Two years ago, I failed my driving test. It was horrible. The instructor screamed at me because she realized her clipboard was inadequate in shielding herself from incoming vehicles (as if that was my fault…).
Praise God no one was hurt.
I was thoroughly traumatized. I never failed anything in my life, until that moment. I bawled my eyes out at Taco Bell, then returned for a second test, two days later. It was a man instructor with all the chill in the world.
I passed, hyperventilating and all.
Two years later, I have yet to get a ticket or be pulled over by a police officer.
Praise Jesus. Knock on a fake wooden chair!
I was definitely scared straight. I would never turn right on red, or pull onto a street if there was even a glimpse of a car approaching. I knew that red spot would quickly swell into a huge metal monster that would mow me over and squish me dead.
And I didn’t have that instructor’s safety-shield clipboard to protect me. . .
I would take all the easy streets. I would drive too slow, a nervous kind of slow that warns the rest of the drivers, don’t mess with me! I WILL swerve! I’m a bomb, ready to explode. PASS ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE.
I would apologize to everyone. I’d be stopped at a light, stuck in traffic behind a truck, who was behind another truck. Someone a street over would honk, and I’d quickly throw my hand in the air and apologize.
“Sorry, sorry! It was probably me. Sorry!”
I felt like the other drivers were clicking their tongues, judging that crazy-little-white-car. Getting angry at that crazy-little-white-car because it wouldn’t GO already. Hating that crazy-little-white-car. Wanting to hunt down the crazy-little-white-car, and step on it.
(This is a tangent, but change “car” to “girl” and you get me. Haha!)
I’m glad to say I’m comfortable driving, and that horrible experience truly made me a better and safer driver.
Sometimes, I do have flashbacks. Serious PTSD. When that happens, I force myself to drive the freeway, and I remember it isn’t as bad, hard, or as scary as my brain makes it to be.
Poor sad Rebekah. Pity party over.
Through trial and error, I came up with a few tips and things I wish I knew during those early stages of driving.
- Everyone fails their first time. I tell this to everyone. I think it takes the pressure off. It isn’t life-or-death. If you fail, you can return and take it the next day.
- Safety is the biggest priority. Don’t let ANYONE pressure you into moving when you don’t feel comfortable. Let those cars honk. Ignore that passenger/instructor/teacher/parent. You’re the driver. You have foot buttons and a big steering wheel. No one else does. You’re in control of the vehicle.
- You CAN drive slower than the speed limit. Meaning: the car in front of you is slowing down? Slow down. (Yes I needed to know this. I thought the speed limit was a hard-set rule.)
- When turning left (in the US), yield to incoming traffic.
- Behind every ball—is a child. Slow down. [Mom tip.]
- Everyone on the road has the same purpose: to get to their destination safely. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new driver and can’t parallel park. You CAN drive safely.
Driving has everything to do with practice.
I have now graduated to the stage of worrying about gas money and having to change the lightbulb in my car. I keep forgetting to ask my dad about it.
Papi? The lightbulb is dead in my car.