Tag Archives: Driving

Driving

In the last few weeks I’ve started driving on the motorway, which surprisingly has been going okish.   I first drove on the M5 three weeks ago, and I only did about 60 miles before Mr B took over again.  After only slightly more motorway experience, I ended up driving on the M6, in the dark and rain last Friday night.  I thought I’d done alright, given the conditions.  The hardest thing was the fact that I couldn’t tell how far away the cars were, when I looked in my mirrors – all I could see was lights.  I’ve since been told that the central mirror has a fancy fitting which stops the light glare – nobody had ever told me this before!

I drove back part way yesterday, and got a bit flustered when the M6 traffic slowed down to an almost stop – I was in motorway driving mode, and was confused about what I should do with gears, etc on the motorway when driving so slowly.  I did change down, but then changed up too quickly when it cleared and couldn’t accelerate quick enough.  Overall it was alright – except when I got caught up in the roadwork signs and missed the signs which said my line was going to turn into the M42…  I have a history with that motorway, although thankfully we were able to turn around before we’d gone 20 miles in the wrong direction!

Overall motorway driving is going ok – I feel relatively confident about changing lane and coping with common motorway issues.  Where my confidence is severely lacking is parking and general maneuvers.  When I was learning to drive I was fine with it.  My instructor explained the logistics and I mostly understood it, and I didn’t have any major problem.  Now though, I just mess it up.  I know which way to turn the wheel in theory, but in practice I always do it wrong.  And I haven’t even attempted parallel parking yet.

I think I’m going to have to find a big, empty space and just practice reversing the car round in different ways.  And if that doesn’t work, I might have to get a couple of extra lessons.  I know all I really need is lots of practice.  But it’s difficult when I don’t particularly like driving and will do anything to get out of it.

I’ve also got to get over the hurdle of driving on my own.  When I do mess things up, Mr B is the one who tells me how to fix it.  So the thought of being stuck in a car somewhere, completely unable to park, just terrifies me.

The stupid thing is, I feel I was overall better at driving when I passed my test, than I am now, four and a half years later.  It’s what happens when you don’t drive for four years.

Driving Again

4 years ago, on the very day that I moved to uni, I passed my driving test. Prior to last weekend, I haven’t driven since then (unless you count an illegal 5 minutes). But recently, Mr B put me on his car insurance. So on Saturday, he took me out in his car.

The first thing I had to do, was reserve out of his drive, onto a reasonably busy road. Eek. I just about managed it, and set off around the residential streets nearby (straight past where a friend’s parents live). During the first ten minutes I was pretty bad. I stalled about 3 times, mostly because I wasn’t used to the biting point, and I was trying to get back into the pattern of driving. So, when at the end of the first 10 minutes, Mr B said we were going to go down slightly bigger roads, I was dreading it. But actually, I’d got used to where the biting point was and was beginning to get used to it all again, and I was much better. Mr B no longer had to remind me to do basic things (like change gear), I got across a big motorway roundabout and even drove down a dual carriageway.

Overall, I was quite impressed with myself. I was surprised that in that half an hour of driving, I was able to feel like I mostly knew what I was doing. Mr B said he’d never seen me concentrate so hard, but that he could see me beginning to relax slightly by the end – as I was showing myself that I could still drive. I was however, pretty relieved to stop, and Mr B kindly drove me home. I am though, going to have a couple more sessions this weekend. I just need to practice. I’m going to see how I go, but I might take a couple of proper lessons to go through motorway driving, because that’s all completely new to me.

A couple of people have asked how I’m justifying it ethically, as I don’t really need to drive at the moment – I can cycle or walk most places, and I rely on Mr B or my housemates, when I do need a car. But at some point in my life, making use of my driving licence is going to be beneficial. And the sooner I get some practice in, the easier it will be. So given Mr B offered to put me on his insurance, then it seemed like a good opportunity. I’m not going to stop cycling, and start driving everywhere. I’m just going to drive enough to get back into it, so that I can make use of the skill when/if I need to.