Learning to Drive in My 30s – Unexpected Things That Happened

Things That Surprised Me About Learning to Drive in My 30s

Things That Surprised Me About Learning to Drive in My 30s

I considered learning to drive at a “normal” age. I was probably around 18 years old and tried driving a friend’s car and my mum’s car once or twice. At the time, I was living in Stockholm which is a big capital city with an amazing public transport system. Because of this, there was really no need for me to drive which is the main reason why I didn’t start learning to drive properly with a driving instructor. Fast forward over a decade to my mid-thirties. Living in the UK with three children, I decided it was time to learn to drive. Where we live, public transport is not great and I had finally accepted that me being able to drive would be beneficial to our family. So I learnt to drive! In this article, I will share some things that surprised me about learning to drive in my 30s.

I cried on my first driving lesson.

When it was time for my first driving lesson, I was nervous and excited at the same time. My driving instructor drove me to a quiet neighbourhood and we swapped seats so that I could have a go. After driving for a little bit, we pulled over. As soon as we did, I started crying. They were happy tears, tears of relief. I was actually driving – I could do it. It was strange and never in a million years did I think I would cry on my first driving lesson. This was one of many occasions when I was happy that I had a female driving instructor who could understand my feelings.

I enjoyed talking to my instructor.

I got on well with my driving instructor and enjoyed talking to her. I’m not much of a small talk person and wasn’t sure how much chatting would be involved. Because of this, it was surprising to me how much I enjoyed talking to my instructor during the lessons. Sure, we spoke about car stuff and driving a lot of course, but we also spoke about life, travelling, and our families which was nice. It was also good practice to have conversations whilst driving as that’s something you generally do when you have passed your driving test and drive with friends or family.

The theory test was really easy.

Just like I was worried and nervous about my driving lessons, I also worried about the driving tests. I studied quite a lot for the theory test by using a theory test app that my driving instructor recommended to me. I also read a few learn to drive books and practised hazard perception too. Even with all the practice and reading, I still felt nervous. There was no need to worry though, the theory test was really easy and I’m sure it would be to anyone who has used similar apps enough as the questions were nearly identical. The hazard perception test was much easier than the practice ones that I’d done too.

Why Every Mum Should Learn How To Drive

Learning to drive took longer than I thought.

The whole learning to drive journey took longer than I’d thought. I had imagined that it would take around 6-12 months but, from start to finish, it took me around a year and a half. A lot of things affected this. At the start, I had 2-hour lessons every week, then we changed this to 2-hours every second week. Some weeks were cancelled by my instructor due to health reasons so my driving schedule wasn’t always consistent. It also took a while before I started practising in our family car. When I finally did that, I progressed much faster.

Learning to drive was more expensive than I thought.

Because learning to drive took longer than I thought, it was also more expensive than I had planned. I haven’t added up the cost of all my driving lessons as I frankly don’t want to know just how expensive it was. But I do know that I spent a lot of money on my driving lessons. Either way, it’s a good investment to learn to drive so I’m sure it was all worth it.

I passed the practical driving test on my first try.

Due to the Covid pandemic, there was a big backlog for practical driving tests when I was learning to drive. When I booked my practical test, there was not much choice at all and my closest date was many months away. When the date was near, my driving instructor advised me to postpone it further as she didn’t think I was quite ready. At the time, this upset me. I felt disappointed as I’d been driving for over a year and wanted to get the test over and done with. But I’m sure my driving instructor was right. Had I taken the test as originally scheduled, I would have probably failed.

Instead, I rebooked it for a few months later and focussed on driving as much as possible to become test ready. The day of the test came and I was fully expecting that I would not pass. I was telling myself that if I pass, then great. And if I don’t, it would be something to learn from and at least I would know what the whole process was like. I was nervous but felt relaxed when I met my driving test examiner who was not scary at all, but a really nice guy. The test went well and I passed on my first try. Yeay!

I was so happy and relieved! I got home and shared the good news, and quickly swapped my L Plates for P Plates which the kids were very excited about!

Those were the things that surprised me the most about learning to drive in my 30s. What surprised you about learning to drive? Feel free to share in the comments.

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