Leaving the test centre with a pass certificate is super exciting, texting and phoning all your family and friends to tell them the news, imagining all the road-trips and planning your first McDonald’s drive thru. Fast-forward a year later and you’ll have a whole new perception towards driving.
My friends and I have all been driving approximately a year now so I thought it would be interesting to see what we have leant from our experience of driving since scrapping the L plates.
Be wary, not all drivers are good drivers, you will have the idiots who rear-end you, the idiots who speed and the idiots who cut you up. You’ll need to read the road more than ever while you’re independently driving in order to watch out for anyone who doesn’t use indicators or forget that you can’t read their mind. Driving itself comes more fluently to you the more that you drive which will make it easier for you to focus on reading the road ahead and being ready to react.
“People give you more ‘leeway’ with L plates on” – Lauren, 18
Use what you’ve learnt, believe it or not everything your instructor has taught you has been taught for a reason. Arguably some are more important than others, I don’t think I have done a parallel park since my test. But as for using your mirrors correctly, this is put to practice during every drive.
“I’ve learnt how important looking in your mirrors is, I never used to think it was when I was learning” – Georgia, 18
Accepting you’ll make mistakes, even though that driving certificate says your name on it, we are still learning. If you get in the wrong gear, you stall or you realise you’ve left your hand break on… IT’S OK! We’re only human. It takes a lot to get used to a car, you won’t know the car inside out within the space of a year, no matter how often you drive. Some days your driving will be super smooth and you’ll have a perfect drive and others you’ll make many mistakes. As long as you stay safe and know how to handle the situation, it’s just a learning curve.
Say thank you and your welcome, drivers have a special etiquette you don’t get taught, you just have to learn. If someone pulls to one side and let’s you go, you have to wave during the day, or flash your headlights during the night, translating to ‘Thank you’. Not only that, it’s becoming protocol to wave or flash back to say ‘you’re welcome’. It’s like someone holding the door open for you and you walking through the door next to it. You just build some kind of unsolicited frustration when people don’t say thank you.
“You’ve got to be kind to drivers, I’ve grown a conscience and now I feel awful if I don’t flash to say ‘you’re welcome’.” – Kazia, 19
As much of these things frustrate you not even mentioning the cost of it all, being able to drive it great, especially once your confidence grows and you can just ENJOY driving.