able to advise how to start and tailor the refresher lessons around you.
My instructor drove out to the local countryside to ensure that the roads would be quiet. We started by simply driving up and down a road and pulling in. Although it seems very basic, it was a good way to start as there was no pressure to suddenly zoom down the motorway or navigate a busy roundabout. If you want to focus on a specific type of driving, such as motorway driving for example, let your instructor know and you may be able to start by focusing on that.
The great thing about refresher courses is the fact that you already have your driving licence so don’t have the restrictions that learner drivers have. Of course, depending on your experience, you can drive as much or as little as you want to start with.
Each car drives differently and on the first lesson, part of it will be getting used to the vehicle you’ll be driving.
Over the course of a two hour lesson, I drove across a roundabout, did a three point turn, and drove the quiet country roads and surrounding residential area to get used to driving a car again after a long time off.
Although my hands were gripping the steering wheel a little too tightly and my foot was hovering over the clutch for the majority of the lesson, I finished feeling proud of myself for getting in the car and trying. The instructor gave me valuable feedback for the following lesson which I will take on board.
I did it. I got in the car and took the first step to becoming a confident driver. It will be slow steps but gradually I’m sure they will build my confidence until I’m ready to go out in a car independently.
Did my experience sound familiar to you? Let us know your driving experiences. If you need to get back on the road and are looking for a safe, dependable car, our friendly sales assistants at our dealerships will be happy to help.